76ers

Villanova's Kris Jenkins among group for Sixers' next pre-draft workout

Villanova's Kris Jenkins among group for Sixers' next pre-draft workout

The man who made the shot will get his shot to impress the Sixers.

Kris Jenkins, who nailed the buzzer-beating three-pointer to win Villanova's 2016 national championship, will be among a group of five players working out for the Sixers on Tuesday as the team continues its preparation ahead of Thursday's NBA draft.

Joining Jenkins will be Arizona guard Kadeem Allen, international center Youssoupha Fall, Florida State big man Michael Ojo and Pittsburgh forward Michael Young.

Last season, Jenkins, a 6-foot-6 forward, averaged 13.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a senior to help Villanova go 32-4. The Wildcats, though, were upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by 8-seeded Wisconsin while Jenkins struggled with his shot, going 0 for 8 from three-point range in the Big Dance.

However, the Upper Marlboro, Maryland native will forever be remembered for his junior season in which Villanova won the national title over North Carolina on his three-pointer in front of 74,340 fans at NRG Stadium. That season, Jenkins shot 38.6 percent from distance and averaged 13.6 points per game. He connected on 17 three-pointers that NCAA Tournament and 48 percent over the final 15 games of that year.

The Sixers currently hold four draft picks — Nos. 36, 39, 46 and 50 — in the second round. The five players in Tuesday's workout are projected as undrafted/late second-round prospects.

Allen was a junior college transfer and played two seasons at Arizona. As a senior, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 9.8 points per game, while leading the Wildcats with 1.6 steals per game.

Fall is a 7-foot-4 center from Senegal who played last season for Poitiers Basket 86 in France. Ojo, 7-foot-1 and 304 pounds, played just 12.2 minutes per game his senior year at Florida State. Young, a 6-foot-9 forward out Pittsburgh, was second in the ACC with 19.6 points per game last season, while averaging 6.8 rebounds and shooting 34.1 percent from behind the arc.

Robert Covington (back) to return for Sixers' game vs. Thunder

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USA Today Images

Robert Covington (back) to return for Sixers' game vs. Thunder

Robert Covington kept his wish list very simple when asked by Joel Embiid what he wanted for his birthday.

“A ‘W’ tomorrow,” said Covington, who turned 27 on Thursday.

Realistically, the swingman will be happy just getting back on the court. Covington is expected to play after missing the last two games of the Sixers’ road trip following a scary back injury he suffered during last Saturday’s 105-98 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With 1:08 remaining, Covington attempted to save a ball near the sideline before he tumbled out of bounds and over the courtside seats near the Cavaliers’ bench. He kept falling off the four- to five-inch dropoff from the Quicken Loans Arena court to the ground and hit a metal object as he landed. Covington walked off the court with help from his teammates and was labeled with a lower-back contusion.

Now a few days of rest and rehab has him ready for a return in Friday’s home matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“It’s feeling good,” Covington said of his back after Thursday’s practice at the Sixers’ training complex. “The past few days, I’ve done a lot of rehab, acupuncture stuff. My bad today, I felt really great. … I felt great great coming into practice. Acupuncture yesterday, did a lot of movement, a lot of stuff that really opened up my back so I really feel really good today.”

Covington’s return couldn’t come at a better time for the Sixers. 

Sure, a team can always use a player that has averaged 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and shot 42.7 percent from three-point range this season. However, it will be Covington’s defense that will come in handy the most against the dangerous Thunder trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

Whether Covington comes out strong or struggles to find a rhythm after after his injury, the Sixers will still be happy just to have him back on the floor healthy.

“It’s his birthday today, so he looked a little bit older. But he looked good,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Joel Embiid talks roasting Karl-Anthony Towns: 'They call me Tro-el Embiid'

Joel Embiid talks roasting Karl-Anthony Towns: 'They call me Tro-el Embiid'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid couldn't let the comment go by without a response. After all, he is the social media savant and has become the master at having the last word.

When Karl-Anthony Towns replied to Embiid's Instagram post about the Sixers' win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota, Embiid stepped into action (see story)

"They call me 'Tro-el Embiid,'" Embiid said at shootaround Thursday. "So I don't let things go by."

Embiid captioned a photo of him scoring over Towns on Tuesday, "Euro stepping our way through Minnesota and we ended up raising the cat last night #TheProcess." Embiid captured his nice move to the basket as well as the Sixers celebrating a win.

"We ended up raising the cat," Embiid said. "I don't know if he understood the meaning of actually raising the cat. Maybe he thought it was about him. Raising the cat is basically when we win a game. You got to raise the cat. I guess he thought it was about him. He made a comment."

Towns replied, "That caption was as trash as your picture quality," to which Embiid said, "Better quality than your defense." Embiid scored 28 points in the win. 

"I just felt like that needed a reaction from me," Embid said. "I think I had a pretty good comeback."

So is Embiid vs. Towns now a heated rivalry? Not so fast. Embiid is good friends with Towns and considers him "my guy." Like his banter with other bigs around the NBA, this back and forth was good-hearted trash talk.

"I'm just having fun out there," Embiid said. "Social media is a way for me to express myself. Off the court, we're friends and stuff. On the court, I want to kick his a--, but it's all fun."

Embiid added, "Hopefully no one ever takes it seriously."