J.J. Redick

How did the game in London impact All-Star aspirations?


How did the game in London impact All-Star aspirations?

LONDON – As much as players for both Boston and Philadelphia wanted to win their Thursday afternoon matchup, there was more at stake for a number of players with all-star weekend aspirations.

A number of players are in the hunt to be named to the all-star team, while others are under consideration for other events such as the Rookie-Sophomore game and the 3-point shootout.

So how did Boston’s 114-103 win over Philadelphia impact their all-star weekend chances?


He is a four-time all-star and all signs point toward him making a fifth all-star appearance next month. He was a media magnet during his time in London and his play on Thursday did nothing but cement his place among the top players in the NBA. And the most recent fan poll had Irving tops among Eastern Conference guards with 1,370,643 votes.

“That would be great,” Embiid said. “Every time I play I feel like, this is a business, I want to win, I’m a winner, I’m competitive. But at the same time, this is also for the fans. I want to have fun. I always do have fun on the court. And I play better when I have fun.”


The Tatum bandwagon seems to get bigger and stronger as this season progresses. While he’s most likely to be named to the league’s Rising Stars Challenge (aka the Rookie/Sophomore game), the 6-foot-8 Tatum is getting some surprisingly strong all-star voting love. He is currently seventh in the voting with 213,499 votes.  And his play on Thursday can only help his chance of being in Los Angeles for all-star weekend. In the win, Tatum had 16 points which included 11 in the third quarter. He was 1-for-3 on 3’s and is currently shooting 45.9 percent on 3’s which is second in the NBA to Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic (46.5 percent on 3’s).


While one of the league’s most improved players, Brown’s likely all-star weekend plans will include a spot in the Rising Stars Challenge. Brown’s versatility at both ends of the floor has stood out. It was on display Thursday night when he led the Celtics with 21 points. His play has been so good, he has cracked the top-10 among guards in all-star voting. The 6-7 wing has received a total of 103, 222 all-star votes.


Horford’s All-star weekend plans are likely to include a trip to Los Angeles for the all-star game with Horford once again getting in by being selected by the coaches. Their role is so vital in selecting all-stars whose contributions may get overlooked by fan voting. And the job he did on Thursday was yet another reminder of how important Horford has been to Boston’s success of late. He had 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but the real key to his play was his defense which limited Joel Embiid to 15 points on 6-for-17 shooting with most of his points coming while being guarded by Daniel Theis.


Speaking of Theis, the 25-year-old has no shot at being an all-star, but he might squeeze his way into all-star weekend as a potential participant in the Rising Stars Challenge game which is now divided up into games with American rookies and sophomores taking on international first and second-year players. Embiid was a tough cover whenever Theis was on him, but still had a decent game against the Sixers by finishing with seven points and five rebounds while making all three of his field goal attempts. It was a good performance, but not good enough to move the needle one way or another when it comes to having something to do during all-star weekend.


Embiid has emerged as one of the more engaging international players in the NBA. And it only helps that he’s an extremely dominant player most nights. And while the Celtics delivered yet another defensive masterpiece against him, there’s little doubt about Embiid’s status as a likely all-star next month. And most likely, he’ll be a starter. The top-3 frontcourt players after all the various voting groups are tabulated, will be named to the all-star team. Embiid is currently third among frontcourt players in the East with 784, 287 votes.


The runaway leader for Rookie of the Year is a lock to be named to the Rising Stars Challenge game. But he’s making a strong push to be named as an all-star as well. Simmons is currently third among Eastern Conference guards, with 397,942 fan-based votes. Like Embiid, his performance on Thursday (16 points, three assists) did not help or hinder his all-star weekend plans.


Redick has been one of the better 3-point shooters for as long as he’s been in the NBA, so it would come as no surprise if he’s among those invited to compete in the 3-point shootout. If so, it would be his third time competing. In 2015, he finished seventh out of the eight-man field, and came back the following year to finish fourth. Based on how he lit up the Celtics defense in the first half, you can understand why he’s always in the conversation when talk centers around the best pure shooters. He led all scorers on Thursday with 22 points which included 5-for-9 shooting from 3-point range.


30 teams in 30 days: Sixers done being the punchline?


30 teams in 30 days: Sixers done being the punchline?

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: Philadelphia 76ers

BOSTON –  For years the Sixers have stunk while asking their fans to “trust the process,” with the losses piling up like a clogged sewage pipe.

It’s pretty clear by the moves they made this offseason, this franchise is tired of being a league-wide punchline for putrid play.

30 teams in 30 days:

Instead, they seem poised to punch back and – wait for it! – play competitive basketball that could potentially see them do the seemingly unthinkable and that’s get to the playoffs this spring.

There is an unmistakable buzz surrounding this team that’s based on something other than potential or incredibly pitiful play.

It’s rooted in progress, the kind that just may reward fans with a trip to the postseason for the first time since 2012 when they were eliminated in the second round by the Boston Celtics.

At the heart of Philadelphia’s now-optimistic hopes of having a bright future sooner rather than later, is Joel Embiid.

The 7-foot big man was a walking force of nature in his first healthy season (injuries sidelined him for his first two seasons in the league), which was an issue with him logging limited minutes (25.4 per game) and being even more limited when it came to actual games played (31).

But in that time, he averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds with 2.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game, the kind of stats that would put him firmly in the All-Star conversation.

However, the concerns that have dogged him since he came into the NBA – his health - are once again an issue heading into this season.

Embiid’s status to start the season remains uncertain due to a meniscus tear in his left knee suffered last season that has yet to heal to the point where he has been cleared to resume full basketball-related activities.

However, the optimism for Philadelphia competing for a playoff spot this season has more to do with them adding a pair of playoff-tested veterans in Amir Johnson and J.J. Redick who came via free agency from Boston and the Los Angeles Clippers, respectively.

Philadelphia should also benefit from having Ben Simmons on the floor.

Drafted by the Sixers with the top overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Simmons has been cleared for full basketball-related activities after having suffered a foot injury that led to him missing the entire 2016-2017 NBA season.

And Philadelphia’s top pick in last June’s NBA draft, Markelle Fultz, suffered an ankle injury during summer league in Las Vegas last month but he too is on track to be ready to go before the start of training camp.

To talk about Philadelphia and good health in the same breath, is indeed progress. And if their core guys can manage to maintain a relatively clean bill of health during the regular season, Sixers fans will finally reap the fruits of having trusted the process.

Key free agent/draft/trade additions: J.J. Redick (Los Angeles Clippers); Amir Johnson (Boston).

Key losses:  Ersan Ilyasova (Atlanta); Sergio Rodriguez (CSKA Moscow); Gerald Henderson (free agent).

Rookies of note: Markelle Fultz; Furkan Korkmaz.

Expectations: 36-44 (Third in the Atlantic Division, ninth in the East)