76ers

Give and Go: Would you trade Ben Simmons, No. 3 pick for Kristaps Porzingis, No. 8 pick?

Give and Go: Would you trade Ben Simmons, No. 3 pick for Kristaps Porzingis, No. 8 pick?

Before the offseason craziness starts, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato, former CSN columnist John Gonzalez(!) and producer/reporters Matt Haughton, Paul Hudrick and Steven Tydings.

In this edition, we break down a totally, completely fake trade scenario brought up in our newsroom: Would you trade Ben Simmons and the No. 3 overall pick to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis and the No. 8 pick?

Camerato
Should the Sixers explore a trade for Kristaps Porzingis if the Knicks entertain offers? Yes. (Basically, every team should.) 

Is this the best trade? No.

Ben Simmons has not played in an NBA game. That’s enough reason right there for neither side to make this move.

The Sixers believe they have a very special player in Simmons. They plan to make the 6-foot-10, 2016 first-overall pick the starting point guard next season. If that experiment works, pairing Simmons at the one with a 7-foot-2 center in Joel Embiid who can play away from the basket could cause all sorts of matchup problems and give them a foundation to build around for the future. It is very hard to see the Sixers giving up on that before they even have a chance to try it. 

The Knicks, on the other hand, know what Porzingis can do. He averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and shot 35.7 percent from three in his second season. Porzingis is well on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star and the face of the team once they sort out the ongoing Carmelo Anthony saga. If for some reason Simmons didn’t pan out, what would they be left with? There’s no guarantee the Sixers’ third pick becomes a standout player. For the Knicks to trade a proven commodity for unknowns, that’s far too great of a risk.

Gonzalez
I was busy wearing Bermuda shorts and high black socks and playing bocci when this email request came in. You know a question is all-caps IMPORTANT for them to drag me out of sunny So-Cal semi-retirement and press me back into word monkey duty for CSN. So I will do my level best here. 

It’s close, but Porzingis shoots from distance and also offers some level of rim protection.  I could imagine pairing him with Embiid, and the thought makes me smile. He’s also actually played in the NBA. Plus, there are at least two Latvian rap songs about him. If there are any Latvian rap songs about Simmons, someone should bring them to my attention posthaste, because that puts Simmons at a serious disadvantage. Beyond that, I’m not super smitten with anyone after Fultz, which makes moving back from 3 to 8 less of a concern on my end. 

I was leaning toward a yes on this one when Aaron Talasnik — otherwise known as Fanboy Aaron from something called The700Level Show — texted me to say even considering the deal was stupid. Aaron has finished last in every fantasy league he’s ever been in — and also life. That was it for me. Do the deal.

One last thing, while I’m here: I hope someone remembered to feed the trolls in the comments section while I’ve been away. Roob, maybe?

Haughton
No.

I’m not entirely sure where to start. Let’s go with the part where a major portion of Sam Hinkie’s process was to end up with the No. 1 pick. The Sixers would never trade him without having seen him play in a real NBA game.

Additionally, the Sixers wouldn’t trade Ben Simmons to a division rival so he could potentially bludgeon them four times a season for the next decade.

Speaking of the Knicks, I’m almost positive they aren’t ready to give up on Porzingis at this point in time. Sure, there has been some contention with president Phil Jackson, but the Latvian is still New York’s best long-term building block and a big reason butts stay in those expensive seats for every game at Madison Square Garden.

That’s just the probability side. As far as fit goes, I’m not exactly sold on that either for the Sixers.

Of course, adding a talent like Porzingis would benefit the Sixers in some aspect — mainly on defense with great rim protection alongside Joel Embiid. However, the two are very similar offensively. They are both big men that can drive to the rim but prefer to shoot jumpers. Of Embiid’s field goal attempts last season, 56.4 percent came on jump shots. That number was a hefty 64.9 percent for Porzingis.

For a Sixers team that has spent the last several years simply acquiring talent (mainly centers) and was supposed to be moving into the phase of putting the correct pieces of the puzzle together, this seems like a move that counteracts that approach.

Hudrick
So let me get this straight …

The Sixers give up last year's No. 1 overall pick and the No. 3 overall pick this year for another seven-footer — albeit a damn good one — and the No. 8 overall pick?

Yeah, that's gonna be a no for me, dog.

This seems like a trade scenario a Bill Simmons-like Knicks fan conjured up.

Ben Simmons was touted as arguably the best prospect since Kevin Durant. He's been compared to Magic Johnson. Why would you give up on a guy with his pedigree, court vision and overall potential before he's even played an NBA game?

The argument you could make is the known vs. the unknown, but that gives me even more pause. You're not even sure what you have in Simmons. Could you imagine if you trade Simmons to the Knicks and he becomes the next Magic?

Not to mention Porzingis being a bad fit with Embiid.

I could go on, but luckily Vlade Divac is not the Sixers' GM so I can't see this trade happening.

Side note: He may not have a Latvian rap song made in his honor, but Simmons did a start a pretty important movement that a certain semi-retired sports writer seemed to enjoy.

Tydings
This would be an absolute travesty of a deal for the Sixers.

Before we even go into Simmons' potential impact, which will probably turn into very real impact in the next year or so, let's talk about Embiid. The biggest issue that plagued the Sixers and their fans in recent years were the team's glut of centers, which is still an issue as long as Jahlil Okafor is on the roster. Embiid is clearly their center for the future and it doesn't make sense to trade your biggest non-Embiid asset for what would essentially be Embiid insurance. You have a little of that in Richaun Holmes. It's not like you need a traditional center to survive in the NBA.

But let's talk Simmons, too. He's a very real talent. His court vision and passing are otherworldly. There's a reason he was the No. 1 overall pick. Sure, he missed a year, but Porzingis has dealt with multiple injuries in his career. One of the only ways this deal makes sense is if the Sixers know something medically about Simmons that we don't, and that's something the Knicks would assuredly see in a subsequent physical.

And Porzingis is a disgruntled asset for the Knicks. So why would the Sixers trade the superior asset and give up the better pick in the deal? It'd be different if the Knicks had won the lottery and were ahead of the Sixers right now, although that deal probably doesn't make much sense with Embiid and Porzingis' fit.

If Phil Jackson offered this deal to Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers' GM would first ask if Jackson was serious. When Jackson said that yes, he was serious, Colangelo would have laughed for a full minute and then asked him if he really, really was serious.

Jackson would begrudgingly say yes, at which point Colangelo would tell Jackson he was a doddering old fool before hanging up and laughing for a decade, during which Simmons and Embiid will dominate the NBA.

Give and Go: How will Sixers fare on season-long homestand?

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Give and Go: How will Sixers fare on season-long homestand?

Each week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor/reporter Marshall Harris, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Paul Hudrick and NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporter Matt Haughton.

In this edition, we'll look at whether the Sixers can keep their momentum going during their upcoming six-game homestand.

Harris
At first glance, I thought the Sixers were looking at a winning homestand of 4-2. But with the latest injury to Justin Anderson (out at least three weeks with shin splints), the Sixers’ depth chart at guard could severely cripple those hopes. 

While they start Ben Simmons at point guard and JJ Redick at the shooting guard, the bench is left with only T.J. McConnell, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and rookie Furkan Korkmaz.

It’s hard to believe that guard rotation (or even a fully healthy one) would slow down Golden State. That's likely a loss any way you look at it with the Warriors coming off Thursday's loss to Boston.

The Sixers should handle Utah just as they did in Salt Lake City. But after that, the backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will likely be tough to endure.

Orlando should offer a very strong chance at a win. The Magic have cooled off since a 6-2 start. Any team that can lose to the Bulls at home should be beatable by Brett Brown's squad.

The last two games against Cleveland and Washington should be great measuring sticks as top teams in the East. Both the Cavaliers and Wizards have been inconsistent. You'd hope the Sixers would be a little healthier by the last two games on the homestand. It will likely come down to late-game execution and I can see the Sixers earning a split.

So that's a 3-3 homestand from my vantage point with a chance to get a fourth win depending on Joel Embiid's availability. But with six games in 12 days, you have to wonder if "load management" won't play a factor here. So I'll stick with a shorthanded 3-3, accounting for the possibility of a JoJo no-show.

Hudrick
Unfortunately, the home stand will likely start with an L to the Warriors. As Marshall eluded to, the Warriors are coming off a loss on Thursday. That does not bode well for the Sixers.

The team has been playing at such a high level. Here’s the crazy thing though: they went 3-2 on a West Coast trip where JJ Redick and Dario Saric, two extremely important cogs in the Sixers’ lineup, contributed very little. 

Redick will right the ship. He has the track record. Sometimes, you’re just off. If it’s a mechanical issue, you know Redick will get it figured out. Saric’s struggles are likely the result of a role change and fatigue from playing so much basketball. While he doesn’t have the track record of Redick, I expect Saric to bounce back as well. 

Still, the Sixers are up against a gauntlet. After Saturday’s matchup with Golden State, the team hosts the Jazz, Trail Blazers and Magic before wrapping the home stand against the Wizards and Cavs. In my eyes, that’s three very winnable games and three extremely challenging contests. If they go 3-3, there would be nothing to be upset about.

But I think they pull out one of the games against the Wizards or Cavs and they go 4-2 over the next six games at the Wells Fargo Center.

Haughton
This is tricky because it combines how well the Sixers are currently playing with the level of competition set to enter the Wells Fargo Center.

On the Sixers’ end, things couldn’t be much better. The team capped off the five-game road trip with an exclamation mark as Joel Embiid put on a show for the ages against the Clippers and Lakers in Los Angeles. More importantly, the Sixers finished the trip with a 3-2 mark (should have been 4-1 if not for the “rogue” moment in Sacramento). Either way, the Sixers are in a solid position as they return to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time in just over two weeks.

As for the opponents, there aren’t any real slouches on the slate. The only team the Sixers will face below the .500 mark is the Rudy Gobert-less Utah Jazz, who they already took care of on the road.

Things get started with the champion Golden State Warriors, who had won seven straight prior to Thursday’s loss to Boston. The Sixers will also face Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers before a date with the surprising Orlando Magic. They finish off the home stretch with Eastern Conference heavyweights Cleveland and Washington.

I would say a split would be more than acceptable for the Sixers, but I’ll get a bit greedy and say the young squad feeds off the home crowd’s energy to go 4-2 during the stint with losses only to the Warriors and Cavaliers.

Best of NBA: Spurs overcome 23-point deficit to beat Thunder

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Best of NBA: Spurs overcome 23-point deficit to beat Thunder

SAN ANTONIO -- LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a 23-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-101 on Friday night.

Danny Green added 17 points, and Pau Gasol had 14 points to help San Antonio end Oklahoma City's three-game winning streak.

Aldridge put back of Green's missed 3-pointer gave the Spurs a 102-99 lead with 24.2 seconds remaining.

The Thunder missed two 3-pointers on the ensuing possession, but Carmelo Anthony tracked down a second offensive rebound and made a 25-footer with his foot on the 3-point line to cut the lead to 102-101.

Gasol made two free throws, and Russell Westbrook stumbled to the court and threw up an airball on a 3-point attempt.

Anthony had 20 points to lead the Thunder. Westbrook was held to 15 points after scoring 10 in the opening period. He was 5 for 22 from the field (see full recap).

LeBron scores 39 as Cavs rally past Clippers in OT
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 39 points, Kevin Love added 25 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 118-113 in overtime on Friday night over the skidding Los Angeles Clippers, who dropped their seventh in a row.

Love drained a pair of 3-pointers in OT, when the Cavs outscored the Clippers 13-8. Dwyane Wade added 23 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland.

The Cavs' win wasn't eye-pleasing, but it was another step in the right direction for the Eastern Conference champions, who went 3-1 on a just-completed road trip.

The Clippers are headed the other way. Los Angeles has lost nine of 10 since a 4-0 start.

Blake Griffin scored 23 and DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 22 rebounds for Los Angeles, which didn't give up the lead until the first minute of overtime. The Clippers had chances to put the Cavs away in regulation, but they didn't execute down the stretch and then had defensive breakdowns in overtime (see full recap).

Bulls overcome Walker’s 47 points to snap skid
CHICAGO -- Justin Holiday had 27 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the skidding Charlotte Hornets 123-120 on Friday night, overcoming a 47-point outburst by Kemba Walker to snap their five-game losing streak.

Walker finished five points shy of his career high but missed a driving layup with Charlotte trailing by one in the closing seconds.

Lauri Markkanen then hit two free throws to make it 123-120 with 2.6 seconds left, securing the Bulls' third win in 13 games this season. Charlotte has dropped six straight.

Last in the NBA in scoring and field goal percentage, Chicago shot 52 percent and hit 17 of 34 3-pointers.

Holiday and Denzel Valentine, who had 18 points, each sank four from long range. Kris Dunn scored 22, Markkanen added 16 and the Bulls came out on top after a tense finish.

Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist rebounded a missed shot by Chicago's Robin Lopez with about 10 seconds left. After a timeout, a driving Walker was bothered by a rotating Markkanen as Walker tried to put the Hornets ahead (see full recap).