What’s up, people? Happy Hump Day to y’all. Or should I say, Happy Turkey Day eve?
The 76ers will look to feast on the Sacramento Kings tonight, one day before Thanksgiving. A victory at Wells Fargo Center will go a long way in helping the Sixers (11-6) get over Monday’s 101-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.
For the Kings (7-9), this game marks the fourth and final game of their East Coast road trip.
We’ll keep you posted with tonight’s results in The Inquirer and on Inquirer.com.
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— Keith Pompey (email@example.com)
Are the Sixers any better than they were at the end of last season?
Perhaps, at this moment, the 76ers are just a tad bit overhyped.
Yes, they have two All-Star players in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. However, Simmons still isn’t a complete player.
The 6-foot-10 point guard might be a season or two away from being comfortable enough to attempt mid-range and perimeter shots on the regular.
Meanwhile, Embiid is arguably the NBA’s most imposing player. Yet, the 7-foot-2, listed 285-pounder has often battled conditioning. Plus, his love for shooting in the perimeter often favors the opposing team.
Yeah, he might hit a couple of three-pointers and look great doing so. But he has a greater impact on games when fouling opponents out in the paint.
We were told in the preseason that Embiid and the Sixers would play more “smash-mouth offense” and “bully ball defense.” We were also under the belief that Simmons would implement his perimeter skills into his game.
Yet, they haven’t happened enough to make a difference.
So far, Simmons has only attempted two three-pointers in 15 games played and foul shooting still remains an Achilles’ heel. He’s shooting just 58.3% from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, only two of Embiid’s 11 shots during his scoreless outing Monday against the Toronto Raptors came in the paint.
So at least for now, the two are kind of the same players they were in seasons past.
But the Sixers were among teams picked as NBA title contenders due to the duo’s perceived off-season improvements. Plus, the team re-signed Tobias Harris and added Al Horford and Josh Richardson to form a towering starting lineup.
However, this team is fifth in the Eastern Conference standings through 17 games. It’s still early, but it’s obvious that this team has a ways to go before being considered a title contender.
They’ll win a lot of games based on their talented starting lineup. Yet, at the same time, they still don’t have the closer or consistent three-point shooter to make people stop thinking about the departed Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick.
The Sixers are good. But, talent-wise, they might not be as good as they were at the conclusion of last season.
Joel Embiid has a choice. His decision will determine Sixers’ destiny, writes David Murphy. After Marc Gasol held him to zero points in the Sixers’ loss to the Raptors, the question isn’t whether he has the talent to be something more. It’s whether he has the discipline to make it happen.
Sixers held back by mental mistakes, poor execution away from home, I write. They’ve lost 6 of 7 on the road. “You’ll wake up in the morning. You’ll be wiser for it and learn things that we have to just respond to better,” said coach Brett Brown.
Sixers-Raptors best/worst: Joel Embiid’s unimaginable night, a pitiful and inexcusable loss, I write. Raptors center Marc Gasol gets defensive honors for not giving Embiid room to breathe.
Sixers podcast: Dissecting another bad loss and Joel Embiid’s scoreless game vs. Raptors, I say. Also, some discussion about the Sixers’ inconsistent rotation.
Raptors hold off Sixers, 101-96, on a night when Joel Embiid fails to score a point, I write. The Sixers suffered their sixth loss in their last seven road games.
Former Sixer Richaun Holmes making an impact with Kings
Richaun Holmes has to be thankful that the Sixers traded to the Phoenix Suns in July 20, 2018 for $1 million.
At the time, the move was made to clear the way for the Sixers to sign Jonah Bolden.
But Holmes is now the Sacramento Kings starting center while Bolden is on his second stint with Sixers G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.
Holmes would have remained a reserve center had he stayed in Philadelphia. So he might as well hug every Sixers’ front office executive he bumps into tonight at the Wells Fargo Center prior to the Sixers-Suns game.
The fifth-year veteran is averaging 11.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.56 blocks whole shooting 66.1%. As a result, he’s just the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 11.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks and shooting 65.0% from the field.
One has to wonder if the Sixers regret making that trade.
Important dates: Next Five Flow
Tonight: Sacramento Kings at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Friday: Sixers at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
Saturday: Indiana Pacers at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBA TV
Monday: Utah Jazz at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBA TV
Dec. 5: Sixers at Washington Wizards, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia
Passing the Rock
Question: Turnovers and fouling, players or coaching issue? — @Rated_AG34
Answer: What’s up, @Rated_AG34? I hope you are doing well and have a Happy Thanksgiving. In regards to your question, this is definitely a coaching issue. Here’s why: The Sixers, regardless of who’s been on the roster, have been committing the same turnovers and fouls since the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Back then, they were tanking. So we thought it was a result of having a roster loaded with fringe NBA talent. Now the Sixers have two All-Stars and arguably the most talented starting lineup in the NBA. However, as I said before, the turnovers and foul continue remain. That’s why I have to say it’s the coaching.