t.j. mcconnell

Sixers' T.J. McConnell gets married as Nik Stauskas plays groomsman

nikstauskas11 on Instagram

Sixers' T.J. McConnell gets married as Nik Stauskas plays groomsman

Congratulations to T.J. McConnell and his wife, Valerie Guiliani!

Last night, at a ceremony in Pittsburgh, McConnell wed his high school sweetheart and, his Sixers teammate Nik Stauskas posted one of the first photos of the newlyweds on his Instagram with a special message.

In June, we caught up with the couple and Valerie shared that the wedding was the reason for T.J.’s new look last season.

"I think I said, 'You will not walk down the aisle with a buzzcut. It's just not happening,'" she said. "I think he thought he wouldn't look handsome with his hair and he looks so handsome with it."

It looks like he kept his word.

Stauskas, one of the groomsmen at the affair, told our Jessica Camerato about his excitement to be involved with the wedding during the spring.

"It meant a lot to be invited to the wedding," Stauskas said. "It's going to be a special day for me. I may shed a few tears."

No word on if Stauskas shed a tear, but we wish all the best to the newlyweds after their special day.

Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell win NBPA Players Voice Awards

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Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell win NBPA Players Voice Awards

Joel Embiid was a big winner in the 2017 NBPA Players Voice Awards.

He earned honors for Comeback Player of the Year and, in what seemed like a lock all season, Best Social Media Follow.

Embiid made a huge impact in only 31 games after missing his first two seasons because of foot injuries. He averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks, all while being capped on a minutes restrictions and held out of back-to-back games. Embiid was on pace to win Rookie of the Year before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He underwent surgery in March. 

His influence was just as big on social media. Embiid became a Twitter star before he even played an NBA game. Now with over 857,000 followers, he has kept fans entertained with everything from his admiration of Rihanna, an All-Star campaign to get a date, and his recent beef with LaVar Ball. Embiid frequently posts videos engaging with fans (who usually are chanting "Trust the Process") and puts a creative spin on his Instagram locations.

Embiid wasn't the only Sixer to win an award. T.J. McConnell earned the well respected "Best Teammate" award, presented to one player from each NBA team. McConnell’s hard-nosed approach and relentless hustle earned him the starting point guard role in late December. The underdog has fought to establish his place in the league for the last two seasons and has made an impression on the Sixers' staff, fan base and his peers while doing so.  

NBA players voted on these awards at the end of the regular season. The winners were announced on the NBPA's Twitter Friday morning.

Sixers Mailbag: Joel Embiid's big landings; T.J. McConnell still a starter?

Sixers Mailbag: Joel Embiid's big landings; T.J. McConnell still a starter?

It’s August, so you know what that means: less than two months until the start of NBA training camp. For as many questions as the Sixers addressed in free agency and the draft, there are a lot that still remains. In this mailbag, let’s take a look at a few of those topics. If you don’t see your tweet here, I will be answering more next week. (On that note, big thanks for the huge response to mailbag questions!)

Good question, Jake. Sounds like you were one of the many who gasped whenever Joel Embiid flew out of bounds. The Sixers are tasked with the tough job of getting Embiid to find the balance between giving 100 percent on each play and having enough restraint to avoid hurdling six rows into the stands. (So it wasn’t that many rows, but you get my point.) 

One interview with Embiid that struck me last season was when he said in November, “I don’t really have my legs yet,” in regard to finishing around the rim. That showed he still was a work in progress during his rookie year, learning how to maneuver a massive 7-foot, 250-pound frame with its capabilities and areas for improvement. All the while, he still wanted to chase down every loose ball like a feisty undersized point guard. 

Sixers head of strength and conditioning/assistant coach Todd Wright takes a very methodical, sports science-based approach in his training. Each player’s workout regimen is tailored to his health and conditioning needs. After going through foot and knee surgeries, I would expect landings and balance are a focus in Embiid’s training efforts to avoid further injuries. 

T.J. McConnell has the mentality he has to fight for his job every day, in every game and every practice. He’ll do that again in his third season.

There’s no question McConnell has earned his place in the NBA. He exudes hustle on each play and can be counted on for maximum effort. Between a combination of injuries to Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez and his own hard work, McConnell took over the starting point guard role in January. McConnell knows the situation will be different this coming season with the addition of Markelle Fultz and the returns of Ben Simmons and Bayless. Expect him to be using that to drive him this summer. 

The point guard role is going to be very non-traditional for the Sixers this season. The pairing of Fultz and Simmons looks promising because of Fultz’s ability to play off the ball. McConnell is more of a traditional point guard than a scorer, which isn’t the best fit to start alongside Simmons. The Sixers also will want to get Fultz acclimated in playing with Embiid and others in the starting lineup to further his consistency and development within the system. McConnell has come off the bench before and embraces the attitude to accept any role he is assigned.