76ers

Larry Brown: 'Whoever is saying' Ben Simmons is a PG is a 'moron'

Larry Brown: 'Whoever is saying' Ben Simmons is a PG is a 'moron'

Former Sixers coach Larry Brown knows a thing or two about point guards.

After all, he did coach Allen Iverson, who began his career as a point guard before Eric Snow took that spot. 

Speaking of The Answer, the Sixers are hoping Ben Simmons is the solution to their question mark at the point guard position. 

After missing his rookie season with a Jones fracture in his right foot, the Sixers will try the 6-foot-10 Simmons at point guard in 2017-18. 

Brown believes that would be a mistake. 

“He’s not a point guard,” Brown said Monday on 97.5 The Fanatic's Midday Show. “Everybody that’s saying that is ridiculous. 

“I watched that kid at Montverde. He’s a point guard when he gets the ball in the half court. He’s a point guard if he gets the ball off the board because he’s such a willing passer and so good with the ball, but if he’s going to have to back it down and bring the ball up against little guys, it’s going to take away from what he’s capable of doing. Whoever is saying that is a moron.”

That’s not to say Brown doesn’t believe Simmons won’t be a good player. Simmons’ frame would be better utilized elsewhere, Brown says.

“He’s a point guard in transition,” Brown said. “He’s a point guard when he gets the ball off the board. But he’s not a point guard running ball screens. He’s not a point guard bringing the ball up. It’s not fair to him. He’s a great passer. He’s a willing passer. 

“It’s never fair to compare players, but he’s a little like Magic in terms of his size and his ability to pass the ball, but I think he can play on any team and be successful. Look at the big kid in Milwaukee — the Greek Freak (Giannis Antetokounmpo) — look at Paul George to an extent, (Kevin) Durant to an extent. That’s more like Ben and the way he plays. It’s not like a true point guard bringing the ball up like Kyrie Irving or Chris Paul or somebody like that.”

So if not Simmons at the point, then who?

How about Lonzo Ball? 

The Lakers are reportedly souring on selecting Ball No. 2 overall in part because of his outspoken and prying father, LaVar. But Brown isn’t worried about the extra baggage.

“That surprises me. … The kid’s a great player and a great kid,” Brown said. “I think that would be a shame (if someone didn’t pick him because of LaVar). If you read all the comments from the UCLA people and the players and Coach (Steve) Alford — they all had great things to say about the kid, that his father wasn’t an issue at all. So I would hope that based on his talent he gets picked where he should.”

The Sixers are "certainly" hoping to meet with Ball before the draft, and if the Lakers were to pass on Ball, it would be hard for the Sixers to pass on his talent (see The Case For Drafting Ball).

Our NBA All-Star challenge — describe Embiid in one word

Our NBA All-Star challenge — describe Embiid in one word

LOS ANGELES —  From trash talking on the court to expressing himself on social media, Joel Embiid is a player of many (many) words. So if his fellow All-Stars had to describe him in just one, what would it be? 

Draymond Green: "'Funny.' He's hilarious. The stuff he says, he goes on TV talking about (Kevin Durant's) burner account, he's talking how he's a savage. His Instagram locations, pretty funny. He's a good guy." 

Andre Drummond: "I’d probably say 'charismatic,' 'funny,' 'savage.' He don’t care, he just does what he wants to.”

Paul George: “Personality,' in all caps."

(Why all caps?)

“Because he’s a big dude.”

John Wall: "He's just 'himself.' He's very confident."

Anthony Davis: “'Savage.' Cool dude, he lives by his own rules. He’s just enjoying life and having fun.”

Jimmy Butler: "'Remarkable' in the fact that his game on the court is insane. Then the way he's always saying something to somebody on social media is really 'remarkable.'"

Bradley Beal: “'Wild.' He has no filter, he doesn’t care. That’s my boy, but he just has no remorse, doesn’t care."

LaMarcus Aldridge: “'Entertaining,' because he’s always on TV expressing how he feels. So, entertaining.”

New NBA ASG great, but what in the world was before it?

usa-kevin-hart-joel-embiid-sixers.jpg
USA Today Images

New NBA ASG great, but what in the world was before it?

This week’s serving of Rob Rants focuses on the dichotomy of the 2018 NBA All-star Game and the show that comes with it. On the court, the game was a highly entertaining, competitive, tightly fought contest that incorporated a new concept that's a winner. The league also attempted something new prior to the game. That idea did not quite work as well. 

All-Star Games 
I generally am not a fan of All-Star Games. I haven’t watched the Pro Bowl in years. Same goes for the NHL All-Star Game. I find the MLB's midsummer classic to be the most watchable of the four. Plus, they have a captive audience as there are no other options that time of year. In recent years, I’ve taken more to the NBA three-point contest and skills competition rather than the dunk contest or the game itself. Full disclosure: I watched the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night for a few reasons. I wanted to see Joel Embiid’s first All-Star Game. I was curious about the new draft format of player selection. And my 16-year-old son who I was watching it with is a die-hard Sixers and NBA fan. So I watched all the way through. What I found were two polar-opposite productions. 

Premise
Along with ESPN’s College Gameday. I find TNT's Inside the NBA to be as good as it gets in terms of pregame shows. Ernie, Charles, Kenny, Shaq and crew were excellent as always. It’s what happened after they signed off that was a sight to be hold. 

Pregame show?
Philadelphia’s own Kevin Hart performed some type of musical/broadway play/comedy/is this really happening? Somehow Rob Riggle, the least funny man in the world, was involved. As were Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and Ludacris. And there were cheerleaders and wild west folk. There may have been others but at that point, I began slipping into some kind of hypnotic coma. It went on interminably long. It was the kind of thing that, if Hart was not so popular and talented, can kill a career. It was that bad. But I strangely could not pull myself away. It was car crash, rubber-necking kind of bad. 

That mercifully ended and you thought it was game time. But we still had the anthems. First, the Canadian anthem, which was followed by the Star Spangled Banner. Fergie decided that she would turn Francis Scott Key’s composition into a steamy, sultry, lounge act from back in the day. To put it kindly, she missed the mark. Charles Barkley said at halftime that he needed a cigarette after her performance. It wasn’t quite Carl Lewis or Roseanne Barr-level of terrible, but it just capped a half hour-plus of strangeness that anyone who watched was never getting back. All of this just reaffirmed why I don’t generally indulge in these exhibitions. But then something funny happened. 

The game
The NBA smartly changed formats for All-Star selection this year. The league went playground style, having two captains choose their teams. LeBron James and Steph Curry were the two captains in charge of selecting from the voted-in All-Stars. The game, unlike recent years, had a different kind of competitive feel from the jump. Yes, it had the usual array of dunks and incredible passes, which the game should have. But there was defense played and fouls taken. Strategy was employed. To the players and NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s credit, the changes were a home run. The game came down to the last possession with Team Steph having a chance to tie with a three. Team LeBron played great defense and Curry could not get a shot off, giving Team LeBron the 148-145 victory. The game had the best of both worlds — incredible athletes showing off their skills and a level of care and compete not seen in a long time. And Embiid had an excellent All-Star debut with 19 points, eight boards and a great sequence where he nailed a rainbow three-pointer and then swatted Russell Westbrook at the other end of the floor.

Lesson here: tune in at tip-off. And no more Rob Riggle. Ever.