76ers

Chasson Randle chasing NBA goals with Sixers

Chasson Randle chasing NBA goals with Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — His name is pronounced ‘chase-in’ — “like you’re chasin’ somebody,” he explained.

Chasson Randle is chasing his NBA aspirations with the Sixers.

The point guard signed a 10-day contract on Tuesday following a four-player workout that included fellow D-Leaguers Cat Barber, Yogi Ferrell and Briante Weber.

Randle was averaging 20.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 19 games for the Westchester Knicks this season. 

“I just want to bring a lot of energy on both ends of the floor, be aggressive, and try to make plays out there and be a great teammate because we’ve got a lot of great guys here,” Randle said after his first practice. “I’ve only been here 24 hours, but I can just tell these guys are amazing.”

Although listed as a point guard, the Sixers envision utilizing Randle at the one- and two-spots. This versatility addresses multiple needs across the backcourt, which the Sixers took into consideration when making the decision to sign him.  

The Sixers are without Jerryd Bayless (wrist) for the season, and Sergio Rodriguez returned on Sunday from an ankle sprain. They have been starting third point guard T.J. McConnell and shifting shooting guard Nik Stauskas to the backup one position.

Over at the starting shooting guard spot, Gerald Henderson has been battling hip issues. The addition of Randle allows the Sixers to plug in another player during practice when managing Henderson.

“It gives us a balanced practice,” Brown said. “We’re very mindful of Gerald Henderson’s health. At times we don’t spend our money in practice and we need another body there.”

The Sixers also were thinking down the road with the signing. Should Randle still be on the team when Ben Simmons returns (no timetable announced), he has the skillset that could complement Simmons. The first overall pick went through his first five-on-none work on Tuesday and played point guard (see story).

“With the selection of [Randle], you feel like if he was able to continue on, there could be a place for him,” Brown said. “He’s a combo guard like Jerryd Bayless.”

Randle spent last season overseas with ČEZ Nymburk in the Czech Republic. He posted 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 47.3 percent from three. 

Randle went undrafted in 2015 following a standout four-year career at Stanford. During his senior year, he was named a Pac-12 All-Academic First Team honoree and Stanford’s first Capital One Academic All-America First Team selection since 2006. 

“He’s the all-time leading scorer in the history of Stanford basketball, and I felt like the gym was smarter today,” Brown said. “There’s intellect, there’s a history, there’s pedigree that we respect and there’s a balance to our team that he allows us to fill.”

Randle’s first game with the Sixers will be Wednesday against his former NBA affiliate, the Knicks.

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.”