Potential Sixers target Malik Monk highly praised by former teammate De'Aaron Fox

Potential Sixers target Malik Monk highly praised by former teammate De'Aaron Fox

CHICAGO -- De’Aaron Fox isn’t the only Kentucky Wildcat who could be on the Sixers’ radar in the first round.

Shooting guard Malik Monk is also a projected high lottery pick. Monk did not attend the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this week. Fox did, though, and spoke of his former teammate’s NBA potential.

“First, don’t let him get hot,” Fox said. “If he gets hot, it’s over. [He’s] extremely athletic.”

Finding shooters is on the Sixers’ to-do list this summer. They ranked 27th overall in field goal shooting (44.2 percent) and tied with the Bulls for 24th in three-point shooting (34.0 percent). Two guards Nik Stauskas and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are under contract for next season. Gerald Henderson’s deal is non-guaranteed. 

Monk averaged 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his lone season at Kentucky. He shot 45.0 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from long range. Monk scored over 20 points in a half six times last season and set the mark for most field goals made by a freshman (251) in Wildcats’ history. 

Monk was named SEC Freshman of the Year, AP Newcomer of the Year and the winner of the Jerry West Award for the nation’s top shooting guard, among numerous other accolades. 

One of the critiques against Monk is his height. Last season, he measured in at 6-foot-3 with a wingspan of 6-3-and-a-half. Fox believes Monk will play beyond his size in the NBA. 

“One guy I always use is (Celtics guard) Avery Bradley,” Fox said. “He locks down twos. I don’t think Malik will have a problem with playing the two or playing off ball. He can play on ball, but he’s probably best off the ball.”

The Sixers will learn where they are drafting in the first round at the lottery Tuesday. They have a 14.7 percent chance to land the No. 1 pick, between their own pick (11.9 percent) and rights to swap with the Kings (2.8 percent). The Sixers also will receive the Lakers’ pick if it falls out of the top three.

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

AP Images

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

NEW YORK — The NBA has fined Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for responding to a fan with inappropriate language.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA' executive vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine Sunday.

Irving spoke to a fan at halftime of Boston's 102-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (see story). 

The NBA fined Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for language he used toward a fan late in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday night in the season opener.

Without Joel Embiid in Toronto, Sixers 'jumped' in telling loss to Raptors

Without Joel Embiid in Toronto, Sixers 'jumped' in telling loss to Raptors


TORONTO — Ben Simmons' double-double feat aside, the Sixers have had little to enjoy about the start to the season.

They were outclassed Saturday night, 128-94, by the Toronto Raptors and have lost their first three games (see observations).

As has been their custom for back-to-back games, center Joel Embiid did not play Saturday after playing Friday in the loss to the Boston Celtics to protect his left knee.

Head coach Brett Brown said he did not expect things to go this way.

“I didn’t,” he said. “I knew the first three games were going to be difficult. I knew coming into this building after a back-to-back was going to be difficult, but you are certainly not expecting it to be that margin of a deficit. I give Toronto credit.

“We have a lot of work to do; we look forward to getting Joel (Embiid) back in this and continuing to learn how to play the group.”

After trailing by as many as 17 points in the first quarter, the Sixers whittled the lead to eight when Jerryd Bayless hit a couple of free throws with 2:22 left in the first half.

Toronto led 62-49 at the half and blitzed the Sixers to open the third quarter with Serge Ibaka scoring eight of their first 10 points of the second half. With 3:12 left in the third, the Raptors led by 29.

“They jumped us, especially at the start of the third, certainly portions of the first period but especially the start of the third and you’re just playing catch up pretty much for the rest of the game after that first almost minute, minute and a half,” Brown said.

“You’re just trying to find some type of order and purpose to end the game with that in mind.”

It was a subdued atmosphere in the dressing room after the game.

The edge surely was removed from another double-double by Simmons.

He had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Simmons joins Oscar Robertson as the only NBA players to average 10-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and five-plus assists in their first three career games.

“It looks great, but I’d rather have a win,” he said. “I’d rather we had three wins than three double-doubles.”

Simmons said he is looking forward to Embiid returning to the lineup Monday against the Detroit Pistons.

He said he could feel the game slipping away Saturday.

“Toward the third, coming out we just didn’t click, didn’t have it together,” Simmons said. “It’s tough without Joel (Embiid), obviously there’s chemistry and then you switch it up, so that comes into it, but we need to learn to play without him, with those back-to-backs.

“We have to stay together as a team, talk it out, get through it, communicate on the court and hold each other accountable. … We have to sit down and look at what we did wrong, that’s with every game, you have to fix your mistakes and come out ready for the next one. It’s a long season.”

It could seem even longer if there aren't signs of improvement.

“Coach Brown has talked since Day 1 of camp about our goal; to build every day, to take something positive every day and I think for tonight, we were unable to do that,” guard J.J. Redick said. “I was just saying if it’s a six-minute stretch where we are doing things well, cutting into their lead, that’s something to build on. I don’t think we did that before but that’s what I was trying to get across.

“I’m a patient person; if we were 0-45 then I’ll start to panic. There are 82 games, we have a very tough schedule to start, we’re a young team, and that’s not an excuse but the reality is the team we played tonight and the team we played in D.C. Wednesday night, they’ve been together a long time and know how to play together. We have to figure out a way to jell quicker and we have to understand and close our margin for error.”