76ers

Sixers see a 'Dennis Rodman' type in Oregon's Jordan Bell

Sixers see a 'Dennis Rodman' type in Oregon's Jordan Bell

CAMDEN, N.J. — The signature game in Jordan Bell's career came this year against Kansas. He was two blocks away from a triple-double in Oregon's Final Four-clinching upset of No. 1 seed Kansas. 

Remember, Joel Embiid went to Kansas.

"I talked some smack to him," Bell, who spent some time with Embiid Tuesday night before a pre-draft workout with the Sixers the next morning, said with a smirk on his face.

As far as the Sixers are concerned, Bell has the talent to back up his smack talk. The junior forward could be available when the Sixers make their second-round selections, of which they have four: 36th, 39th, 46th and 50th. Bell made his case at the Sixers' training complex Wednesday.

"I'm the glue guy on the team, the person who does whatever needs to be done on the floor during that game," he said. "I can change it up from game to game. I can go out for 20, I can have somebody have their season low, 16 rebounds, 20 rebounds, whatever it is I need to do — eight blocks."

Although the 6-foot-9, 225-pound Bell averaged a respectable 10.9 points per game in his final season as a Duck, he is not primarily a scorer. Should the Sixers decide to spend one of their picks on him, he said he's ready to come into Philadelphia and do "the dirty work" — rebound, defend, block shots. 

The Sixers see a similar role. VP of basketball administration/Delaware 87ers GM Brandon Williams said they see "a Dennis Rodman-like player that's got the ability to play across a few positions, mainly defensively."

Bell showed that range in the few minutes of workouts open to the media. In three-on-three play, he covered Indiana's Thomas Bryant, who is an inch or two taller and whose wingspan stretches a massive 7-foot-6. In one sequence, Bryant went for a right hook from the block and Bell elevated to swat it away. The refs called goaltending, but that didn't matter. Just the distance Bell got off the ground was telling.

Those abilities, interestingly, weren't honed entirely on the basketball court — something the Sixers dug up when they interviewed Bell.

"As we learned more about him, one of the fascinating things is that he's a volleyball player, and if you pick up some little nuances, he blocks a lot of shots with two hands," Williams said. "You can almost see the volleyball play, blocking at the net."

The sport has helped Bell develop his timing when attempting to block shots. 

"For a player as, call him, short, given how big you think he is, at 6-8, his spring, his sense of timing," Williams said. "Coaches always want players who can guard pick-and-roll and guys who can switch and I think he's going to give somebody a great asset as a versatile defensive player."

And football, which Bell played for two years at Long Beach Polytechnic High School as a receiver and defensive end, did his development some favors too. The football program there is nationally relevant — DeSean Jackson is a Jackrabbit alumnus. With that crowd of talent, there were no days off.

"So you had to bring that edge every single day in practice," Bell said. "And then try to just carry that over to the basketball team."

Bell brought the work ethic from high school to college. Now it's time to carry it over from college to the pros.

NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

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NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers were right.

The Sixers argued they should have set up at halfcourt, not fullcourt, for a decisive final possession of double overtime in Friday’s game against the Thunder. After a closer look following their triple-overtime loss, the NBA ruled the Sixers were proved correct. 

“After review, it was determined that the 76ers called timeout with 00:01.2 remaining on the game clock, which was prior to Saric's (PHI) dribble. Therefore, they should have been given the opportunity to advance the ball into their own frontcourt for the inbound,” the NBA Officiating’s Last Two Minute Report noted.

The confusion occurred at the end of the second overtime. Dario Saric got a defensive rebound and the Sixers called a timeout before he dribbled the ball. Because of this, the Sixers should have been allowed to set up a final play in the halfcourt, which is exactly what they had practiced and called.

But the referees made a last-second change as the Sixers were setting up. The Sixers were told they had to inbound from fullcourt, which would have been the case if Saric had dribbled before the timeout. The Last Two Minute Report indicated he, in fact, did not. 

“Respect that they are that transparent, but complete disappointment that it can happen,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “You really scratch your head. It’s significant.”

Every play, every basket can make a difference for a team fighting to make the playoffs. The Sixers were confident they could have won the game with the halfcourt play. Instead, they dropped back down to .500 and currently 10 in the Eastern Conference.

“Those things you need to avoid to give yourself every chance to win,” Brown said. “We can point to many other things that were self-inflicted wounds that we’ve got to do better. But when it’s that exposed and that prominent of an environment with 1.2 seconds left, it’s disappointing. But like I say, they’re transparent. I respect the fact they admitted it and we move on.”

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid does not play both games of a back-to-back, but whether he plays in either of the Sixers' next two matchups will have to be determined.

Embiid is not traveling with the Sixers to Chicago for Monday’s game against the suddenly-streaking Bulls, who have won five straight. The big man usually plays at home in these scenarios, and considering he played 49 minutes in Friday’s triple-overtime loss, the decision was expected.

Embiid’s availability for Tuesday at home against the Kings, though, has not been finalized at this point. This is not surprising either being two days ahead of the game. Embiid, who has been dealing with back tightness, did not participate in practice Sunday. The Sixers will evaluate, monitor, and go through treatment with Embiid before making their call.

“Unsure at this stage,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “I do know he’s categorically out tomorrow and we’re going to learn more about him being available when we come back [for] Sacramento, I’d expect in the next 24 hours.”

The Sixers do know they will be without another two players for some time.

Trevor Booker will miss at least the next two games after suffering spraining his left ankle Friday. The newly acquired reserve will be reevaluated in approximately five-to-seven days.

Even though Booker was traded to the Sixers less than two weeks ago, he already made an impact on the second unit. Brown has seen enough over the last four games to know what the team will be missing.

“His toughness,” Brown said. “He’s got a motor. He plays with such a spirit. He’s a man. He’s a pro. He’s been in the league for a while. He gets it. It’s everything that you miss. It’s really everything this team needs.”

Furkan Korkmaz likely will be sidelined even longer. The rookie suffered a Lisfranc injury on his left foot while playing for the Delaware 87ers on Dec. 15 and is out indefinitely. The Sixers recalled Korkmaz from the G League and he is going through evaluation and testing. There is no timetable set for Korkmaz at this point.  

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons described the injury as, “Lisfranc (midfoot) injuries result if bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn. The severity of the injury can vary from simple to complex, involving many joints and bones in the midfoot.”

Korkmaz has been going back and forth between the Sixers and their G League affiliate in Delaware to get playing opportunities as part of his development in his first NBA season.