justin anderson

Justin Anderson emerges as leader in 'fistfight 'for rotational minutes on wing

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Justin Anderson emerges as leader in 'fistfight 'for rotational minutes on wing

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Sixers head coach Brett Brown didn’t take it easy on the metaphors when he was asked about the state of the battle for minutes between Justin Anderson, Nik Stauskas and Furkan Korkmaz before his team’s 133-114 win over the Nets Wednesday.

Brown likened it to a fistfight and said there would probably be a “sole survivor” of the group that would receive rotational minutes to start the year. He set out clear guidelines for how he plans on evaluating the three players, who all try to add an element of offensive spacing and three-point shooting off the bench.

“It’s really simple,” Brown said. “It’s who can guard, who plays defense? The close, obvious second is: Can you make shots? The blueprint isn’t complicated. It goes in that order.”

Going by those standards, Wednesday’s contest boded well for Anderson’s prospects. The third-year player out of Virginia was the clear leader among the three in terms of meaningful minutes. Anderson spent 15:42 on the floor, much of it alongside players on the Sixers’ roster that, though reserves, have clearly-defined roles on the team, such as T.J. McConnell.

Stauskas received just 12:34 of action and did little to quell concerns about his shooting touch after he missed seven of eight shots against the Celtics on Monday. 

Wednesday, Stauskas missed five of seven shots, including his only three-point attempt. Ostensibly on the roster for his three-point shooting prowess, the fourth-year guard is struggling from distance. He has missed six of his seven shots from long range this preseason. If Stauskas’ shooting form doesn’t recover, he might not have shown enough defensively by the end of the preseason to justify a spot on the Sixers’ roster, let alone a rotational role. The Sixers were minus-12 with Stauskas on the court Wednesday and he picked up three fouls.

Meanwhile, Korkmaz was an afterthought after getting 19 minutes of run Wednesday. He was involved in just 5:10 of game action in the fourth quarter, well after the outcome had been decided. Korkmaz did hit his only shot attempt of the night, a three-pointer from the left wing.

Just a 20-year-old rookie, Korkmaz is not operating under the same kind of pressure to make the roster that Stauskas and Anderson have hanging over their heads. He can spend the bulk of 2017-18 in the G League and use the extended minutes he’d likely receive with the 87ers to tune up his defense without a second thought.

That leaves Anderson, who was probably the most impressive Wednesday night on the defensive end of the floor. The 6-foot-6 Anderson was shuffled through a host of man assignments during his run with the reserves, from 6-foot-11 forward Jarrett Allen to 6-foot-6 point guard Spencer Dinwiddie.

Anderson missed his only three-pointer but looked good contesting threes on his own end of the floor. He looked particularly solid getting a hand in Dinwiddie’s face after the guard had leaked open for a flash in the right corner late in the first quarter. The Sixers were plus-8 with Anderson on the floor.

"You’ve got to want to be a defender,” Anderson said.  "You’ve got to want to take that challenge. I took it personally tonight. I take it personally every night. I understand that I walk a very tight rope. I understand what my job is on this team."

Anderson took a step towards solidifying that job Wednesday night.

JJ Redick: Being anti-Trump 'is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning'

JJ Redick: Being anti-Trump 'is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning'

CAMDEN, N.J. — For a few of the Sixers players on media day Monday, sticking to sports was not an option.

To recap, first President Donald Trump during a rally Friday in Alabama called protesting NFL players "sons of bitches," saying the owners should "fire" any player that protests. Trump on Saturday then went to his familiar realm, tweeting he was uninviting Stephen Curry and the NBA-champion Warriors to the White House.

Of all the players speaking at Sixers media day Monday, the team's marquee free-agent signing, JJ Redick, had the most to say about the situation.

"I'm about as anti-Trump as you can get and I've been that way since the election," Redick said. "And he was just getting started. "

But he wasn't the only one to speak about the president's comments.

Here are the full quotes from media day.

Redick 

To CSNPhilly's Amy Fadool and Marshall Harris on Trump's social media and tweets directed at Curry:
"It’s very interesting how [Trump] uses social media. I would say this weekend, it was almost surreal. As an NBA player, you’re kind of taking the big picture view and going, ‘what’s going on here?’ 

"Our active, sitting president is calling NFL players ‘sons of bitches’ and is going after Steph Curry and LeBron (James), who have done more for sports and culture and African-American communities than anyone; it’s surreal. I agree with what LeBron said; his use of the presidency and what it represents is not what it represented to me a year ago. It’s not what it represented to me with Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. Those are the presidents that I knew as a young person and as an adult, and his presidency doesn’t represent that, the White House doesn’t represent that. So, of course, I agree with LeBron, I agree with what the Warriors are doing by not going to the White House. I don’t think any team should go to the White House; you’re actively saying, ‘I support this guy.’ 

"The other thing, too, is to speak out against Trump at this point is almost like eating breakfast. It’s what’s you should do — you should eat breakfast because it’s part of a daily, balanced diet. On the list of things that he’s done to offend me, his comments this week were like 87th. There’s more important things going on like North Korea and flood and disaster relief that we’re dealing with right now in Puerto Rico, Florida and Houston; those are the things that are important. So it’s mind-boggling that that’s what he’s spending his time on.”

On what he feels is his responsibility as an American and an NBA player:
“I think you should take an active role in your own education. No one is going to educate you — life will educate you, of course. But just take an active role in your education, that’s the biggest thing. The second biggest thing is just love other people, that’s all we’re supposed to do. Just be kind and love other people.”

To reporters on if he feels more responsibility as a white player to step up:
"I don't think it has anything to do with being white. I've certainly never been oppressed because of the color of my skin. I'm a human and can certainly relate to any emotion that humans have felt. I'm about as anti-Trump as you can get and I've been that way since the election. I think being anti-Trump at this point is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning. It's just something that you do during your day. I mean how often do you go through a day and not be offended by the guy?"

On if he would support his teammates protesting:
"In terms of doing something to protest, I think it's best that those things are done as a team. That's just me. But if guys want to do something, I'm all for it and of course, I would stand with anyone regardless of the color of their skin or their background or anything like that."

Jerryd Bayless

On Trump and on the NFL protests:
"I think what he's done in dividing us and his narrow-minded views are obviously not a good thing for the country. I think we all know and we've seen his comments from immigration to climate change to 'sons of bitches' to 'fine people' that are part of a rally [in Charlottesville] and what not. So I think what he's done is self-explanatory, but now is the time to kind of see how we're all going to come back from this and how we move forward. 

"The protests are great. I think everybody has the right to do whatever they want to do but now it's time to figure out as a whole — black, white, Mexican, Asian, whatever — how are we going to move forward? How are we going to come together so we can make him feel what he's doing is wrong? We can go back and forth about this. I don't know if this is really the appropriate time to do this but … it's disappointing. But hopefully from this everybody will be able to move forward and figure out the way to make him go a different direction."

Justin Anderson, a Virginia native and University of Virginia alumnus 

On the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, recent NFL protests and if the Sixers are planning a protest:
"Obviously the Charlottesville situation hit home. It was very relevant to me in my life. Fortunately, we just had a concert last night to help promote unity through music. It was something beautiful to see at our university. But as far as the protesting things that we've seen as of late, we've been talking through group texts, we've been sending the same messages and screenshots of things that have been said. Just continue to talk to each other about it. 

"Fortunately, we have about 10 days until we play our first game so far as what we're going to do to I guess physically try to show something or send a message, we haven't spoke about that yet and we have time and we'll figure it out. But I think we're all in agreement, on the same page. We're all in agreement in that locker room on the things that are going on. We're all working to do our part to help shed light in the right direction and that's to help build unity. To help lift up people in a time when people are being pushed down. We just want to make sure that we have each other's backs and I think that's something that's bringing us together even closer."

James-Michael McAdoo, who signed a two-way deal with the Sixers after spending the last three years in Golden State

On the situation involving the Warriors and the president:
"Obviously that's not something that we necessarily broadcast too loudly. But you can see it and hear those guy's sound bites out there on the West Coast. It's obviously something that needs to be addressed. I think my ex-teammates are doing a wonderful job in addressing that in the political climate being what it is right now. "

Virginia connection has 3 Eagles supporting Sixers' Justin Anderson

Virginia connection has 3 Eagles supporting Sixers' Justin Anderson

There’s a Sixers fan favorite among some of the Eagles, and it’s not Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons. Torrey Smith, Rodney McLeod and Chris Long are pulling for Justin Anderson. 

Anderson’s link to this trio of Eagles goes back to Virginia. Now they are living out their goals of being professional athletes just feet away from each other at the Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field. 

Among these Eagles, Anderson has known Smith the longest. Their mothers are close friends and the two grew up 15 minutes apart. 

“Torrey is obviously a special case for me,” Anderson said. “Torrey is like family.”

Smith has been showing his support for Anderson’s career before he was traded to the Sixers in February. The friends spend time together in Philadelphia and back home, including a crab dinner this offseason.

“My son loves him to death,” Smith said. 

Anderson met the “super swaggy,” as he described him, McLeod at Virginia. The freshman Anderson was drawn to McLeod, a senior, for the way he carried himself off the football field. 

“His aura, how he carries himself, it’s pretty cool,” Anderson said. “It’s one that when you look at him, you’re like, ‘I want to dress like him. I want to talk like him.’ But he’s a really nice dude.”

McLeod took on the role of tour guide when Anderson moved to Philadelphia. From suggesting a barber to helping with an apartment search to attending the Roots Picnic together, McLeod has been a local go-to. 

“It’s good just to have a guy that you’re familiar with in the area,” McLeod said. “He actually lives right behind me now, so I guess he’s my next-door neighbor of some sort.”

Anderson, 23, wants to be more of a leader this season for the Sixers. One player he will look to as an example is Long. They met when Long returned to Virginia to speak with Anderson’s basketball team. 

“Being able to talk to him," Anderson said, "what it takes to be a pro, also now as a champion, just being able to use him as another resource has been phenomenal.” 

Long can see Anderson taking on that kind of role. He is proud to have another UVA alum playing professionally in Philadelphia. 

“Knowing him as kind of a family friend now, it’s fun to keep up with him,” Long said. “The energy he plays with, I think guys will gravitate to that.”

With overlapping seasons, the most convenient way to see one another is at their games. All four will be checking their schedules to find an open day or night. 

“Obviously, there are some perks that go with it,” McLeod said with a laugh. “I’ll get him into the Eagles game. Hopefully, he’ll look out and have me at some Sixers games this year. I’m excited for their season.”

Said Smith, “That’s like family to me. Any chance I get the opportunity to support him, I’ll be there.”