Top draft prospects make cases for how they'd fit with Sixers

Top draft prospects make cases for how they'd fit with Sixers

The Sixers got to know numerous prospects last week at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Guards, wings and big men alike met with the Sixers as the team assesses potential fits with its bevy of picks, which could include two first- and four second-rounders. 

Here's how those players see themselves fitting with the Sixers and their impressions from interviewing with the team:

De'Aaron Fox, guard, Kentucky
The Sixers asked the projected top-10 pick how he would play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Fox, a point guard, would be comfortable playing off the ball with Simmons and taking advantage of shot opportunities created by Embiid.

"I feel like I'm shooting it a lot better," Fox said. "Once I'm getting back to how I shot it in high school, I feel like I could really fit with Ben. He's fast. I feel like the position he plays, not many people can grab a rebound and push it with the speed and vision that he has."

Fox said of Embiid, "Playing with any good big, it's a positive. It kind of takes the pressure off of you. You throw it in there and they're going to double-team and do whatever they can to stop him. It's going to get me open looks, and I just have to show that I can knock them down."

Justin Jackson, forward, North Carolina
The 6-foot-8 forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan sees himself spreading the floor and being a versatile defender in the NBA.

"It was a great meeting," Jackson said. "A lot of times for these meetings, they call it speed dating. ... I'm having to kind of switch gears from watching as a fan to watching as somebody who might be playing in it one day. I think overall, for any team, it's kind of that whole spacing, being able to shoot, giving them a longer wing that can defend one or two positions."

Ivan Rabb, forward, California 
At 20 years old, Rabb related to the youth of the Sixers. He viewed them as a team he would like to grow with as they develop their roster.

"I love what they’re doing. They kept talking about they feel like they’re a piece or two from turning the corner," Rabb said. "They’re playing a lot of young, talented guys. As a young guy coming in, you want a shot to play. I think they’re doing a good job of trying to find out their culture and who they are."

Justin Patton, center, Creighton
The Sixers are overloaded with size in the frontcourt. The 6-foot-11 Patton could envision himself playing alongside other bigs and would welcome advice from more experienced teammates, which the Sixers are looking to add this offseason.

"The only way you stay on the court in the NBA late in the game is playing defense," Patton said. "I think I complement [bigs] well with passing in general. I’ve got a good IQ for the game. I know the game really well. I’ve been studying it. It depends on who my veteran is on the team. I will continue to soak everything in."

P.J. Dozier, guard, South Carolina
The athletic shooting guard liked the vibe of his interview with the Sixers and believes he could add to their backcourt.

"They're really cool people, really down-to-earth," Dozier said. "Their record doesn't really reflect how good their team is. They battled some injuries. It was good seeing Embiid get back out there, and of course everybody's waiting for Ben. They have a lot of talent. It's just in due time, they'll come around. ... I definitely see myself in their system. They have a great team. Their guard play is really good, but I definitely feel like I can come in and definitely provide for them as well."

Sixers rearrange schedule because of Eagles fever

Sixers rearrange schedule because of Eagles fever

The Sixers coordinated their flight to Memphis with an important schedule in mind: get there in time Sunday to watch the Eagles' NFC Championship Game.

Once there, they have arranged a room with food to catch the 6:40 p.m. showdown as a team the night before they face the Grizzlies.

“We’re going to enjoy this with the city of Philadelphia,” Brett Brown said. “Stuff like this doesn’t come around very often. So on behalf of our team, we say, like the rest of the city: Go Eagles.”

The Sixers and Eagles have been showing their support for each other all season by attending games. Joel Embiid, in particular, has been a familiar face at Lincoln Financial Field, including this memorable reaction to Jake Elliott’s field goal in September.

Embiid noted the momentum of both the Eagles and Sixers this season and what it means for Philadelphia.

“Every time I go to an Eagles game, they always win,” Embiid said. “I’m going to be pulling for them. I want to say good luck. It would be good for the city … Hopefully, they win and on to the Super Bowl.”

Justin Anderson’s support of the Eagles goes beyond playing in the same city. His friendships with Torrey Smith, Rodney McLeod and Chris Long began before the NBA (see story).

“I talked to them and they were really excited,” Anderson said. “They think they’ve got a really good chance. It’d be huge for the city. Going to the Super Bowl, it’d be good. I’m excited, I’m excited. I hope they pull this one out.”

The Sixers will watch the Eagles fight through the postseason as they hope to be doing in April too. They ultimately have the same goal and have an appreciation for how far the Eagles have come already.

“I hope they win it all,” Ben Simmons said. “I’m an Eagles fan now.” 

Rockets beat Warriors in battle of West's best

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Rockets beat Warriors in battle of West's best

HOUSTON — Chris Paul scored 33 points and 11 rebounds, James Harden had 22 points and the Houston Rockets held off the Golden State Warriors 116-108 on Saturday night to snap their 14-game road winning streak.

Harden stepped back from Stephen Curry for a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to make it 114-108 with 1:10 left. Harden then blocked Curry's 3-point attempt after a timeout, and Paul made two free throws with 28 seconds left.

Golden State lost away from home for the first time since Nov. 22. The Warriors had won seven straight in Houston.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 26 points, Draymond Green had 21 and Curry added 19 on a night he went 5 of 15 on 3-point attempts.

The Warriors were wrapping up a five-game road trip and had won the first four games to tie a franchise record for consecutive road wins. But they struggled from the outset Saturday and trailed by double digits for most of the first half (see full recap).

Olynyk's free throw gives Heat win over Hornets
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kelly Olynyk scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, including a free throw with 0.2 seconds left, to help the Miami Heat erase a five-point deficit in the final 34 seconds and stun the Charlotte Hornets 106-105 on Saturday night.

Wayne Ellington had 26 points on six 3-pointers, Joe Johnson had 22 points and Olynyk was brilliant down the stretch.

Nic Batum scored a season-high 26 points and Kemba Walker had 22 for Charlotte, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Charlotte led 105-100 when Johnson got free for a dunk. The Hornets inbounded the ball to Batum, but Josh Richardson ripped it from his hands and passed to Johnson, who knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing to tie (see full recap).

Thunder score 148 points, keep Lebron short of 30,000 for career
CLEVELAND — LeBron James came up just short of 30,000 points.

Oklahoma City nearly got there, too.

Unable to stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers were embarrassed 148-124 on Saturday by the Thunder, who not only rolled to their fourth straight win but kept James shy of a historic milestone.

George scored 36 points, Westbrook had 23 and 20 assists and Anthony dropped a season-high 29 points as the Thunder tied the record for the most points given up by a Cleveland team in a regulation game. Philadelphia scored 148 on the Cavs back in 1972.

"I've never in my basketball life gave up 148 points, not even probably playing video games," James said. "They got everything that they wanted. Inside, outside, they had it moving." (see full recap).

Pelicans' stars all contribute in win over Grizzlies
NEW ORLEANS — Jrue Holiday scored 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, DeMarcus Cousins had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-104 on Saturday night.

Anthony Davis had 21 points and 12 rebounds but did not score his first points of the second half until he dunked with 1:15 to go in the game, giving the Pelicans a 108-102 lead.

Darius Miller added 12 points in a reserve role for New Orleans, which never trailed but very nearly blew a 21-point lead.

Trailing by 15 at halftime, Memphis scored the first 13 points of the third quarter, part of a 16-2 run to open the half that trimmed New Orleans' lead to a single point with most of the third quarter remaining (see full recap).