Author Brian Seltzer

 

76ers Blog: Las Vegas NBA Summer League Camp Interviews

The 76ers conducted four try-out practice sessions from Monday, July 7th through Thursday, July 10th to help the organization determine a portion of its Las Vegas NBA Summer League roster.  Hear from: Read more...

76ers Podcast: Bob Cooney Discusses NBA Draft Combine

Philadelphia Daily News 76ers beat reporter Bob Cooney provides a recap of the first day of the NBA Draft Combine, with details on the Sixers' potential prospect targets, and the team's approach to its draft preparations.  Read more...

76ers Blog: Michael Carter-Williams Starts, Finishes Strong in Rookie of the Year Season

Michael Carter-Williams - from his first official NBA game - proved himself worthy of the league's top rookie honor.  The 22-point, 7-rebound, 12-assist, 9-steal effort he displayed on opening night against the Miami Heat was just a glimpse of the well-rounded box line that the 6'6" tall, 185-pound point guard was capable of delivering on a regular basis. 

On Monday morning, what was presumed for the better part of the regular season, and recently had been reported as fact by local media, was indeed confirmed; Carter-Williams won the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as NBA Rookie of the Year.  He and Allen Iverson are the only two players in Philadelphia 76ers franchise history to earn the recognition.  This past season, Carter-Williams paced all rookies with 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.86 steals; Iverson averaged 23.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.1 steals during the 1996-1997 season.

Carter-Williams offered plenty of memorable showings over the course of his first 70 games as a pro:

  • As a part of his promising debut week, Carter-Williams not only held his own against the defending champion Miami Heat, but also out-played Chicago Bulls MVP-winning point guard Derrick Rose, posting 26 points and 10 assists in the Sixers' third game of the season. 
  • On December 3rd, Carter-Williams went toe-to-toe in a triple-double showdown with the Orlando Magic's Victor Oladipo, who was second to Carter-Williams in Rookie of the Year voting.  That game marked the first of two triple-doubles on the season for Carter-Williams. 
  • There were also two 30-point games that the Syracuse product offered, albeit in losing causes; Carter-Williams put up a career-best 33 points at Cleveland on January 7th, and later had 31 points at Washington on January 20th. 

While there were many individual, isolated games in which Carter-Williams stood out, the consistency with which he competed at the start and finish of the year was arguably his most impressive achievement.  In 19 games over his first two months, Carter-Williams reached double-figure point totals 18 times;  also during this period, he accumulated 143 assists against 67 turnovers (with his turnover total only once exceeding his assist total), and manufactured eight double-doubles.

After converting 13 of 22 field goal attempts for 31 points at the Washington Wizards on Martin Luther King Day, Carter-Williams' shooting touch declined for a bit.  At that point, he had been hitting 41.5 percent of his shots and averaging 17.5 points through 30 games.  Over the next 30 games, his field goal shooting dipped to 36.7 percent, and his scoring average went down by two points.  Amidst this stretch, which coincided with the Sixers trading away two of their best players, and the team's 26-game losing streak, both Carter-Williams and his head coach, Brett Brown, acknowledged that the rookie was dealing with fatigue.

Despite the physical and mental burdens he assumed in the closing months of the Sixers' 19-63 season, Carter-Williams managed to find a spark that helped him finish strong.  Beginning with the Sixers' slump-busting win over the Detroit Pistons on March 29th, Carter-Williams looked re-energized, exhibiting some of his most efficient scoring of the season by knocking down 51 percent of the attempts he took over the team's final 10 games.  On top of that, he gave away no more than three turnovers in each of his last nine outings.  Here's a breakdown of the splits referenced above:

  • Games 1-30:   34.6 M / 17.5 P / 41.4 FG% / 69.5 FT% / 5.7 R / 6.7 A / 3.4 TO / 2.5 S 
  • Games 31-60: 35.1 M / 15.5 P / 36.7 FG% / 68.6 FT% / Read more...

76ers Blog: End-of-Season Sound

On Thursday, April 17th, the day after their 19-63 regular season concluded, the 76ers - from head coach Brett Brown to rehabbing center prospect Nerlens Noel - addressed the media one final time before the team dispersed for the spring and summer.  Here are links to some soundbytes addressing key storylines from the 2013-2014 campaign, and for the off-season that awaits. Read more...

76ers Pre-Game Blog: 4/16/2014 @ Miami Heat

Match-Up:

The 76ers (18-63; 5th-Atlantic Division, 14th-Eastern Conference) close out their schedule against the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat (54-27; 1st-Southeast Division, 2nd-Eastern Conference).  The Heat - with  the NBA Playoffs looming - plan to rest All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh. 

Regardless of tonight's outcome, the Sixers will finish with a loss total that either matches or establishes a new franchise mark for defeats in a single season. Monday's 113-108 win over the Boston Celtics has positioned the Sixers to string together consecutive victories for the first time since their season-high four-game streak from the first week of January.

The 76ers and Miami have split the first two games of their season series.  The Sixers delivered a stunning 114-110 season-opening home win over the Heat on October 30th, before falling to Miami, 101-86, at Wells Fargo Center on January 17th.  If the Sixers were to knock off the Heat tonight, they would halt a 10-game losing skid at Americans Airlines Arena. 

76ers Theme:

The 76ers have reached the finish line of a challenging season, one full of adversity that's stemmed from sweeping changes brought to the front office, coaching staff, and roster.  The impact of those changes has been the Sixers fully adopting and implementing new philosophies across the organization.  As far as the on-court product is concerned, first-year general manager Sam Hinkie and first-year head coach Brett Brown have relied on an overhauled, youthful core to transform the Sixers into the fastest-paced team in the NBA. 

"I'm really proud that they've stayed together," Brown said about the Sixers on Monday.  "The group has been remarkable where they really put out quality days.  They practice at a professional rate.  Their ability to co-exist as a team under great duress has been just beyond impressive.  It's not been by accident.  They've worked at it."

Perhaps no Sixers player has been asked to shoulder more of the franchise's re-tooling burdens than seven-year veteran Thaddeus Young.  Young has averaged a personal-best 17.9 points over a career-high 77 starts, but - in the past three years - he's witnessed the Sixers' identity change from potential up-and-coming Eastern Conference playoff contender to NBA Draft lottery pick candidate. 

"Mentally, it's been very, very crazy, a roller coaster ride up and down," Young told reporters earlier today in Miami, FL.  "At the end of the day, guys got better.  There was a lot of growth around the locker room, growth within the coaches.  We're just ready to get to the summer and enjoy ourselves."

While Brown has been tolerant and understanding of growing pains that have come along with a season so strongly geared towards player development, he has recently indicated a different tone will be set heading into next year. 

"This 'hall pass' is getting a little bit over," Brown said on Monday, before the the Sixers' meeting with the Boston Celtics. "We [now] need to make progress in a different way."

Heat Theme:

The Miami Heat has secured the second-seed in the Eastern Conference, and an opening round playoff match-up with either the Charlotte Bobcats or Washington Wizards, which head into tonight's action separated in the standings by a single game. Having focused more in the past weeks on player health than wins, the Heat have turned in sub-.500 results down the stretch.  They've dropped four of their last five games, and have posted an 11-13 record since an eight-game winning streak. 

"We still have another game to play, and then after Read more...


76ers Pre-Game Blog: 4/14/2014 vs. Boston Celtics

Match-Up:

The 76ers (17-63; 5th-Atlantic Division, 14th-Eastern Conference) play their final game of the season in South Philadelphia, hosting the Boston Celtics (25-55; 4th-Atlantic Division, 12th-Eastern Conference).  The Sixers have faired about the same at home as they have on the road.  They're 9-31 at Wells Fargo Center, and 8-32 away from the arena.  

For a Sixers team looking to make a positive last impression for fans, a match-up with Boston could be just the right solution.  Since January 15th, the Sixers have posted two of their past three wins - including their most recent one on April 4th - against the Celtics.  The Sixers have positioned themselves to take the four-game season series from Boston, which last happened seven years ago. 

The Celtics, like the Sixers, are nearing the end of a tough season, one that was put in motion due mostly to substantial roster turnover.  Boston is on track for its third-worst record of all-time, heading into its second-to-last game having won only 31 percent of its games.  

The Celtics enjoyed modest success over the weekend, earning back-to-back wins.  On Friday, Boston snapped a season-high tying nine-game losing streak by defeating the playoff-bound Charlotte Bobcats.  Then, on Saturday, the C's halted a 13-game road losing streak by rolling past the Cleveland Cavaliers, 111-99.

76ers Theme:

With only nine wins at Wells Fargo Center this season, the 76ers are in line to post a losing home record for just the second time over the past 16 years.  After winning four of their first seven home games, the Sixers have since found fleeting success in South Philadelphia.  The team's troubles on its own floor this year have been underscored by an 18-game skid that spanned a month and a half. 

"I hope [fans] can see layers where we are building something," said Brett Brown, expressing appreciation for the support his group has received this year. At this morning's shoot-around, he cited the growth of young players, such as NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Carter-Williams, as reason for hope.

"You can easily get discouraged when you focus solely on record.  I hope they see what I see, and what they don't see, I hope they appreciate that things are moving behind the scenes.  I think slowly we're building a culture that's professional and real."

Carter-Williams echoed similar thoughts.

"I think we've shown that no matter how things go, we're not going to give up," Carter-Williams said.  "They showed me a lot of support, and I enjoy them.  One day, when we're making the playoffs, and doing those types of things, they'll deserve a team that's good." 

Carter-Williams paces first-year players with averages of 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.  Taken 11th overall in the draft this past June, the Syracuse product could be the latest pick to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors since Mark Jackson, who was the 18th choice of the 1987 draft. 

"I know I've been in the running for rookie of the year.  It's something I've worked hard for.  It's going to be fun to see.  Hopefully I can win it.  If not, I'm going to keep trying to get better ever day."

Celtics Theme:

The Boston Celtics made a relatively unorthodox decision to hold their game-day shoot-around at a site other than Wells Fargo Center.  Instead of having his team's morning walkthrough on the Sixers' home court, first-year head coach Brad Stevens, who spent the past six years at Butler University, opted to run practice at the Palestra, the tradition-rich venue located on the Unive Read more...


76ers Pre-Game Blog: 4/12/2014 @ Charlotte Bobcats

Match-Up:

The 76ers' (17-62; 5th-Atlantic Division, 14th-Eastern Conference) three-game road trip comes to an end at the Time Warner Cable Arena, where they'll take on the playoff-bound Charlotte Bobcats (40-39; 3rd-Southeast Division, 7th-Eastern Conference).  Both teams are coming off of Friday losses; the Sixers bowed to the Memphis Grizzlies, 117-95, while Charlotte stubbed its toe against the lowly Boston Celtics, 106-103. 

Tonight, the Sixers will be looking to avenge a lopsided setback to the Bobcats that occurred 10 days ago.  The 123-93 defeat marked one of the Sixers' more unsightly performances of the season.  Charlotte jumped out to a strong start, establishing a 12-point margin after one quarter, before widening the gap to 25 points by halftime.  In cruising past the Sixers, the Bobcats picked up their second 30-point win in the span of six days.  According to the Charlotte Observer, prior to this stretch, Charlotte had managed only three such victories over a 791-game period. 

The 76ers will be trying to force a split of their four-game season series with the Bobcats.  The Sixers knocked off Charlotte on January 15th, 95-92, with Thaddeus Young connecting on a late three-pointer that proved to be the difference.  Following the win, the Sixers went on to set a franchise mark by dropping 18 consecutive home games at the Wells Fargo Center, a streak that ended on March 31st, when the team also halted its NBA record-tying 26-game overall losing skid. 

76ers Theme:

In their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last night, the 76ers had a tough time defending the interior.  Memphis' frontline set the tone, as Marc Gasol, the 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and Zach Randolph, a double-double machine, imposed their will inside. The Grizzlies finished the game with 13 more rebounds, 13 more free throws made, and 12 more points scored in the paint than the Sixers.  Additionally, the Memphis starting frontcourt of Gasol, Randolph, and James Johnson combined to produce 41 points and 27 rebounds. 

The Sixers' struggles to contain opposing big men have surfaced in other recent games as well.  On Wednesday, the Toronto Raptors' promising 21-year old center Jonas Valanciunas deposited a career-high 26 points, while collecting a game-best 12 rebounds.  Last Saturday, 37-year old Kevin Garnett returned to the Brooklyn Nets line-up after a 19-game injury absence, and managed to finish with 10 points and four rebounds in just 13 minutes of action; rookie Mason Plumlee helped the Nets' low-post cause by adding 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench. 

Tonight, the Sixers will have to face for the second time in 10 days Al Jefferson, arguably the most impactful true center in the NBA this season.  The Eastern Conference Player of the Month for March, Jefferson pounded out 25 point and 10 rebounds at the Wells Fargo Center; his night was done after three quarters of play.  The Sixers, however, aren't the only team that Jefferson has victimized as of late.  He delivered 32 points and 10 rebounds against the Boston Celtics last night, giving him a double-double for a sixth consecutive game, and 39th time overall this season. 

Bobcats Theme:

In trying to figure out how the Charlotte Bobcats have been able to dramatically reverse their fortunes under NBA Coach of the Year candidate Steve Clifford, one need not look too far past the team's defensive success.  Charlotte is allowing only 97.2 points per game this season, the league's fourth-lowest total.  A  year ago, the Bobcats gave up an Eastern Conference-high 102.7 points on average.  According to Clifford, the defensive turna Read more...


76ers Pre-Game Blog: 4/11/2014 @ Memphis Grizzlies

Match-Up:

The 76ers (17-61; 5th-Atlantic Division, 14th-Eastern Conference) run into one of the NBA's most desperate teams, taking on the Memphis Grizzlies (46-32; 4th-Southwest Division, 9th-Western Conference).  Memphis - with four games left on its schedule - heads into tonight's match-up just one game out of the eighth and final playoff-eligible spot in the Western Conference standings.  The Grizzlies - which reached the conference finals last year - have dropped four of their past seven games, but are coming off a resilient win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday for their 12th straight home victory at FedEx Forum.

Like the Grizz, the Sixers were also in action on Wednesday, opening their three-game road trip with a 125-114 loss to the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors.  Each team the Sixers are facing on this trek has either already solidified a playoff berth, or remains in the hunt for one.  Tomorrow night, the Sixers close out their tour against the surging Charlotte Bobcats, winners of a season-best five straight games. 

Memphis defeated the 76ers, 103-77, in a March 15th meeting at Wells Fargo Center.  The Sixers' point total that night marked a season-low, as they managed to convert just 37 percent of their field goal attempts against one of the NBA's stingiest defensive units.  The Grizzlies are looking to sweep their season series with the Sixers for just the second time ever.

76ers Theme:

Although the 76ers came up short in their two previews games, the team managed to hold its own against recent opponents that are in position for post-season play.  Last Saturday, in a 105-101 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers trailed by as many as 21 points, before charging all the way back to cut the deficit to one point with 65 seconds to play.  On Wednesday at the Toronto Raptors, which are poised to clinch the Atlantic Division title this year, the Sixers were down 12 points with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.  Still, they made it a two-possession game with five minutes to go.  Neither comeback bid ended up resulting in a win, but Brett Brown was able to identify encouraging developments from both performances.

"I'm proud of them," said Brown on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.  "They're getting better.  They're starting to understand playing with each other.  I think we play hard more than we don't.  I thought they played together well, and defended well."

As for the notion that Brown's Sixers are getting better, several trends support his claim.  First, the Sixers have won twice within the past two weeks.  While, on the surface, that feat might not seem all that significant, the modest success is noteworthy for a team that had endured 26 defeats in a row.  Additionally, the Sixers have shown improvements in three-point field goal production, free-throw shooting, and and reducing turnovers.

That the Sixers are playing hard at this juncture of the season should come as no surprise.  The team is youthful, its longshot prospects are getting minutes in volumes they may never  receive again, and the head coach continues to put his group through intense workouts. 

"If you came into the gym and looked at it, we would have had this practice in November. We didn't change a thing," Brett Brown said after Tuesday's near-90 minute session at the Sixers' training facility.  "I'm so purposefully conscious of not giving an inch.  I don't want to give an inch.  In fact, I want to go the other way.  Our season is coming to an end, everybody gets where we're at.  There's no complacency, no sense of entitlement because we' Read more...



76ers Pre-Game Blog: 4/2/2014 vs. Charlotte Bobcats

Match-Up:

The 76ers (16-58; 5th-Atlantic Division, 14th-Eastern Conference) host the Charlotte Bobcats (36-38; 3rd-Southeast Division, 7th-Eastern Conference) in their third-to-last game of the season at the Wells Fargo Center.  The Sixers are looking to win consecutive home games for just the second time, having previously done so amidst their 3-0 start to the season. Charlotte, meanwhile, is attempting to get back on track and secure the franchise's second-ever playoff berth.  The Bobcats have dropped four of their previous seven games, after having won six of seven.

The Sixers split their first two games of the season with Charlotte.  The most recent pairing between the two teams was on January 15th, when the Sixers held on for a close 95-92 decision.  Prior to knocking off the Detroit Pistons this past Saturday, the Sixers hadn't won a game at home since that victory over the Bobcats.

76ers Theme:

For the better part of this season, the 76ers haven't been particularly prolific with their three-point shooting.  However, over the last two weeks, the team has shown signs of turning that trend around.  Over their past seven games, the Sixers have hit 70 of 205 three-point tries.  While converting triples at a rate of 34.1 percent isn't necessarily anything write home about, it should be noted that the Sixers have landed at least 10 three pointers in six of seven games.  Prior to this stretch, the Sixers only had nine total double-figure three-point performances on the season.  

Thaddeus Young has played a key role in helping the Sixers increase their three-point output of late.  Against the Atlanta Hawks in Monday's 103-95 loss, Young connected on a career-high five three-point buckets, the capstone of a three-game period during which he drained nine of 15 three-point attempts.  Young's perimeter game - thanks to the encouragement of general manager Sam Hinkie and head coach Brett Brown - has undergone a revival this year, as he's knocked down a career-best 83 three's on a career-high 258 three-point tries.  Over his three previous seasons with Doug Collins as head coach, Young went a total of eight for 34 from beyond the arch, after having displayed steady long-range ability earlier in his career. 

"When Brett and Sam told me in the summer I was going to be a stretch four, and different from the past, I was very happy and excited about it," Young said prior to tonight's game.  "I'm not happy and excited about how the season went, but I definitely think I've taken full advantage of doing the things they've wanted me to do."

Bobcats Theme:

Despite being on pace for the second-best season since their founding 10 years ago, the Charlotte Bobcats are in no position to get content heading into the final two weeks of the year.  Charlotte currently sits seventh in the Eastern Conference, just three and a half games in front of the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, and four and a half games ahead of the New York Knicks, which are making a furious push towards post-season play. 

That the Bobcats are even in the running for a playoff berth is a testament to the quick turnaround orchestrated by first-year head coach Steve Clifford.  He inherited a team that posted a 21-61 record last season.  It was the second-worst mark in all of the NBA.  Two years ago, Charlotte went a lowly 7-59 during the league's lockout-shortened season. 

Clifford, who has longstanding friendship with 76ers head coach Brett Brown, and Brown's father, Bob, has helped the Bobcats create a solid defensive identity, while molding big man Al Jefferson and point guard Kemba Walker into a dangerous inside-out tandem.  Jeff Read more...

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