76ers

JJ Redick: Being anti-Trump 'is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning'

JJ Redick: Being anti-Trump 'is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning'

CAMDEN, N.J. — For a few of the Sixers players on media day Monday, sticking to sports was not an option.

To recap, first President Donald Trump during a rally Friday in Alabama called protesting NFL players "sons of bitches," saying the owners should "fire" any player that protests. Trump on Saturday then went to his familiar realm, tweeting he was uninviting Stephen Curry and the NBA-champion Warriors to the White House.

Of all the players speaking at Sixers media day Monday, the team's marquee free-agent signing, JJ Redick, had the most to say about the situation.

"I'm about as anti-Trump as you can get and I've been that way since the election," Redick said. "And he was just getting started. "

But he wasn't the only one to speak about the president's comments.

Here are the full quotes from media day.

Redick 

To CSNPhilly's Amy Fadool and Marshall Harris on Trump's social media and tweets directed at Curry:
"It’s very interesting how [Trump] uses social media. I would say this weekend, it was almost surreal. As an NBA player, you’re kind of taking the big picture view and going, ‘what’s going on here?’ 

"Our active, sitting president is calling NFL players ‘sons of bitches’ and is going after Steph Curry and LeBron (James), who have done more for sports and culture and African-American communities than anyone; it’s surreal. I agree with what LeBron said; his use of the presidency and what it represents is not what it represented to me a year ago. It’s not what it represented to me with Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. Those are the presidents that I knew as a young person and as an adult, and his presidency doesn’t represent that, the White House doesn’t represent that. So, of course, I agree with LeBron, I agree with what the Warriors are doing by not going to the White House. I don’t think any team should go to the White House; you’re actively saying, ‘I support this guy.’ 

"The other thing, too, is to speak out against Trump at this point is almost like eating breakfast. It’s what’s you should do — you should eat breakfast because it’s part of a daily, balanced diet. On the list of things that he’s done to offend me, his comments this week were like 87th. There’s more important things going on like North Korea and flood and disaster relief that we’re dealing with right now in Puerto Rico, Florida and Houston; those are the things that are important. So it’s mind-boggling that that’s what he’s spending his time on.”

On what he feels is his responsibility as an American and an NBA player:
“I think you should take an active role in your own education. No one is going to educate you — life will educate you, of course. But just take an active role in your education, that’s the biggest thing. The second biggest thing is just love other people, that’s all we’re supposed to do. Just be kind and love other people.”

To reporters on if he feels more responsibility as a white player to step up:
"I don't think it has anything to do with being white. I've certainly never been oppressed because of the color of my skin. I'm a human and can certainly relate to any emotion that humans have felt. I'm about as anti-Trump as you can get and I've been that way since the election. I think being anti-Trump at this point is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning. It's just something that you do during your day. I mean how often do you go through a day and not be offended by the guy?"

On if he would support his teammates protesting:
"In terms of doing something to protest, I think it's best that those things are done as a team. That's just me. But if guys want to do something, I'm all for it and of course, I would stand with anyone regardless of the color of their skin or their background or anything like that."

Jerryd Bayless

On Trump and on the NFL protests:
"I think what he's done in dividing us and his narrow-minded views are obviously not a good thing for the country. I think we all know and we've seen his comments from immigration to climate change to 'sons of bitches' to 'fine people' that are part of a rally [in Charlottesville] and what not. So I think what he's done is self-explanatory, but now is the time to kind of see how we're all going to come back from this and how we move forward. 

"The protests are great. I think everybody has the right to do whatever they want to do but now it's time to figure out as a whole — black, white, Mexican, Asian, whatever — how are we going to move forward? How are we going to come together so we can make him feel what he's doing is wrong? We can go back and forth about this. I don't know if this is really the appropriate time to do this but … it's disappointing. But hopefully from this everybody will be able to move forward and figure out the way to make him go a different direction."

Justin Anderson, a Virginia native and University of Virginia alumnus 

On the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, recent NFL protests and if the Sixers are planning a protest:
"Obviously the Charlottesville situation hit home. It was very relevant to me in my life. Fortunately, we just had a concert last night to help promote unity through music. It was something beautiful to see at our university. But as far as the protesting things that we've seen as of late, we've been talking through group texts, we've been sending the same messages and screenshots of things that have been said. Just continue to talk to each other about it. 

"Fortunately, we have about 10 days until we play our first game so far as what we're going to do to I guess physically try to show something or send a message, we haven't spoke about that yet and we have time and we'll figure it out. But I think we're all in agreement, on the same page. We're all in agreement in that locker room on the things that are going on. We're all working to do our part to help shed light in the right direction and that's to help build unity. To help lift up people in a time when people are being pushed down. We just want to make sure that we have each other's backs and I think that's something that's bringing us together even closer."

James-Michael McAdoo, who signed a two-way deal with the Sixers after spending the last three years in Golden State

On the situation involving the Warriors and the president:
"Obviously that's not something that we necessarily broadcast too loudly. But you can see it and hear those guy's sound bites out there on the West Coast. It's obviously something that needs to be addressed. I think my ex-teammates are doing a wonderful job in addressing that in the political climate being what it is right now. "

Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he pay?

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USA Today Images

Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he pay?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The first starting lineup of the Sixers' 2017-18 season will be Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, JJ Redick, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid.

Brown is sticking with the group that closed out preseason competition. That group has a balance of veterans and young talent, including Simmons making his NBA debut after missing all of last season with a foot injury.

"It helps a lot (starting together in the preseason) because you're learning guys and how they move and how they play," Simmons said. "I think we have a pretty good connection going into tonight's game and it's only going to get better."

Embiid will be under a minutes restriction but Brown does not have a definitive number. The big man previously said he expected to play 16 minutes. Embiid was the last one to leave the court at the conclusion of shootaround. 

"There's a range that we'll work with," Brown said. "We're going to feel it together. We'll play Joel within some parameters and go from that base." 

Markelle Fultz also will make his NBA debut. The No. 1 pick, who has battled right knee and shoulder soreness, will come off the bench in front of his hometown crowd. 

"I'm excited," Fultz said. "It's anything you can wish for."

Sixers-Wizards thoughts: Finally, a season opener with meaning

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NBCSP

Sixers-Wizards thoughts: Finally, a season opener with meaning

Sixers vs. Wizards
7 p.m. on ESPN
Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m., Postgame Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports app

This is different.

For the first time in a handful of years, the Sixers are set to tip off an NBA regular season with legitimate expectations and hope (see Fearless Forecast).

That all gets started in our nation’s capital as the Sixers open up the 2017-18 campaign against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

• You know the numbers by now: 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game.

Joel Embiid was an absolute force during his rookie season. After sitting out two years with foot injuries, Embiid showed the entire league just how dominant he can be when healthy. However, that lasted only 31 games before the big man suffered a torn meniscus.

That brings us back to the final section in that stat line: minutes. Embiid will be on a minutes restriction to start the season, a decision the center made clear that he does not support (see story). With the team eyeing around 16 minutes on opening night, things can get tricky. If he has it rolling early, do the Sixers still take him out at his designated time? Will they go light on playing time early to save him for down the stretch?

With the Sixers finally focused on actually winning some games and not solely on building for the future, it will be interesting to see how Brett Brown handles Embiid’s time on the floor.

• Time for take two on Ben Simmons' rookie season. Much like recent Sixers before him, Simmons sat out what would have been his entire rookie year after fracturing his foot in training camp.

While Simmons likely could have returned at some point in 2016-17, Rookie of the Year campaigns aren’t built on portions of seasons (just ask Embiid). And make no mistake about it, the Sixers’ new starting point guard has his sights set on bringing home the hardware.

Leading a team on the rise with his versatile skill set suggests Simmons will be among the frontrunners for the award. He put up 11.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game during the preseason. 

But at some point, he will have to give teams a reason to respect his shooting ability from outside the paint. Simmons was 0 for 3 from three-point range and 9 for 22 from the free throw line during preseason action.

• Speaking of rookies, when is the last time the No. 1 overall pick has come into his first season as under the radar as Markelle Fultz?

Since being selected atop June’s NBA draft, it’s been an up-and-down transition for Fultz. The Washington product showed his scoring prowess in summer league play before going down with an ankle injury. Then a shoulder injury suffered during camp caused him to alter his shooting stroke. Finally, an ailing knee forced him to the sideline for the rest of preseason.

Now Fultz will come off the bench with the second unit. It should be a better situation for him as he can be more of a focal point and to handle the ball more often without sharing the floor with Simmons. However, if the 19-year-old continues down a rocky path to start, will he be able to handle the criticism?

• Outside of the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson pairing, there is always debate about which team owns the best backcourt duo. Is it Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan? What about Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Portland?

Scratch all of that. Besides the “Splash Brothers” in the Bay, my money is on the Wizards’ John Wall and Bradley Beal.

The guards simply get better each season, with 2016-17 being their best yet. Wall and Beal combined to average 46.2 points (23.1 apiece), 13.8 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals.

They are simply electric. And if matchups shake out as planned, veterans Jerryd Bayless and JJ Redick could be in for a long night.

• If anyone is looking forward to tipping off a new season, it has to be Brett Brown. The Sixers' head coach has endured one of the most extensive rebuilds in professional sports history and the anguish that goes along with such a plan.

Despite a 75-253 record over his first four seasons, Brown was able to not only keep the Sixers together but also still get them to compete to their best ability on a nightly basis.

And while that is certainly to be commended, things have flipped in a hurry for the head man. Brown’s objective now is to win and a fast start would go a long way toward proving he is really the man to transition the Sixers to the next phase of their rebuild. However, with 16 of the team’s first 21 games against opponents that reached the playoffs last season, it will be far from easy.

• The Sixers took two of the three matchups against the Wizards last season to win the season series. Jahlil Okafor actually led the way with an average of 18.7 points against the Wiz.