Blakely: Colangelo mess makes it tough to 'Trust The Process' in Philly now

Blakely: Colangelo mess makes it tough to 'Trust The Process' in Philly now

BOSTON – Bryan Colangelo has a birthday coming up.

He’ll be 53 years old on Friday.

After the social media turmoil he’s currently embroiled in, I’m pretty sure seeing this whole burner account fiasco go away would be the best gift like, ever.

If you’ve been in an NBA cocoon for the last 24 hours, you probably missed the report by the Ringer about Colangelo having as many as five burner accounts on Twitter which praised him incessantly, called out players such as Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, in addition to taking some not-so-veiled shots at his predecessor, Sam Hinkie.

The Sixers have now opened an investigation into the burner account fiasco, which is never a good thing for someone like Colangelo.

“An outline media outlet filed a story linking multiple social media accounts to 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo,” read a statement by the Sixers. “The allegations are serious and we have commenced an independent investigation into the matter. We will report the results of that investigation as soon as it is concluded.”

Even if the investigation turns out to be favorable to Colangelo, keeping him around becomes complicated on a few different levels.

Colangelo owned up to having one of the accounts, which in itself is a bad look.

It’s not the fact that he has an additional account(s), but the manner in which he has reportedly used it.

If the allegations in the Ringer piece turn out to be true, there’s no logical path going forward for the Sixers other than firing Colangelo immediately.

It’s one thing to take shots at the media and even fellow league executives.

But when you pull out the flamethrower on players while hiding behind the anonymity that can at times be part of Twitter, you might as well start packing for your next job because at that point it becomes a matter of when, not if, you are going to be fired.

And while there is no definitive smoking gun per se, the circumstantial evidence is pretty damning right now.

To Colangelo’s credit, he has reportedly reached out to some players like Embiid and has told them the story is not true.

Players are going to respond and say they believe him, but belief at this point doesn’t matter.

The better question is, do you trust him?

Because belief is a fleeting emotion; trust has staying power.

And that being so problematic now may be enough for Sixers brass to cut their ties with Colangelo.

The Sixers must also give some thought to how this whole incident will impact their chances of convincing LeBron James to make Philly the latest city where he works his miracles.

Convincing James to play in Philadelphia would indeed be a long shot.

Doing that with the Colangelo cloud hovering above?

There’s no way James would even consider - let alone come to - Philadelphia with Burnergate going on.

Players on the roster will have trust issues. Players they want to be on the roster? They, too, will have trust issues.

And with that, the franchise known for its “Trust the Process” mantra, now finds it taking on a new meaning that’s not good for anyone, especially birthday-boy-to-be Bryan Colangelo.

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Jayson Tatum obviously named to All-Rookie first team

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Jayson Tatum obviously named to All-Rookie first team

Jayson Tatum was obviously named to the NBA All-Rookie first team, joining fellow great rookie Donovan Mitchell, second-year player Ben Simmons, the good Lakers rookie (not Lonzo Ball) and an actually amazing Chicago Bulls player. 

Tatum, who started all season for the Celtics, becomes the first Celtic since fellow future Hall-of-Famer Paul Pierce to earn first-team rookie honors. He would have been a unanimous choice for the first team were it not for one insane person who gave him a second-team vote, seemingly in favor of Josh Jackson. 

Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic clarified that he was not the Jackson voter.

Tatum and Lauri Markkanen (the awesome Bulls player) were the only top-10 picks in the 2017 draft selected to the first team. Tatum is also the only lottery pick still in the NBA playoffs. He's averaging 18 points a game in the postseason. Markelle Fultz did not play at all during the Celtics' five-game series victory over the 76ers, who could have taken Tatum but took Fultz instead. 

Long odds? Celtics comfortable getting counted out again vs. Sixers

Long odds? Celtics comfortable getting counted out again vs. Sixers

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are the higher seed than Philadelphia and with that comes home court advantage. 

When they played the Sixers this season, Boston won three of the four head-to-head battles. 

Boston has a slightly older, more experienced team which is usually seen as a big positive in the postseason.

And yet, there are many indicators that the Sixers – not the Celtics – are expected to emerge victorious in this Eastern Conference semifinal matchup that begins with Game 1 tonight at the TD Garden.

The good folks at the Las Vegas-based online betting site Bovada.lv put the odds of Philadelphia advancing out of the Eastern Conference at 8:5 which is better than any other team in the East, while the Celtics are a distant fourth at 18:1.

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Throw in the fact that the Celtics are playing without their two best players – Kyrie Irving (left knee procedure) and Gordon Hayward (dislocated ankle) – and their best two-way player Jaylen Brown (right hamstring) is doubtful for Game 1, it makes a lot of sense why the Celtics bandwagon is getting lighter with each passing day. 

“That’s been the talk all season,” said Boston’s Marcus Morris.

But while many focus on Boston’s problems heading into this series, Morris sees promise on the horizon. 

“We got a little bit stronger when we got Marcus (Smart) back,” said Morris And as we’ve seen with the Celtics and their injuries, player’s roles can expand quickly. 

Boston had second-round pick Semi Ojeleye in the starting lineup for the last three games with the task of being the initial defender on Giannis Antetokounmpo. He played more than 90 minutes in the three games he started. In the previous four, Ojeleye tallied around 45 minutes of court time. 

"Around here, you just have to always stay ready," Ojeleye told NBC Sports Boston.

The perceived weakened state of the Celtics is without question a factor in Philadelphia being seen as a favorite in this series by many.

But just as significant has been the fact that the Sixers are playing their best basketball right now.

Including how they finished the regular season and their first-round series with Miami, Philadelphia has won 20 of its last 21 games.

“Very impressed with how they handled that Miami series,” said Al Horford, referring to the Sixers eliminating the Heat in five games. “For that group, their first time in the playoffs, the energy they played with and the confidence, is very impressive.”

The Sixers are led by center Joel Embiid and point-forward Ben Simmons. 

Embiid, named to his first NBA all-star team this season, missed the first two games of Philadelphia’s series with Miami while on the mend from an orbital fracture injury suffered near the end of the regular season. 

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But in the three games he did play, Embiid was dominant as ever, averaging 18.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, three blocks and two assists per game. 

Picking up the slack was Simmons, a front-runner for the league’s rookie of the year award. In the playoffs, he’s averaging 18.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and nine assists per game. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is well aware of how impactful Embiid and Simmons can be. He’s also aware of how diversified their offense has become with the late-season additions of Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli. 

And while there has been lots of talk about the players they have that can hurt you offensively, the Sixers have been among the NBA’s top defensive teams for most of the season as well with a regular season defensive rating of 102.0 which ranked third in the NBA. 

It adds up to a tremendous challenge for the Celtics, regardless of whether they are at full strength or not. 

“They have the profile of a team that’s going to play for a long, long time,” Stevens said. 

But to enter a situation where the odds aren’t great for Boston, is nothing new.

We have seen them find a pathway to success countless times this season when conventional wisdom said their demise was near.

That’s why this team, more than any other in the NBA, is tough enough mentally to not only withstand not being whole this time of year, but actually convincing themselves that they can thrive in such less-than-ideal situations. 

“On this team, one down through the end of the bench, we know every guy has to be ready to step in and be ready every time their numbers called,” said Boston’s Aron Baynes. “It’s fun going out there playing with that right now, embracing the opportunity we have in front of us.” 

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