The700Level

J.J. Redick once impressed Ryan Howard with his baseball skills

Philadelphia 76ers talk is coming.

Members of the Philly media are meeting with Brett Brown today for their yearly before-the-season lunch. Then, next week, Sixers media day will be here.

That means Sixers' news will be coming at you fast like an undead snow bear messing up Thoros of Myr.

We got a nice little primer for that today when the Inquirer's Bob Ford wrote a wonderful read on the friendship between new Sixer J.J. Redick and one of Philly's all-time favorite basketballers in Jameer Nelson.

Nelson was with the Orlando Magic when Redick got drafted as an over-confident shooter out of Duke. He showed him the ropes and the two bonded over work ethic and a desire for honesty.

It's a really good read to get to know both players more closely. And it hints at some of the reasons the Sixers went out and spent big money on Redick this offseason.

“It’s not always easy to talk to peers and tell them what they need to do,” Nelson says. “But he wanted to learn, wanted to get better. It’s a competition and it’s not for everyone. You don’t always find guys like that.”

“Something both of them have in common is honesty,” Van Gundy says. “Neither one is afraid of honesty. They were easy to coach because they liked to be told the truth, and they weren’t afraid to tell you the truth, either to a coach or another teammate. You never had to wonder what’s going on with this guy or anything else.”

Will Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz be receptive to hearing the truth, perhaps when it's not the easiest to handle? Sounds like J.J. is going to be telling it.

There's a fun nugget about how those Orlando Magic teams used to bond back in the day by Nelson bringing his teammates up to Philly for a week at a time during the offseason to play ball, but also to have fun off the court, like on the paintball field or at a Phillies game.

“My favorite one was a paintball competition,” Redick says. “We drove about an hour outside the city and divided up into teams and we went at it. That was a blast. Another time we went to the Phillies and took batting practice with the team. And the whole week, you’re riding together to workouts or just spending time, and you’re sort of out of your element, so you open up. I’d also mention that I had, by far, the best swing on the team. Ryan Howard told me that I looked like the only person on the entire team that had actually played baseball.”

Basketball is back soon and it'll be fun to watch J.J. play the mentoring role this time around.

>>How Jameer Nelson helped make J.J. Redick an NBA player, and got a friend in return [Philly.com]