76ers

Behind JJ Redick's decision to sign with Sixers lies burning desire to play for Brett Brown

Behind JJ Redick's decision to sign with Sixers lies burning desire to play for Brett Brown

LAS VEGAS -- JJ Redick was one of the most sought-after free agents on the market. Teams were pushing for his veteran leadership and three-point shooting. All the while his decision was quite easy. 

“Truthfully, for probably the eight weeks between the season and free agency, as we got closer and closer to free agency, I wanted to be in Philadelphia,” Redick said at his introductory press conference Saturday after officially signing with the Sixers (see story). “That was the place I wanted to be.”

Redick agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract with the Sixers on July 1, the first afternoon of free agency. What seemed like it could have been a drawn out period of heavy consideration was shortened to less than 24 hours. 

“You brought 40 people to the meeting,” Redick said, turning to president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo seated next to him. “It was just a great experience.”

The Sixers were quick to agree to a deal with Redick because he checked off a long list of offseason needs, the first being offense. 

“What this team needed more than anything was a shooter,” Colangelo said. “We arguably have the best shooter in the league.”

In addition to being instant scoring and reliable three-point threat, the shooting guard is a proven veteran leader who has made the playoffs part of his annual schedule. 

"Yeah, I would just say that Josh and Dave and Bryan aren't paying me $23 million to be a leader,” Redick said. “They're paying me that because I can play and same thing with Amir (Johnson).”

Redick viewed the Sixers’ system and roster as the best fit for him. He said the acquisition of the No. 1 pick to land Markelle Fultz “solidified” his interest in signing with them. Long before the trade, though, Redick had been enticed by the possibility of playing under Brett Brown. 

“To be honest, he was probably the biggest factor in this decision,” Redick said of Brown. “He’s someone that I’ve watched and I wanted to play for. I’m thrilled to be playing for him next year.”

Redick’s quick decision to join the Sixers came after years of traveling to the city as a member of the opposing team. A social media post from his past turned out to be telling of his relocation in 2017. 

"Somebody on Twitter the other day dug up an old tweet from 2011 when I said that I was roaming the streets of Philadelphia and it was one of my favorite cities and it's a very underrated city," Redick said. "Six years later, I still feel the same way."

Sixers refuse to look at silver lining from season-opening loss

Sixers refuse to look at silver lining from season-opening loss

BOX SCORE

WASHINGTON — In years past, overcoming a 12-point deficit and trailing a playoff-contending team by just two points with a minute to go would be considered an “A for effort” for the Sixers

If they held their own against a more experienced team and didn’t get dominated by John Wall, a 120-115 loss on the road wasn’t really that bad … was it?

Not this season.

The Sixers are in a new phase, one with actual pieces versus promising potential. With that comes higher expectations to win, and it starts in the locker room after the first game. 

“I don’t like taking positives from losses,” JJ Redick said. “We need to clean up a lot of stuff. We need to be better. It takes a lot to win in this league. We need to figure that out, and we will. We are good enough to do that.” 

The Sixers were in Wednesday's game until the end (see observations). They withstood the combined 53 points from Wall and Bradley Beal with a 29-point performance by Robert Covington and double-doubles from Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (see studs, duds, more).

The team acknowledged it had a chance to win. Yes, there were encouraging moments. No, they weren’t hanging their heads and writing off the season after opening night. 

At the same time, they are not ignoring the missteps that landed them in the loss column. Those are the turning points to learn from this season. 

The Sixers gave up just three points off four turnovers in the first half. The second half was a different story: 20 points off 13 turnovers. Down two points late in the fourth, the Sixers committed a pair of turnovers in a span of 30 seconds that hindered them from closing the gap. Those errors have been a focal point of conversation among the players. 

“Too many turnovers. That's big,” Embiid said (more on him here). “That's been the talk in the locker room. Got to work on that.”

The Sixers have one day of practice before facing the Celtics and Raptors in back-to-back games. It's just a small taste of what's to come in a stacked schedule over the first two months of the season. The attitude is be good enough to win, not good enough to compete. 

“We’re not going to try to lose this season and take a bunch of positives from that,” Redick said. “We’re trying to win. We’re trying to be in the playoffs this year. That’s got to be the mindset.”

Joel Embiid 'surprised' by amount of playing time in Sixers' opener

Joel Embiid 'surprised' by amount of playing time in Sixers' opener

WASHINGTON — In the end, Joel Embiid’s playing time was a non-issue.

After days of frustration leading up to opening night, Embiid played just three seconds shy of 27 minutes against the Wizards. That far surpassed the 16 minutes he anticipated a day earlier on Tuesday (see story)

“I was surprised,” Embiid said following the Sixers’ 120-115 loss on Wednesday night (see observations). “I was expecting way less than that, but it just shows you they trust me.”

Brett Brown had maintained Embiid’s minutes were going to be more flexible than last year and he wasn’t locked into a specific number by the medical staff. Initially, Brown projected Embiid would play somewhere in the teens, but the game presented an opportunity for him to log more. 

Embiid had played 21:38 through three quarters and it seemed, based on last season, he was done for the night. The coaching staff calculated Embiid had over 20 minutes to rest between the third and the fourth quarters, so Brown put him back into the game with just over five minutes to play. He finished the game with 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, a block and four turnovers (see highlights).

“It’s a range,” Brown said. “It’s more of a plan that we have this year than a restriction. When you look at and you feel the flow of the game, that’s where the variables come in.”

Embiid wants open lines of communication between him and the medical staff — for him to know what its planning and for him to be honest about how he is feeling.

“It’s on me to not lie to them and tell them how my body feels when I’m tired,” Embiid said. “At some point through the game I was tired and I told them to take me out.”

Embiid is ready for a new outlook on his availability moving forward. 

“We’ve got to stop calling it 'minutes restrictions,'" Embiid said. "There’s a plan with that — it’s just go out and play. If you’re tired, get out because injuries happen more often when you’re tired.”