76ers

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.”

Markelle Fultz likely to start season on bench for Sixers

Markelle Fultz likely to start season on bench for Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown likely will bring Markelle Fultz in off the bench to start the season. 

The No. 1 pick missed the majority of the preseason because of soreness in his right knee and right shoulder. Fultz played a total of 47 minutes over just two games. He practiced Sunday.

When asked if Fultz will start, Brown said “I don’t believe so” and noted the lack of in-game experience. The Sixers face the Wizards’ dangerous backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal in the regular season opener Wednesday. 

“He hasn’t played much basketball in preseason,” Brown said Sunday. “He’s been out for a while. He hasn’t been with our group. I think the decision like, do you put him into the fire right away and have him play against starting NBA defensive players, especially with the little foundation that he has? I don’t think that’s smart.”

Fultz, last season’s Pac-12 leading scorer, struggled offensively in the preseason games in which he did play. He shot 2 for 13 from the field (0 for 3 from three) and scored four points in the opener against the Grizzlies. Facing the Celtics, he scored 12 points off of 5 for 11 shooting from the field (no three-point attempts).

“At the end of the day, I want to do whatever I’ve got to do to help my team win,” Fultz said. “So if that’s coming off the bench, I’m fine with that. Just contribute any ways I can.”

All the while, the change in his shot form has been in the spotlight. He missed the second preseason game against the Celtics because of shoulder soreness. He previously described the injury as ongoing and did not point to a specific moment of injury (see story). Fultz was sidelined for the final two preseason games with right knee soreness.

“My shoulder is bothering me, so that’s the reason my shot’s like that,” Fultz said. “At the end of the day, I’m not going use that as an excuse, like I said before. But my shoulder is the main reason why my shot’s doing that.”

The Sixers traded up to draft Fultz first overall largely because of his ability to complement Ben Simmons off the ball. The pair hasn’t played together much since then, though. Jerryd Bayless started four of the five preseason games at shooting guard alongside Simmons.

“You have a plan in your head. It’s deviated from the summer, lots of it because of his injuries and lack of availability,” Brown said. “But we’ll all sort of see how I use him and how he uses himself. It will all be driven out of, how do we develop him and still win games?”

Fultz’s role could change throughout the season. The Sixers will work through his minutes, guard pairings and ball-handling responsibilities. These considerations will be based on Fultz’s health, matchups and the availability of his teammates, all the while trying to be successful. 

“The balance of development and winning is a slippery slope because he hasn’t played basketball and he’s really had an erratic preseason,” Brown said. “How we are fair in delivering him to an NBA court and situations that I put him in and volume of minutes he gets with the notion he’s the first player chosen, we understand the microscope, the pedestal that he is on. But the reality with all those other things that I just said are also my responsibility to figure it all out. Ultimately, you’ve got play and develop him and take some hits so that he can grow with us.”

Brett Brown says Joel Embiid on track to practice Monday, play Wednesday

Brett Brown says Joel Embiid on track to practice Monday, play Wednesday

CAMDEN, N.J. — There was injury news that prompted a gasp from Sixers fans followed by a projection by Brett Brown that caused a sense of relief.

Joel Embiid did not participate in Sunday's practice because of a left ankle sprain and continuing left knee rehabilitation.

Brown does, however, expect Embiid will practice Monday and be available for the regular season opener Wednesday.

Embiid went through individualized training Sunday. Following the conclusion of practice, he worked on his shot — barefoot.

Embiid took spills during the preseason, including during Friday’s finale against the Heat. While he has been working on his landings, Embiid still plays physical basketball. He thrives on drawing contact, as evidenced by the 18 free throws he attempted in his debut last Wednesday.

“I'm going to live at the foul line," Embiid said after his debut last week.

Embiid scored 22 points and recorded seven rebounds against the Nets followed by five points and seven boards against the Heat. He underwent season-ending left knee surgery in March and has not played in a regular-season game since Jan. 27.