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JJ Redick says Sixers in position to grow into 'one of the elite teams in the NBA'

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JJ Redick says Sixers in position to grow into 'one of the elite teams in the NBA'

Philadelphia 76ers fans are quickly learning what hardcore NBA fans have known for years: JJ Redick is great on podcasts.

The Sixers' splashy free agent signing joined the HoopsHype Podcast with Alex Kennedy on Friday to talk about his adventurous offseason, joining the Philly franchise, and becoming a key piece of the Process.

They covered a ton in the hour-long chat, but it was the part about joining the Process in its still relatively early stages on a one-year deal instead of "ring chasing" that jumped out to me.

"The opportunity to be a part of something that’s been built from the ground up and to be joining it at a pretty opportune time, for a team on the rise especially in the East, there’s an opportunity for us to make a jump," Redick said.

"As these guys get older and get more experience, I think there’s an opportunity to make a leap and really be one of the elite teams not only the East but in the NBA. That’s a credit to Sam Hinkie, Bryan Colangelo, and to their owners."

Sounds good to Sixers fans, I'm sure. But what about the fact that he's only under contract in Philly for one season? If all goes well, that shouldn't matter.

"I have talked to Bryan Colangelo and the owners about a continuing relationships. I also understand given their cap situation and the age of their core, even if I do stay for 2-3 years it may only be on one-year deals. I understand that. The reality is if I play well and the team does well I think I’ll be back."

Not exactly groundbreaking news, but it's different hearing it straight from the three-point-shooter's mouth as opposed to Sixers' fans simply hoping it.

The next question would be what results would the Sixers have to see this coming season for it to be considered the team "doing well?"

Redick isn't sure exactly but he does expect the team to make the playoffs.

"I don’t think you can skip steps. I think the goal should be making the playoffs," Redick said.

"Is that an eight seed at 38-44 or is it a five seed at 48-34? I don’t know. I truthfully don’t know. On paper, the thing I like about our team is we have a lot of skillets that compliment each other."

Redick spoke glowingly about Brett Brown and how he's the right guy for the job at hand. He spoke about joining a team full of millennials and having to learn about Migos and how to bond with them. It won't exactly be conversations about the different wine regions around Burgundy, France.

The whole thing is worth a listen.

Some other highlights:

JJ on getting to know the younger guys and how he's leading

"It’s been great. I started texting Ben Simmons back in March or February. We have a mutual friend in Philly so I’ve gotten to know him a little bit. I’ve gotten to know Embiid. I saw him at the Steve Nash charity soccer game in New York and chatted for an hour and a half. That was like two weeks prior to free agency."

"Since Amir and I have signed there’s a little group chat that we’re all on."

"There’s only so much guidance I can give in text messages. The biggest thing for me is showing the routine of being a professional, getting guys to understand what it takes to win and also what it takes to last in the NBA."

Something awesome Brett Brown texted him

"Brett [Brown] texted me and was like, ‘The city will be on fire if we get this thing rolling.’ So I’m very excited."

Leather Eagles Super Bowl jacket is amazing, crazy expensive

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Leather Eagles Super Bowl jacket is amazing, crazy expensive

Philadelphia fans aren't the only ones who can't get their fill of Super Bowl championship memorabilia. The Eagles' players want in on the surfeit of champs gear as well.

Take Beau Allen for example. A true man of the people, Allen tweeted his desire for this absolutely beautiful leather jacket commemorating the Eagles victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Allen tweeted aloud, wondering why the Birds' players hadn't been issued one of these leather jackets yet?

One guess? They retail for a cool $3,000. Totally worth it. 

You can pick one up right here for a low $2,999.99. It's listed as a "Men's NFL Pro Line by Fanatics Branded Black/Green Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII Champions Full-Button Leather Jacket."

You'll be happy to know it's an officially licensed NFL product and is made in the USA. Just like Beau.

Joel Embiid belongs among the very best

Joel Embiid belongs among the very best

You can't really fake it at an All-Star Game, especially one where people are actually trying. There's no lucking your way into a couple open shots and a couple generous foul calls and all of a sudden rolling your way to a 30-plus-point game; there's no isolating one defensive mismatch and exploiting it to make yourself look like '01 Shaq. Generally speaking, an All-Star Game shakes out as it should: The best shine the brightest, and those who aren't ready yet fade into the periphery with extra motivation to step things up for next year. 

And that's why it's so awesome that Joel Embiid, a mere 75 games into his NBA career, unquestionably belonged on the biggest stage with the biggest names last night. Playing for Stephen Curry's squad, JoJo posted 19 points on 8-13 shooting, with eight rebounds and two blocks, and a +5 rating for the night — the only positive plus/minus for the Steph starters. 

Out of context, those numbers may not sound particularly impressive for an All-Star outing, considering the final score of 2017's game was 192-182. But thanks to increased financial and personal motivation in this year's game, the competition was ratcheted up, and though the final score was still a robust 148-145 — Team LeBron emerging victorious — no one player really went off in this one, with Team Stephen being led in scoring by DeMar DeRozan and Damian Lillard (21 each). Consider that JoJo's 19 outpaced both teammates James Harden (12 points on 5-19 FG) and Curry himself (13 on 4-14 FG) — only two of the greatest scorers in NBA history. 

And what's more, down the stretch it was Embiid who seemed most ready to rise to the moment. With minutes remaining and his team up one, Embiid posted up LeBron James — LeBron James!! — for an easy bucket, and with the score tied and under a minute left, he got stuck isolated on the perimeter against Paul George, and still ended up blocking George's shot to win the possession back for his team. Had his squad been able to hang on in this one, he would've been able to mount a fairly compelling case for MVP, which would've made him the first player since at least the 20th century to win top honors in his first All-Star appearance. 

Of course, it didn't happen that way, and Team Stephen coach Mike D'Antoni might get most of the blame as to why. With his squad up one and Team LeBron inbounding out of a timeout, D'Antoni opted for some incomprehensible reason to bench Embiid, his best defensive player — which, somewhat unsurprisingly, resulted in LeBron scoring quickly and easily at the basket to go up one, and then DeMar DeRozan throwing the ball away at the other end. Embiid entered for the final possession, with his team needing a three to tie, and he had a chance to hoist one, but understandably passed to Curry, who drove his way into traffic and ended up not even getting a shot off. Team LeBron won, and James took home his third MVP. 

Frustrating finish, but it can't ruin what came before: Joel Embiid squaring off against the best the NBA has to offer, and proving himself a factor. (Also nailed a three and then blocked a Russell Westbrook drive at the other end, btw, so that beautiful random feud lives on.) He got as good as he gave — LeBron drilled a triple in his face immediately after JoJo took him down low — but he was in the mix, and a crucial part of his team's successes and failures. It should be the first of many such All-Star starring roles for Embiid, and hopefully the last for some time that doesn't also include him being flanked by Process Truster in Arms Ben Simmons. 

But even if it isn't — even if nothing good ever happens again with Joel, and we look back at this All-Star Game 25 years from now as the high point of this career — it still would have all been worth it. It was worth it when the team went 10-5 two Januarys ago. It was maybe worth it when Embiid gave his first-ever post-game interview following a Sixers win. 

That's what people will never understand about The Process, and that's what makes nights like this so gratifying. Franchises go decades, entire generations, without getting a moment to feel this way about one of their players, and even getting the chance to feel it about one of ours is worth seasons of sacrifice. JoJo lives, and somewhere in the bowels of the Staples Center last night, Our Once and Always Dark Lord Sam Hinkie had to be there and be smiling. Hope he enjoyed the Fergie national anthem as much as I did, as well.