Top Sixers Quotes: For JJ Redick, finally a 'sports town'

Top Sixers Quotes: For JJ Redick, finally a 'sports town'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and all 20 players on the team's training camp roster spoke at the organization's training complex during media day.

Here are some of the best quotes from Colangelo and each player from Monday's session:

JJ Redick, who has played in Orlando, Milwaukee and Los Angeles, finally gets to play in a sports town.
“I’m going to offend some people in L.A. and Orlando, but I don’t know that I’ve played for a sports town," Redick said. "I’ve never played in a sports town. There are sports towns, right? New York is a sports town, Boston is a sports town, Chicago is a sports town. Those are sports towns. Philly’s a sports town. For me, I’m excited about that.”

Colangelo says Sixers are ready to take the next step.
“We have added a number of pieces, some familiar faces, some unfamiliar. But we feel that all in all, we’re going in with a good blend of that young core that we talk about. We talk about the veteran presence and inclusion with the mix, and feel that things are moving in the right direction with us and put us in a good position to compete and take another step forward as an organization.”

Philly has welcomed Markelle Fultz.
“I love it," Fultz said. "Just walking around, just having the fans here. Just walking around hearing, ‘Trust the process.’ This team is just so young, so open. We’ve got some good vets here. Just coming here, I feel welcomed. It almost feels like I’m almost going back to college, just being welcomed. Just having everyone being around all the time. I love it. I don’t regret anything that happened. I’m excited.”

Ben Simmons doesn't care about a rookie survey.
“I don’t really worry about the guys coming in. I’m worried about the guys at the top. They’ll remember.”

Robert Covington is patient with his contract situation.
“We’ve definitely been in talks and everything. Both sides are very open to what is going on. It’s just a matter of the right move that’s to be made," Covington said. "Bryan is playing chess right now with the pieces that he’s adding. Now it’s just making sure that everything stays the way that he pictures.”

James Michael McAdoo wants to share some wisdom.
“I’m not going to sit here and act like I know everything. Obviously, I didn’t play a ton when I was there. But just being around those guys for three years and being able to pick their brains and just having such great teammates, guys that have been around the league so long and played at such a high level, I definitely look forward to getting into camp tomorrow and being able to share some of that wisdom and just experience with these guys. That’s where we want to be and tomorrow when we show up and these past couple months, that’s what we’ve been working to be.”

Joel Embiid wants to play ... like a guard?
“It’s just about being competitive. I love to win. I’ll do anything to win. I’ll put my body on the line to win. I’m a big man and I’ve never viewed myself as a big man. When I see guards doing certain things, I want to do that too because I’m a human being and it doesn’t matter that I’m seven feet. I want to do that too.

"I feel like people haven’t really seen what I can do and it’s also because I’ve only played 31 games. I think as long as I stay healthy, I have a lot to improve on and a lot of potential. I love it. I love when people criticize me. I love when you guys say whatever you have to say because that makes me go to the gym and work on me to improve myself.”

Jerryd Bayless knew he had to get his wrist repaired when ...
“Yeah, there was a moment. I think it was against the Bulls. I was dribbling and then I tried to go between my legs and the ball hit the wrist. I couldn’t control it. It was like a wet noodle almost. That’s when I knew I had to get it fixed. I wasn’t going to be able to play the rest of the season doing that.”

Amir Johnson’s opening statement to the media:
"My name is Amir Johnson. I'm new to the team. I'm happy to be here. Don't make it awkward."

Emeka Okafor, the 2nd overall pick in the 2004 draft, turns 35 on Thursday and has to prove he can still play.
“The hardest part actually has been the perception. In terms of my conditioning and my ability, especially after going down and playing with various teams, there’s no doubt in my mind I can play in this league and still contribute. I can contribute a lot both on and off the court. I understand the perception of my age and the fact that I’ve been away from the game for so long.

"That being said, being back in this environment, just being back in the NBA umbrella, with the guys and team and with you guys, talking to the press, just feels so good. It just feels like putting on a suit that’s always been the right fit, favorite pair of jeans, however you want to put it. It just feels very, very natural. I’m very excited to be here. I’m very excited for the process and whatever’s coming.”

Richaun Holmes is eager to battle for playing time.
“It’s fun, man. It’s competitive. This is competing every day. It’s fun, it’s kind of what I live for. I’ve never had any problems with it. I love playing against these guys, love getting better in practice against these guys. I just look for everything as an opportunity.”

Nik Stauskas still talks with John Beilein, his coach at Michigan.
“I stay in touch with Coach Beilein throughout the year. I wouldn’t say we talk regularly, but every now and then we stay in touch. His whole thing is just he always taught me to continue believing in myself, continue working. He saw me for two years in college, so he knows what I’m capable of. He understands how bad I want to be a great player in this league, so he just continues to encourage me. It’s great to have a powerful basketball mind like that on your side."

Justin Anderson wasn't concerned with Nerlens Noel’s contract negotiations after the trade.
“My parents taught me to never worry about another man’s money, never worry about another man’s career. The best to him, but the reality of it is Bryan made a move to get me here. I’m very happy to be here. I text him before the season started not too long ago and said I won’t let you down. I’m going to make sure I handle everything that I need to handle to make sure that the season is successful not just for me but for my team.”

Jacob Pullen is ready to trust the process too.
“I was here for a couple weeks before signing and they’re ready to work. There are a lot of guys here that are ready to take the next step and show that they’re capable of winning games. They’ve been trusting the process and these guys believe. It’s a great group of guys here and I’m just ready to help.”

T.J. McConnell is happy to honeymoon ... in Camden? 
“I went home for about a month after the season was over to Pittsburgh and then I came back out here and I’ve been working out since May. Then I went back home to plan for the wedding a bit and then got married on Sept. 9. What’s better than a honeymoon in Camden, New Jersey?”

If Kris Humphries, a 13-year veteran, could take a time machine ...
“Someone asked me earlier today, what would you tell your rookie self? I said to shoot threes so I could get a jump-start on that. I started shooting threes at like age 30. People were kind of like, ‘You can’t do it that late. You are who you are.’ I kind of took that as a challenge and expanded my game.

"Being in Boston and then Atlanta, kind of the system and playing out on the floor and making decisions, that open-style basketball, which is a lot of what they’re doing here. It’s pretty cool to kind of build on what I’ve been doing and also be that guy that continues to work hard and help the young guys. I’ve always been just a hard worker, earn-it type guy in my career. Just continue to do that.”

Furkan Korkmaz needs to hit the gym and play better D.
“My first goal was to come here and work individually to put on some pounds, to get some kilos. Then to work on my weaknesses. I know everyone is talking about my defense now, but I think I will be a great defender.”

How James Blackmon Jr. earn a roster spot?
“I feel like my scoring, not just shooting the ball, but my scoring and making plays offensively is definitely what got me here. I just feel like bringing that same effort and intensity on defense is what’s going to make me stay.”

Dario Saric needs some sleep.
“I’m feeling a little bit tired. It’s not too much. I didn’t expect to finish the national team like that. That’s because I was feeling a little bit different than usual. My physical things, I’m feeling a little bit tired. I don’t have any problems, any health problems. I think before the season starts I’ll be mentally ready, physically ready and ready to play every game and give 100 percent.”

No more McDonald's for a slimmed down Jahlil Okafor.
“It wasn’t easy. The first drastic change I made was my diet. I became a vegan. I didn’t jump full vegan. I gradually made my way to that. First I took out dairy. I took out steak and chicken and fish and then some of my favorites like cheese. All the other BS I was putting in my body I cut out.

"The reason for doing that was so that I could become healthy. I read somewhere that dairy wasn’t inflammatory and my knee was always swelling up last season. I had no idea about that, so once I found that out, I cut out dairy. Now I’m a full-on vegan and I feel great. I’m gonna stick with it.”

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot's knee is finally feeling better.
“I think as the season went along last year it got a little bit worse and worse every game and every week. I just kind of felt it during summer league a little bit. Afterward, I stopped playing for a little while. Then when I got back to the national team, I did an MRI and it showed something on my tendon. Directly after, I came back here. The week after, I got a PRP injection. Since that time, I’ve just kept going and my knee has been feeling way better right now. I’ll be ready. I can’t say when like an exact date but I think it’ll be little time.”

And finally ... a budding bromance between Redick and Embiid?
“In terms of the dynamic of the two of us, I think we can balance each other out," Redick said. "I can provide things for him and he provides things for me. I think we complement each other really well. An example, of course, would be spacing. But I also think because of my cutting and my off-ball movement, his passing, his screening, his rolling, my pocket passes, those are all things that sort of complement each other.

"Defensively, he gives me a lot of confidence to guard a guy when I have somebody like Joel similar to how I’ve had at different times in my career with DeAndre (Jordan) and Dwight (Howard) protecting the rim. Those are all things that I think are sort of complements to each other that we’re going to work really well together.

I'm flattered that you guys think ... I’m not serious. It’s hour four of media day, give me a break here. I think there’s a budding bromance between Joel and I, I really do. I’m looking forward to sort of just letting it develop.”

Who needs Kawhi? Aldridge drops 45 in Spurs' OT win

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Who needs Kawhi? Aldridge drops 45 in Spurs' OT win

SAN ANTONIO -- LaMarcus Aldridge had a career-high 45 points, helping San Antonio overcome Donovan Mitchell's 35-point performance for Utah in the Spurs' 124-120 overtime victory over the Jazz on Friday night.

The Spurs won their sixth straight and beat the Jazz for the first time in four meetings this season.

Utah's 12-game road winning streak came to an end, but only after Mitchell had 14 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to force overtime.

San Antonio remained sixth in the Western Conference with the same record as fifth-place New Orleans, a half-game behind Oklahoma City for fourth. Utah remained eighth in the West.

After free throws by Spurs guards Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills and a dunk by Jazz center Rudy Gobert put San Antonio up 114-111, Mitchell drained his third 3-pointer of the fourth with 3.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Mills, who finished with 23 points, had six points in overtime as the Spurs capped an undefeated six-game homestand.

Pacers use late run to edge Clippers
INDIANAPOLIS -- Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points and the Indiana Pacers used a late 9-0 run to hold on for a 109-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, putting them on the precipice of clinching a playoff spot.

The Pacers won for only the second time in five games but can clinch a playoff berth with one more win or a Detroit loss.

Los Angeles' fading playoff aspirations were dealt another blow. The Clippers are now three games behind Utah for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Utah was playing later Friday.

Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 27 points and DeAndre Jordan finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Clippers lost for the fifth time in six games (see full recap).

Jokic, Murray lift Nuggets over Wizards
WASHINGTON -- Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray each scored 25 points to keep the Denver Nuggets' playoff hopes alive by beating the Washington Wizards 108-100 on Friday night.

The one-two punch of Jokic and Murray plus outside shooting from Will Barton allowed the Nuggets to withstand a third-quarter charge from the Wizards and maintain their sights on one of the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Denver went into the night two games back of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz and shot 50 percent from 3-point territory to stay very much in the race with nine games remaining.

Bradley Beal led Washington with 24 points as it failed to gain ground in a competitive East where five teams are separated in the standings by four games (see full recap).

Brett Brown's top competition for Coach of the Year

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Brett Brown's top competition for Coach of the Year

The Coach of the Year award in every sport typically comes down to: 

1. Which team overachieved the most?

2. Which team increased its win total the most?

3. Which team that fits both descriptions has a media-friendly coach?

Brett Brown is a deserving candidate this season. Not saying he'll win, or even that he stands out as the most deserving, but he's more than just "in the conversation."

Before getting to the other candidates and their likelihood of winning, let's acknowledge why Brown deserves serious consideration. 

We all knew the Sixers would be better this season. A second year of Joel Embiid and the first of Embiid and Ben Simmons. Finally, a good veteran shooter in JJ Redick.

But did you expect the Sixers to up their win total by 20 games? Currently, that's what they're on pace to do.

Did you expect them to pick up wins over the Rockets, Spurs, Celtics, Raptors, Cavs and Spurs again? Yeah, the Sixers have laid some eggs this season, but they have just as many high-quality wins.

Factor in the continued development of players like Dario Saric and T.J. McConnell and it should be clear that Brown has gotten a whole lot out of this team.

Now, on to the other candidates. The way I see it, there are six in addition to Brown: 

• Dwane Casey (Raptors)
• Nate McMillan (Pacers)
• Brad Stevens (Celtics)
• Mike D'Antoni (Rockets)
• Quin Snyder (Jazz)
• Doc Rivers (Clippers)

Just being realistic here, I think Casey wins it. The Raptors will be the 1-seed in the East and may even end up with the NBA's second-best record given the Warriors' injury report.

It goes beyond that, though. Toronto revamped its system to place less stress on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. The result has been the emergence of the NBA's best bench. DeRozan is also now shooting threes, a big benefit to the Raps' spacing.

Lastly, Casey is a media darling. He's done the podcast circuit this season, and his long tenure as a personable NBA assistant will help him with voters.

Nate McMillan
McMillan's Pacers have overachieved, but that has so much more to do with Victor Oladipo than anything else. That's not meant to discredit McMillan, but the gap between expectations and reality for Oladipo is the reason the Pacers have surprised. Unless the Pacers finish several games ahead of the Sixers, I can't see McMillan finishing ahead of Brown.

Brad Stevens
The Celtics have faded of late, mostly because of mounting injuries to their backcourt. Stevens deserves a ton of credit for keeping this team 25-plus games over .500 with so many young pieces, but he won't finish ahead of Casey.

Doc Rivers
Rivers' case is dependent on whether or not the Clippers make the playoffs. The Clips, based on talent alone, have no business being 38-33 in a loaded West. They just play extremely hard and have been maybe the hungriest NBA team this season — so many contributions from guys on two-way contracts.

But LA is now 2½ games out of the 8-seed, so we can almost close the book on Rivers for COY.

Mike D'Antoni
The Rockets have been the best team this season and D'Antoni is a huge reason why. The Chris Paul addition is a bigger reason why, but the Rockets are where they are because of how Paul has been integrated into D'Antoni's system, and because Houston is finally focused on defense. D'Antoni should finish in the top three of the Coach of the Year voting, but it's hard to win when you add a veteran superstar in the offseason.

Predicted order of finish: Casey, Brown, Snyder, D'Antoni, Stevens, McMillan, Rivers