Thursday, July 30, 2015

Despite injury issues, Joel Embiid was the right pick for the 76ers

Despite his extremely uncertain future with the Sixers, and in the NBA at large, Joel Embiid was still the correction selection for the Sixers in that highly-hyped 2014 Draft.

If the team had passed on some high-level perimeter production in the form of Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, then that would not be the case. However, as the draft shook out, only three players looked to have the making of a surefire superstar, and out those three, Embiid was touted by most who observed him as a generational talent; a guy that could single-handedly transform a franchise.

Joel Embiid has been quiet lately

After his selection by the Sixers last summer, Joel Embiid found a way to entertain the Philadelphia faithful without even stepping foot out onto a basketball court: Twitter.

Embiid's Twitter antics quickly became infamous - from courting Rihanna, to recruiting LeBron James, to championing the hashtag #WeAllFromAfrica, Embiid used the social media tool to provide the fans with a big glimpse into his personality.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

San Antonio has become a free agent destination

Lamarcus Aldridge's decision to sign with the Spurs signified the extension of their title window. But it also signified something else. After 5 championships and an unprecedented extended streak of success that has stretched almost two decades, San Antonio has finally become a free- agent destination of interest. 

David West's decision to pass up on guaranteed Pacers money to play on the cheap for Popovich and San Antonio further solidifies that fact.
Image via

By and large, the Spurs success as a franchise has come through the draft. From David Robinson to Tim Duncan to Manu to Tony Parker to Kawhi Leonard; the team's top talent, and central figures have been brought up through the organization. And it has worked. While other teams spend the summers wheeling and dealing to add talent through free agency in hopes of contention, the Spurs have largely stood pat. Sure they've adding some key cogs and rotational pieces along the way, but they have stayed out of the superstar market. Until this summer.

The addition of Lamarcus Aldridge, who had plenty of other solid suitors in locations that receive slightly more attention nationally than San Antonio, shows that the organizational success may finally be turning the Spurs into an organization of interest among high-caliber free agents.

The pairing of Aldridge and 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Lenonard provides the Spurs with a (somewhat - Lamarcus is 30) youthful core to pair with their aging set of stars, and extends their current championship window several more seasons, pushing the window well into its third decade.

The free agent attention doesn't mean the Spurs have strayed from their principles however. Their 2014 first-round draft selection Kyle Anderson was just named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jahlil Okafor has huge hands

If hand-size directly correlated to on-court success, the Sixers would be set. Okafor's mitts are massive:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Space Jam 2 is happening

Well, probably.

Warner Bros. filed new trademarks for 'Space Jam' and then inked a deal with LeBron James shortly thereafter, leading to rampant speculation that 'The King' would be following in M.J.'s footsteps in the Space Jam series.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Allen Iverson highlights

In honor of Allen Iverson being presented with the 2015 Game Changer Award* at the first ever NBA Players award show, here is an excellent reel of Iverson's glorious career highlights:

*But really, you don't need an excuse to watch A.I. highlights.

The Clippers re-tooled this summer; will it be enough?

After a disappointing early exit in the Playoffs at the hands of the Houston Rockets, the Clippers wasted little time in re-tooling this summer, adding some new pieces to help support Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who have largely carried the franchise over the past several seasons.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pablo Torre defends the 76ers on ESPN's Around the Horn

One of the few Sixers supporters in the national media, Pablo Torre did his best to defend the Sixers, Sam Hinkie, and his plan against several less Sixer-supportive media members.

Pablo made some very solid points, hammering home the point that it remains too early to judge Hinkie's work in Philadelphia, while also acknowledging that the Embiid situation is not ideal.

Check out the clip below:

Allen Iverson awarded 'Game Changer' award at first ever NBA Player Awards

The NBA Players Association held its first ever Player Awards on Tuesday evening, giving the league's players an opportunity to weigh in on distribution of awards. The players opinions do not always match that of the media's, as demonstrated by the players' selection of James Harden as MVP, not Steph Curry, who won the actual award.

Towards the end of the event there was a nice tribute to Allen Iverson, who was subsequently presented with the 2015 Game Changer Award.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

No one is quite sure what is going on with Joel Embiid

The Joel Embiid saga in Philadelphia continues to be an interesting one.

At this point in the process - a full 13 months since the Sixers selected Embiid with the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft - no one seems quite sure what exactly is going on with the seven footer, and there is even less certainty about when we may actually see him out on the court.

At the beginning of last week, after several days of speculation and reports, the Sixers announced that Joel would be undergoing surgery on his troublesome right foot, likely within 7-10 days. He was by all accounts ruled out for the entirety of the 2015-16; his second straight full season on the shelf. That timeline has passed, and there is still no news about a surgery.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Jahlil Okafor's solid summer

While he may not have blown observers away, Jahlil Okafor had a very solid summer for the Sixers.

Between Utah and Las Vegas, Okafor had an opportunity to display some of his offensive arsenal, and while he is far from a perfect post player, there is a lot to be excited about there for Sixers fans.

The fact that the team/s prized lottery pick was even able to play in Summer League immediately after being drafted could be considered a victory, as that has not been the case over the past two summers. Out on the court Okafor consistently drew double-teams, and more importantly showed the smarts to know what to do once they started to converge on him. The importance of this ability will be amplified when the big man from Duke actually has some solid shooters spaced around him to kick it out to.

Friday, July 17, 2015

76ers Report: Mark Perner joins the show

Mark Perner of the Philadelphia Daily News joined Jeff McMenamin and Michael Kaskey-Blomain on the 76ers Report to discuss the Sixers summer season, early impressions of Jahlil Okafor, and the impact of Embiid's on-going injury issue. Listen to the episode below, via blogtalkradio:

Check Out Basketball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with State of Independence on BlogTalkRadio

Listen to past episodes of the show here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Embiid's extended absence provides increased opportunity for Okafor

Joel Embiid's basketball future remains a question mark.

You hope that, at some point, the kid can contribute, but unfortunately at this point we don't know when that may be. In the mean time, the Sixers further fortified their frontcourt by selecting Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick in the 2015 Draft. Okafor, whose selection was viewed by many as Embiid insurance, is ready to hit the ground running, and will be the beneficiary of increased opportunity due to Embiid's extended absence.

Okafor said that his role is not impacted by Embiid's status.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lamar Odom and DMX hang out, probably shouldn't

Lamar Odom had a solid NBA career, and at one point was one of the more promising young players in the league. That career didn't end in the best manner.

DMX had a stellar career in the rap game, exploding onto the scene in 1998 and delivering five straight number one albums. But, like Odom, X's career went into a tailspin from which it has never quite recovered.

Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid meet Mayor Nutter

The picture doesn't need much more description.

Image via Joel Embiid's Instagram

Okafor has lights coming out of his head because he is magical.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sixers have a lot of draft picks coming their way

The Sixers have amassed a whole lot of draft picks since Sam Hinkie took over in the summer of 2013.

In that 2013 Draft, the Sixers wound up with the sixth and eleventh overall selections. In 2014, they had the third and tenth overall picks in the Draft. They had the third overall pick again in the 2015 Draft. The team also had double-digit second round picks over that three-year span.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cavaliers favorites to win 2016 NBA title, Spurs second after Aldridge addition

After an impressive, yet ultimately disappointing performance in the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the odds-on favorite to win the 2016 NBA Title, according to a Las Vegas SuperBook.

The Cavaliers were missing All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving in the Finals, and their return next season may just be enough to propel Cleveland to that elusive title.

The addition of LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs boosted their odds to the second highest league-wide, behind only the Cavaliers, and noticeably ahead of the defending-champion Warriors.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Blazers are going to look slightly different next season

Last season, the Portland Trail Blazers held the fourth seed in the Western Coference playoff picture after posting a regular season record of 51-31.

Throughout the season, the Blazers starting lineup was as follows:

Damian Lillard PG
Wesley Matthews SG
Nic Batum SF
LaMarcus Aldridge PF
Robin Lopez C

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Joel Embiid makes Jahlil Okafor look small

Sixers 2015 lottery selection Jahlil Okafor is a big guy. He is listed at 6'11'' and 275 pounds.

Image via Sixers

Sixers 2014 lottery selection Joel Embiid makes him look small. Embiid, who is still not cleared for the court, but visited the Sixers summer mini-camp on Friday, recently told head coach Brett Brown that he is still growing. He told Brown that he has shot up to 7'2'', and he looks every inch of it. 

Embiid looks tall, trim, and ready to roll. Physically, he could be a beast. If eventually healthy, he and Okafor have the potential to form a dominant frontcourt foundation for the Sixers. All that is missing from the above photo is Nerlens Noel. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jahlil Okafor expected to participate in both summer leagues with Sixers

Jahlil Okafor is expected to participate in both of the Sixers' summer leagues; Utah and Vegas, which is great news for Sixers fans who have become accustomed to seeing their lottery picks sidelined for a season.

Expectations are high for Okafor, and summer league will serve as the first opportunity for fans league-wide to see him suit up for the Sixers.

NBA free agency officially underway

NBA free agency season is officially underway as of midnight Eastern Time Wednesday. The annual offseason shakeup should be as interesting as ever with several big names on the market.

Image via NBATV