Lakers great Magic Johnson says Sixers’ Ben Simmons wants ‘big guard’ advice
Plus, Joel Embiid is blaming JJ Redick for getting him sick.
Magic Johnson disclosed Sunday that he enjoys watching Ben Simmons play. And if the NBA signs off, the Hall of Fame point-guard-turned-president-of-basketball-operations for his beloved Los Angeles Lakers will give big-point-guard tips to the 76ers’ 6-foot-10, 240-pounder.
“He reached out to me, not to me directly, to the Lakers, to find out if we can get together this summer,” said Johnson, who the Lakers drafted with the first overall pick in 1979. "I said, 'Hey, you’d have to clear it with the league. Everybody. The Sixers sign off. We sign off. The league sign off that nothing is going on.
“But he wants to know how to play the position as a big guard, da, da, da, da, da da. It’s fine. I will do that.”
Johnson, who is 6-9, averaged 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 906 career games. He led the Lakers to five NBA titles as a player and was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
“Trying to learn from somebody like that would be huge. Getting speak to him - he’s had to play the 5 and win a championship - and he’s in the Hall of Fame,” Simmons said. “In terms of what position, I’m in, a 6-10 point guard, I think it would help.”
But Johnson, the three-time league MVP and 12-time All-Star, is a big fan of Simmons’ game. He garnered his first All-Star selection last month. The 2018 rookie of the year averages 16.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.3 steals. He has eight triple-doubles.
“But I love his game,” Johnson said. " I love his vision. I love also that he has a very high basketball IQ. And look at him, the league better watch out. That is a stacked team.”
Simmons was asked if he plans to ask the Sixers for permission.
I’m not focused on that right now," he said. “I’m focused on my team and what’s going on. Maybe.”
Embiid on Marjanovic: ‘He’s been great’
Joel Embiid was asked Sunday about the addition of Boban Marjanovic to the Sixers.
“I’m excited not to play against him anymore in games, although I always find ways to kick his [butt],” the All-Star center said of his new 7-3 backup. “But he’s just a big body. Just catching the ball and going over people, the things he can do at his size.”
Marjanovic had 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting to go with one block in Sunday’s 143-120 victory over the Lakers at Wells Fargo Center. He played 13 minutes, 24 seconds. The Serbian is averaging 7.0 points in two games with the Sixers after being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade.
“He moves actually really well at his size,” Embiid said. “He brings us another defensive potential, especially when it comes to shot blocking when I come out of the games … So, OK, yeah, he’s been great.”
It was Redick’s fault
Embiid has been dealing with a stomach virus the past two games, that he said stemmed from giving JJ Redick a hug and a handshake last week. At that time, Redick was sick.
“I guess the next time out, I’m the one sick,” said Embiid, who finished with 37 points and 14 rebounds on Sunday. “I’m the one throwing up. I never throw up. Like my whole life, I never throw up and that’s how you know it’s bad.”
He let Redick know how bad it was in a text message in the wee hours of the morning he got the illness.
“Then like [Redick] said, I told him F you,” Embiid said. “I was feeling a little better today. I’m still under the weather.”
Embiid decided to play on Friday against the Denver Nuggets and on Sunday as way to get on the same page with his new teammates. The Sixers acquired Marjanovic, Tobias Harris, James Ennis, Mike Scott and Jonathan Simmons before Thursday’s trade deadline.