76ers

Bryan Colangelo: Sixers hope to meet with Lonzo Ball before NBA draft

Bryan Colangelo: Sixers hope to meet with Lonzo Ball before NBA draft

CAMDEN, N.J. -- The Sixers have not met with Lonzo Ball, but they hope to do so before the NBA draft on June 22. 
 
“[We] haven’t yet … It’s certainly something that we would like to arrange with Lonzo,” Sixers president of operations Bryan Colangelo said Monday after the team’s first pre-draft workout at their practice facility. 
 
ESPN.com previously reported Ball, whose camp has been selective with the former UCLA guard’s pre-draft meetings, would consider working out with the Sixers. His father, LaVar, has made his desire for his son to play for the Lakers extremely clear.
 
Ball has been the projected second pick behind Washington guard Markelle Fultz. There have been questions as the draft nears, however, if the Lakers would pass on him at No. 2 because of his heavily-involved, outspoken father. The Lakers are reportedly souring on Ball partially because of his father and doubts that the point guard will become a star. The Sixers hold the third overall pick.
 
"I think Ball is a terrific prospect and could have an outstanding NBA future," special advisor Jerry Colangelo said last weekend on 94 WIP. "I think it's going to be challenging with the people around him without being specific, and yet I don't think teams should bypass the player because they have those concerns. I think at the end of the day what wins in this league is talent and this is a very talented young man."
 
The Sixers also have inquired about meeting with Fultz, who seems like a lock to go No. 1 to the Celtics. It is not uncommon for expected top picks to meet with a minimal number of organizations. 
 
“There’s maybe one or two players that have made it known that they’ll probably not visit a lot of teams,” Bryan Colangelo said. “Right now, you can talk about Markelle, I think … will work out for one team at this stage and that’s Boston. But there’s still ongoing discussions with his representatives as it relates to the possibility of stopping by here.”
 
The Sixers have been meeting with plenty other prospects, though. The team traveled to agent-led workouts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. to watch and meet with players. They also attended private workouts and held interviews. Colangelo did not disclose the names of the participants. 
 
“We certainly have an interest in meeting and talking to all top-10 prospects,” Colangelo said. “We’ve had a chance to meet with several of them already. No individual workouts here, but we’ve had some workouts out on the road. We’re moving along, getting as much information as possible.”
 
The Sixers began their first round of group workouts in Camden on Monday with Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe, George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh, Tennessee State guard Tahjere McCall, Maryland guard Melo Trimble, Middle Tennessee State forward Reggie Upshaw and Colorado guard Derrick White.

Rob's Rants — Heat are now most hated NBA team

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AP Images

Rob's Rants — Heat are now most hated NBA team

The reasons were all on full display Thursday in Miami. From the Justise Winslow’s goggles stomp, to Dwyane Wade’s take-down of Justin Anderson, to Goran Dragic’s flexing, to Kelly Olynyk’s cheap shots and man-bun, to Hassan Whiteside’s laughable belief that he is even in the same league as Joel Embiid, the Miami Heat have vaulted to the top of my current NBA hate list.

That spot had been reserved by the Boston Celtics since I was a kid. Red Auerbach, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, cheap-shot artist, Danny Ainge, and that towel-waving weasel, M.L. Carr, were an easy team to despise. Not to mention the arrogance of their fanbase. They were the Sixers' chief rival in those days. The difference with those Celtics squads and the Heat is, those Boston teams were great. This Miami team because of their lack of talent must play a physical, often cheap, dirty style. 

But the beauty of Game 3 of this first-round series was the Sixers beat them at their own physical game. Thanks in large part to the return of the masked man, Joel Embiid. 

Let’s start with Winslow purposely attempting to break Embiid’s goggles that popped off of his facial mask. The ref was standing right there; how that is not a technical at the very least is beyond comprehension. Then there’s Wade, a future Hall of Famer, no doubt. But a bigger whiner you won’t find and that is saying something in the NBA. Wade cries more than an infant teething. He should have been ejected or issued at the very least the only technical for his tangle with Anderson. The double technical was a classic case of pedigreed player vs. a deep guy.  

Olynyk is a complete hack and in the vein of Wade, never thinks he commits a foul. Whiteside is no match for Embiid. He can only play one end and when Embiid is on the floor it’s clear he can’t even handle him on that one end.

It was thoroughly enjoyable to watch the Sixers silence the faux Miami crowd that is more interested in showing up overpriced, garish clothes and being seen than what is happening on the hardwood.       

It won’t be easy by any stretch but here’s hoping the Sixers can send this bunch packing in five. If Embiid stays healthy, the Sixers advance but between then and now, expect much of the same tactics from Miami. And another layer to the Heat hate.

Justin Anderson downplays Game 3 scuffle with Dwyane Wade

Justin Anderson downplays Game 3 scuffle with Dwyane Wade

Amir Johnson was getting dressed at the locker next to Justin Anderson when the veteran center looked up with a calm request.

“Tell the truth,” Johnson said with a smile.

That’s because Anderson was attempting to downplay his second-quarter run-in with Heat guard Dwyane Wade during the Sixers’ 128-108 Game 3 win Thursday in Miami (see game recap).

“It’s just a common foul. I’m not tripping about it,” Anderson said.

Anderson may not have wanted to make a big deal over the incident, but the foul was anything but common.

With 10:26 on the clock in the second quarter, Anderson locked up with Wade on the defensive end. Anderson pushed off as he attempted to front Wade in the post when the three-time champion latched onto the Sixers guard’s arm and flung him out of bounds. Anderson fell down into a couple photographers before getting up to confront Wade. Both players were separated and assessed taunting technical fouls for the play.

“I don’t remember,” Anderson said. “It was just a tough play for both of us. Just continue to move on. Next play.”

The skirmish was just one example of the heightened physicality in the series. Game 3 witnessed 56 total personal fouls and six technicals.

Despite playing just two minutes in the series prior to Thursday night, Anderson knew he was walking into a battle.

“They hit us in Game 1. They were physical from the start,” said Anderson, who had six points and four rebounds during nine minutes of action in Game 3. “I try to take every opportunity that I’m given. Watching the game for the first two games from the bench, I kind of recognized that the physicality was real high. I just mentally prepared myself that if I go in I’ve got to hit first or they’re going to hit me.”

So is it safe to say Anderson is the Sixers’ new enforcer?

“Like in hockey? Nah,” he said. “I just play hard. I play hard and make sure I do whatever I can to help our team win. That’s all that really matters.”