Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Isaiah Canaan/Michael Carter-Williams shooting comparison

One area where Michael Carter-Williams struggles is shooting. His current replacement, Isaiah Canaan is more proficient from long-range. Here is a shooting comparison between the two via Comcast:

Sixers reportedly 'shopped' Joel Embiid at the trade deadline

*Take this report with a grain of salt. Maybe two.*

'Shopped' is used in the title for lack of a better word.

In his short time in Philadelphia, Sam Hinkie has already become known for his willingness to part with players in order to acquire assets, and reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams proved to be no exception. The trade of Carter-Williams on last Thursday’s trade deadline was somewhat surprising, albeit not entirely unexpected. Trade rumors had surrounded Carter-Williams since summer, and with over 100 games played for the franchise, the Sixers had seen at least a small sample size of his work.
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The team was interested in obtaining another upcoming first round pick – which are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain outside of landing in the lottery – and they did so by moving a guy that they were obviously not completely committed to.  

More surprising however, is a recent report from that states that the Sixers were willing to discuss moves involving any player on their roster, including prized, yet-to-play lottery pick Joel Embiid.

From Forbes:

“In an unnoticed development at last week’s trade deadline, the 76ers were still trying to trade up for a top pick in this draft, indicating a willingness to talk about Joel Embiid or any player on their team, an NBA source told

76ers ranked top professional sports team for their use of analytics

Check out the original article from, here.
The Philadelphia 76ers have become the face of the analytic push that is pervading professional sports. They morphed from an anti-analytical franchise under Doug Collins and company to an organization that embraces analytics and all the extra information it affords to decision-making with Sam Hinkie at the helm.

Since taking control of the franchise in the summer of 2013, Hinkie has completely gutted the roster, cleared the cap, poised the team for financial flexibility and stock-piled picks, while trading away a (one-time) All-Star in Jrue Holiday, a reigning Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams, and numerous role players with clunky contracts like Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Thaddeus Young.

“I’m trying to use information to make decisions, the same way you do,” Hinkie explained shortly after his hire by the Sixers.

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“You use analytics when you open your iPhone and try to figure out if it is going to rain today. All you’re using is lots and lots of data and it’s helping you to make an informed decision about whether you should bring an umbrella or not. That’s the way I think about it.”

Hinkie’s explaniation makes it seem simple; why wouldn’t you want as much information as possible before making a decision?   

The approach still has its detractors however, and it, and Hinkie, likely will until the Sixers see some success.

Current outcomes aside, the Sixers are clearly in the front of the field when it comes to the application of analytics, and a recent study confirms such.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chris Palmer is sensitive, blocks Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter

Chris Palmer is an NBA pundit from, well, somewhere, who, at this point is probably best known for being called out by Kevin Durant for being a 'dumbass.'

Palmer is known for expressing his opinion, that is often incorrect, or at least ill-informed.

For instance, on trade deadline day last year, he claimed that the Pacers would be virtually unbeatable with the addition of Evan Turner. Without dwelling on it too much, let's just say he was extremely incorrect about his Pacers prediction, and he did not appreciate when our writer Michael Kaskey-Blomain called him for it on Twitter during Thursday's hectic trade deadline.

Many on-lookers appreciated the response, as it was favored over 20 times.

Shortly thereafter, Kaskey-Blomain was blocked from Palmer's Twitter account.

The moral of the story is obviously don't call Chris Palmer out for any of the silly things he has said pertaining to NBA basketball, he doesn't appreciate it.

Kyle Korver on pace for one of the greatest shooting seasons in NBA history

Check out the original article from, here.
As the Sixers continue to identify viable pieces to the puzzle that is the future of the franchise, one area that obviously needs addressing is outside shooting.

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The Sixers are 29th overall league-wide in three-point shooting percentage, despite taking the 11th most per game. The emergence of Robert Covington has helped the cause, but still, more consistent shooters are needed.  

One guy who is not struggling to shoot is former Sixer, and current Hawk, Kyle Korver, who is currently on pace to post the greatest shooting season in NBA history. Korver is currently shooting 51% from the field, 52% from three-point range, and an impressive 91% from the foul line – a true shooting percentage of 73. If the season ended today, that true shooting percentage would be the highest in history for anyone who has taken more than 300 shots in a season.

The only other player to ever shoot at least 50% from the field, 50% from three, and 90% from the foul line is current Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who accomplished the feat in 1996 as a member of the Chicago Bulls. Kerr however played far fewer minutes – 23.4 per game – than Korver, who is averaging over 33 minutes of action per contest this season, and also had a lower true shooting percentage.

The season is far from over, but if Korver continues on his current pace, his 2014-15 season will go down in the books as one of the greatest displays of shooting in NBA history.

*I wish I still had the rally towel the Sixers gave out back in the day that said: 'K squared = 3.'

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Do the Sixers intend to contend in 2015-16?

Check out the original article from, here.
It seems that the Sixers are prepared to move on from the ‘Together We Build’ phase of their restructuring plan.

On Tuesday morning the organization announced a re-brand of sorts, complete with a new uniform and a new slogan, for the start of the 2015-16 season. Where the Sixers preached patience with their current slogan, it seems safe to say that their new slogan will evoke excitement.

‘This Starts Now’ will replace ‘Together We Build’ as the team’s slogan, potentially signifying a shift in organizational expectation. The past two seasons have been all about building, developing, and acquiring assets, with actual outcomes of games taking a backseat. After the coming summer’s asset acquisition is complete, the team may finally be ready to begin its climb back to contention, hence the ‘This Starts Now’ mantra.

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In a video announcing the slogan shift, the organization emphasized that the bumpy ride that the past two seasons have been is sure to smooth shortly, and that an end goal is coming into focus.

We know that if you do what everyone else does, you get what everyone else gets. We’re different, and we do things differently. The roller coaster we’re on isn’t for everybody. Some people prefer an easy train ride; not us. Not in Philadelphia. Not if we want to do something special. We want the ride.”  

The team’s play has been improving as of late, signifying a right step in the direction of development.
These young players are getting better; a lot better. We smile watching highlight-reel dunks and blocks, and we keep coming. We know respect isn’t given in these league, or especially in this town. It is earned. We will fight for it. We know this is the way. This is the path. This is the plan, and there is only one ultimate goal. This starts now.”

The ultimate goal is, of course, an NBA Championship, and for the first time in Sam Hinkie’s tenure with the team, the organization is encouraging the fan-base to think big, rather than to dwell on development.

In addition to an excitement-inducing new slogan, the team also announced a uniform change for the upcoming 2015-16 season as well, although exact details of the new uniforms were not yet revealed.
The team is clearly trying to create a new image for itself starting next season, likely to disassociate from the losing it has been associated with over the past couple seasons. The team employed a similar approach in the late 1990’s, when it switched from its classic uniforms to a more modern look after selecting Allen Iverson in the 1996 NBA Draft and expecting some success.

At the start of next season, the Sixers will have a vast young pool of talent, including whoever they get in the 2015 Draft, copious cap space, and financial flexibility. With their new slogan and uniform change, the organization is acknowledging the progression of the plan, and an increase in expectation. Exciting times are ahead for the Sixers.

Check out the full article here

Former Sixer check-in

There is a better, more-fleshed out version of this article on Philadunkia, complete with takes from scouts of the players' current teams, so be sure to check out the original version here.

With that being said, here is a check-in with ten former Sixers - a starting five, and a bench unit - that looks at how they're fairing elsewhere outside of Philadelphia. Enjoy.


Jrue Holiday: Holiday has been hampered by injury issues since leaving Philadelphia. He played in only 34 games for the Pelicans last year, and has already missed significant time with injury issues this season. When on the court, Holiday continues to be an impressive point, averaging an 11th best 7 assists per. He has also shown the ability to dominate defensively. The Pelicans are a young, up-and-coming team that will likely be in the West’s playoff picture for years to come. If he can stay healthy, Holiday can look to continue his All-Star play from his final season with the Sixers, but staying out on the court is something he has been unable to do consistently since the trade.

Kyle Korver: Korver is the league’s leading three-point shooter, volume-wise, so far this season, and he is the East’s best team best, and most reliable deep-threat. After twelve seasons in the league, he was finally just selected to his first All-Star team. His ability to space the floor is invaluable for Atlanta, whose motion offense affords him ample opportunity. Korver has always been able to shoot, but he has developed other areas of his game as well. He averages over four rebounds a game this season, and almost three assists, while also developing into an absolute dead-eye. Any team in the league would be happy to have Korver.

Andre Iguodala: Iguodala never really lived up to expectations in Philadelphia, but that may have been because the expectations were off. Iguodala was never meant to be a franchise-carrying star, rather a complimentary piece; a multi-faceted forward that can be dominant defensively, and serve as an offensive option. Iguodala comes off of the bench for the NBA’s best team in Golden State, and is a key piece to their second-unit and defensive identity. While his numbers are down across the board, he continues to be a critical piece to a championship-contending team; maybe the role he was always meant for.

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Thaddeus Young: Thad Young just can’t catch a break. He went from one of the league’s worst teams, record-wise, in the Sixers, to one of the league’s worst teams, record-wise, in the Timberwolves. Statistically, he has remained solid, and he serves as a nice on-court leader to some of Minnesota’s younger guys. It seems somewhat unlikely that he will stay there long-term however. Thad remains best-suited for a role as a third or fourth option on a contending team, as he is a versatile, multi-faceted forward who can contribute in a multitude of ways. Although he has been in the league for a while, he is still relatively young, and still has some good ball in front of him.

Nikola Vucevic: Nik Vucevic is one guy that maybe the Sixers should have help on to. Vucevic was played spairignly in his single season with the Sixers under Doug Collins, before gool ole’ Doug shipped him off in the infamous Andrew Bynum debacle. Since leaving Philadelphia and joining Orlanda, Vucevic has blossomed into one of the game’s best young centers, and a double-double machine. He is averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds (!) for Orlando this season, and he serves as a centerpiece to that franchise’s own rebuild. He has good touch on the offensive end and is the league’s seventh-leading rebounder. You have to think, maybe if Vucevic was given a little more opportunity in Philadelphia, the organization wouldn’t have had to spend the past three summers chasing franchise-changing big guys.   


Lou Williams: Things are going well for Lou Williams. He was just the inspiration for a Drake song, he has not one, but two girlfriends, and he’s the sixth man on one of the East’s top teams. After two seasons in the A-Town with his hometown Hawks, Williams is having his best scoring season yet in Toronto. He remains one of the league’s best bench scorers, and one of its top sixth men.

Matt Barnes: Matt Barnes has been all around the NBA, and was only with the Sixers for a single season. Still, his hustle and hard-nosed play make him a guy that teams like having around. He is currently a starter on one of the West’s best in the Clippers, and he continues to be a guy that can do a little bit of everything. He is also found of getting technical fouls.

Evan Turner: Turner’s tenure in Philadelphia did not end favorably for the forward, and his time in Indiana ended even worse. Turner has a very specific skill set that requires him having the ball in his hands. When he is afforded such an opportunity, he can make plays, like he did last week when he hit a buzzer beater to give the Celtics a last-second victory over the East-leading hawks. Turner will show flashes of excellence and ability, but such flashes continue to be inconsistent. He has benefitted from being able to run some point in Boston in the absence of Rajon Rondo, but it seems very unlikely that the team will want to keep him there long-term, like when they’re trying to be good. So while Turner has some skills, his long-term future in the league remains uncertain.

Mo Speights: The Sixers selected Mo Speights directly before DeAndre Jordan in the 2008 NBA Draft, and I have never forgiven them for it. Jordan was a monster coming out of college who showed the same type of potential he has displayed for the Clippers over the past few seasons, and missing out on that for a jump-shooting, slightly out-of-shape power forward wasn’t ideal. With that being said, I am somewhat surprised that Speights is not only still in the league, but that he is contributing at a high level on a championship-caliber team. Speights has really found his niche with the Warriors as sort of an instant offense type of guy. Speights averages 12 points in only 18 minutes of action per game in Golden State this season; an impressive output considering the minutes. Together with Andre Iguodala, Speights is a critical piece to the NBA’s top team’s bench and depth.

Spencer Hawes: Spencer Hawes’ minutes, and numbers, have dipped drastically in his first season in Los Angeles. He is not getting the same court time or opportunity that he did with the Sixers, but for the sake of the Clippers, that might be a good thing. Hawes has unique talent for his size, especially his ability to knock down shots out to the three-point line, and that ability makes him attractive to most teams. He is however not a starting-caliber center, like he played in Philadelphia. His role as a big off the bench that can come in, grab some rebounds, and pop some shots may be ideal for him. If he can find his stroke consistently, he could play an important part in the Clippers’ upcoming playoff push. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sixers introduce new mascot, Franklin

Check out the original article, from, here.
The Sixers have been missing something.

No, not a shooting specialist to help stretch the floor for the offense, or a veteran point guard to help mentor Michael Carter-Williams and others in the ways of the league, but rather something much more central to the spectacle of live games: a mascot.

Since the 2011-departure of the popular hare, Hip-Hop, the Sixers have been mascot-less. Well, no more.
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On Tuesday, in front of hundreds of local children, the Sixers finally officially unveiled their new mascot, Franklin, a big blue fluffy dog, complete with a paw print for a number, at the Franklin Institute.  

After a video montage showing a fluffy blue dog alongside some of the most famous scenes in Philadelphia sports history, Franklin ascended from the ceiling to the stage, eventually leading the crowd of kids in a dance party, and even showing off some of his dunking ability.

Franklin, who is advertised as ‘for kids, by kids,’ was joined by fellow Philadelphia mascot, the Phillie Phanatic at the unveiling event.

Despite this early excitement, Franklin won’t make his official game-day debut until Friday, February 20, when the Sixers take on the Indiana Pacers. The team is running a special promotion for free children’s tickets to the game that evening.

Franklin becomes the third mascot in team history, following Big Shot, and Hip-Hop.

The team revealed Franklin’s official back story to media members:

When the Philadelphia 76ers decided they needed a new mascot, they knew it had to be ‘FOR KIDS, BY KIDS.’ And so they created a kids-only Chief Design Team to lead the way and find their new mascot.

The Chief Designers worked night and day to find a mascot that was Philadelphia through and through, who loved the game of basketball, and who could be their biggest friend and fan at every Sixers game.

As they dug through piles of books, watched movies and spoke with Philadelphians far and wide, along with more than 1,000 kids, they found a common thread…a special creature…whose ancestors had been a part of the city’s history from the start.

When George Washington crossed the Delaware, a blue tail was wagging in the boat.

When our nation’s forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, a blue paw was found on the scroll.

A blue mouth dragged Ben Franklin to safety after he was struck by lightning and discovered electricity.

A furry blue flash ran alongside Rocky Balboa, and put two paws in the air when he reached the top of the Art Museum steps.

But what made this creature even more interesting to the Chief Designers was that his ancestors loved basketball just as much as the city.

There were tiny teeth marks in the paper Wilt Chamberlain held for the cameras after his historic 100-point game.

Blue paws were seen pacing behind the Sixers bench in the days of Dr. J.

Perky blue ears were in the stands when Allen Iverson made Sixers fans roar.

The designers were convinced that this creature, if they could find it today, might be the mascot they’d been looking for all this time.

They took a break from their research to play some basketball at the arena…and found tiny blue scratch marks on the court….then bits of blue fur…and then, peeking around the corner of the Sixers’ locker room, the Chief Designers saw eyes looking up at them from a blue furry creature.

They’d found it! The descendant of these great blue creatures had come to live at the Center!

The Chief Designers showed the creature to the team, and everyone loved it. The Sixers decided to adopt it as their new mascot, and gave it a special jersey to wear with its new name: FRANKLIN.

And now, it’s time to introduce all of you to your new Sixers mascot, whose family has been a part of Philadelphia and Sixers history for generations, who loves the game of basketball and is so excited to meet its new best friends, little Sixers fans!

With the team building its way back into contention, Franklin will be looked to as a symbol of success for the Sixers in the coming seasons.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Adam Silver looking to legalize sports betting in America

While his predecessor David Stern could probably be classified as strict, in his short time as NBA commissioner, Adam Silver has already proved progressive. He is unafraid of changes to the existing institution, and is a stanch supporter of his own beliefs. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Silver is the commissioner interested in pioneering legalized sports betting.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Silver said he has approached other commissioners about the legalization of sports gambling in the United States.

“I have talked to the commissioners in the other leagues about it,” Silver said to ESPN in reference to legalizing sports betting. “I leave it to them to make any public statements they want to make on it. I will say that certainly all of them are interested in having a better understanding of the uses, and I know they have assigned people in their organizations to study intensively the issue as well.”

Image from ESPN
According to ESPN, there have been private meetings between council for the leagues to discuss the pros and cons of legalization, in addition to the conversations between the commissioners. The amount of support that the idea is receiving from the other leagues is uncertain, as Silver is the first, and so far only, commissioner to publicly voice support. Silver said he does have the support of owners in his own league however:  

“Some of our owners are also owners in other leagues, so it’s something that they also want to talk to the commissioners in the other leagues about. I think most of our owners’ view on the issue is that they’re comfortable with us taking a leadership position on the issue, but again are also mindful that it is a complex issue, and is one that will ultimately require a legislative remedy, and not one that is necessarily at the top of their to-do-list, in terms of active lobbying.”

Silver’s pitch is based on federal legalization, rather than the ‘hodgepodge of regulations’ that comes with state-by-state legalization, and obviously motivated by potential profits for the league.
Such a proposition is sure to face detractors, as well its share of supporters, and it is yet to be seen if such an idea is fully feasible. But with Adam Silver leading the charge, this is not likely to be the last we hear on the topic.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Michael Carter-Williams leads the NBA in triple-doubles

Michael Carter-Williams posted his league-leading (tied with Rajon Rondo) third triple-double of the season Friday evening during the Sixers win over the Timberwolves.

After the game, Carter-Williams continued to credit his teammates for his improved play and solid statistics.

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"I don't know," Carter-Williams replied when I asked him how leading the league in triple-doubles made him feel.

"I just try to go out there and give it my all really. Our big men are doing a great job of contesting on their big men, so that leaves us guards to rebound. So, I try to get as many rebounds as I can. My teammates did a great job running the floor, and my job is just to kick it ahead and be aggressive at times. I think that’s what led to some of these triple-doubles. Without my teammates it really can’t be done. I just try to play my part on the team.”

Carter-Williams also said that he has just been relaxing out on the court, and that that has played a part in his improved play.

“I think I’ve relaxed a little bit. I’m keeping my composure a little bit more, I’m not trying to do it all myself. I’m trying to let things happen, rather than try to force it a little bit. I’m just trying to get better each and every day and improve on the day before.” 

Thaddeus Young's Sixers homecoming

The scene was familiar. Thaddeus Young sat in front of his locker in a locker room on the event floor of the Wells Fargo Center after a loss. He had done it many times before. However, this time, it was different.

There was no name plate above Young’s head at the locker where he sat, and the reclining chair each player is afforded in the home locker room, where they usually conduct post-game interviews from, is absent. The locker is noticeably empty behind him. When he leaves the Wells Fargo Center, he won’t be able to drive mere miles back home to his wife. Instead, he has to fly back to Minnesota to prepare for a home game against the Cavaliers on Saturday.

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Still, despite the loss to his former franchise, and his new team’s season-long struggle, Young remained as appreciative as always.  

“Did you catch the tribute video* the organization played for you?” I asked Young, before a gaggle of media members made their way over to the multi-faceted forward and former Sixer.

“I caught some of it,” he replied. “One of my teammates pointed it out to me, and I was able to see some of it during the timeout.”

*The Sixers played a nice tribute video for Young, and his seven seasons of service with the Sixers, during a first quarter timeout.

“It was a great gesture by the organization,” Young continued. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Media members then began to leave Nikola Pekovi’s locker and trickle over to Young.