76ers

Boston fans who think LeBron James will be a Celtic must be suffering Super Bowl hangover

Boston fans who think LeBron James will be a Celtic must be suffering Super Bowl hangover

Our friends at NBC Sports Boston believe that the Celtics have a legitimate chance of landing LeBron James this summer. We think that's silly. Go read their take, and then see our response below. 

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Here’s the issue with Bostonians thinking they have a shot at LeBron James: You’re not living in reality.

Perhaps you’re all still suffering from a Super Bowl LII hangover?

See, in the NBA, there’s something called a “salary cap.” And when you sign an OK player like Al Horford to LeBron-like money, that salary cap starts getting eaten up pretty quickly.

Speaking of big contracts, remember when the Celtics traded for Kyrie Irving? Why were they able to get such a young, talented player? Hmmmm … Oh, right! Irving didn’t want to play with LeBron and forced his way out of Cleveland. But yeah, I’m sure everyone would magically just get along and be best buds again.

Speaking of people that actually get along, the LeBron-Ben Simmons bromance is an unbreakable bond and how dare you insinuate otherwise. They’re the King and the Fresh Prince. How could there be a more perfect fit? Oh, and by the way, he’s totally a rookie. Perhaps you Celtics folks need to learn the rules of the NBA a little more before debating these things? And he led a team to the Eastern Conference Semis during his ROOKIE season playing point guard for the first time in his life. Not too shabby.

From NBC Sports Bay Area: LeBron makes no sense for the Warriors

That leads me to the Sixers' other rookie. Celtics fans were drooling over the idea of Markelle Fultz when they still had the No. 1 overall pick. Jayson Tatum has the makings of a star. That doesn’t mean Markelle Fultz won’t be one. But yeah, let’s totally evaluate players solely on their rookie seasons.

There’s no way around it: The Celtics took care of the Sixers in five games. The Celtics are also on the golf course now, so whatever. But what LeBron likely sees is a dominant big man in Joel Embiid that is just scratching the surface of how great he can be. A point guard in Simmons with unreal court vision and plenty of potential. A player a year removed from being the No. 1 overall pick in Fultz. The Croatian Sensation, Dario Saric. And our newest Boston Strangler, T.J. McConnell (if you recall LeBron wanted the Cavs to trade for the King of Grit).

The Sixers’ situation is so great that the Bryan Colangelo debacle — though incredibly annoying—– won’t affect LeBron. The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, have an abundance of cap space. They can maneuver to acquire James and another elite wing player — say Paul George or Kawhi Leonard?

So you can go ahead and keep living in your fantasy — maybe Brandon Graham didn’t strip sack Tom Brady there — but here, in reality, the Sixers have the best chance to land LeBron James and 41-33 was the final score of Super Bowl LII in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles.

More on the Sixers:

2020 NBA schedule: Sixers set to play 3 scrimmages before season resumes

2020 NBA schedule: Sixers set to play 3 scrimmages before season resumes

The NBA on Saturday released its scrimmage schedule for the 22 teams participating in the league’s restart in Orlando. 

The Sixers are set to play three scrimmages:

July 24, 3:30 p.m. — Grizzlies
July 26, 12 p.m. — Thunder
July 28, 8:30 p.m. — Mavericks

The scrimmages are intended to serve as a final ramp-up into the resumption of the season. The Sixers, who began holding mandatory individual workouts at their practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, starting on Wednesday, are scheduled to arrive at Disney World next Thursday.

Brett Brown said Wednesday he’d like his team to be at a “B” fitness base that he can help improve to an “A” by the time seeding games start. It’s been challenging for many players to stay in shape because of restrictions related to the coronavirus. Matisse Thybulle, for one, said Thursday he doesn’t like running but it was his “only choice.”

"It’s obviously not basketball-type conditioning,” Thybulle said, “but it kept me at a cardio fitness level to where now that we’ve come back and started, and I’ve started doing my basketball workouts, I have a really solid baseline to build off.”

The hiatus has allowed Ben Simmons to recover from the back injury that sidelined him for the Sixers’ last eight games, and Simmons noted he's added muscle and feels more explosive.

Al Horford also said, “I probably wasn’t where I wanted to be this season” in terms of health, and that the time off has been helpful for him. 

Below is the Sixers’ schedule for the final eight games:

Aug. 1, 7 p.m.: Indiana
Aug. 3, 8 p.m: San Antonio
Aug. 5, 4 p.m.: Washington
Aug. 7, 6:30 p.m.: Orlando
Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m.: Portland
Aug. 11, 4:30 p.m.: Phoenix
Aug. 12, 6:30 p.m.: Toronto 
Aug. 14: Houston 

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How bubbly Matisse Thybulle is taking things in stride during bizarre rookie year

How bubbly Matisse Thybulle is taking things in stride during bizarre rookie year

Matisse Thybulle was his usual bubbly self Friday. The Sixers’ rookie literally hopped — like he actually jumped into his seat — on a video conference call with reporters. He signed off by calling all of us nerds.

The 2019 first-round pick was having a standout first season before play was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Though his playing time had fluctuated, head coach Brett Brown said earlier in the season that he was grooming the young wing for the playoffs.

Still, Thybulle won’t take anything for granted as the team prepares to leave for the Disney World “bubble” next week.

“For me, every time I get out on the court, it’s a challenge to maintain, to keep my spot on the team,” Thybulle said. “And then with keeping the spot, you can never be stagnant.”

On opening night, Thybulle was asked to defend All-Star guard Kemba Walker. Walker had given the Sixers problems in the past and the rookie didn’t get off to a great start, committing two quick fouls. As the game went on, Thybulle settled in and showed the defensive prowess the Sixers drafted him for.

All season long, Thybulle has done well to take things as they come during a bizarre rookie year. He’s planning to take that same mentality to Florida.

Nobody really knows what’s going to happen," Thybulle said, "nobody really knows what to expect, or how things are going to go, or what anybody or any team looks like. Instead of setting expectations for myself or what I think the experience is going to be like, it’s been just trying to take each new step of this process as a new challenge, and then figuring out, when I get there, how I’m going to get through it.

"If you want to look at all the unknowns, you’ll just go crazy. Taking what I know and what I can control and trying to make the best out of that.

What we know about Thybulle is he has a propensity for disruption on the defensive end. He leads all rookies in steals — by a healthy margin — and is fifth in blocks. He’s one of only eight players in the NBA to have at least 80 steals and 40 blocks.

In order to get so many deflections and wreak havoc defensively, you need to be in top shape. If you’ve seen Thybulle’s Tik Tok adventures from early in the quarantine, you know that he lives in a small apartment and didn’t have the opportunity to keep up with basketball activities.

So, he turned to the only form of exercise he thought could help — even if he didn’t enjoy it.

“I don’t like running. I really don’t like it,” Thyulle said. “But through the quarantine, it was like my only choice. ... It’s obviously not basketball-type conditioning, but it kept me at a cardio fitness level to where now that we’ve come back and started, and I’ve started doing my basketball workouts, I have a really solid baseline to build off. In a matter of two weeks, I feel like I’ve gotten back into really good shape and I think it’s going to be easier to build on after this.”

Thybulle has been given a bunch of tough assignments this season. While he’s looked like a rookie at times, when he’s kept his fouls down and his three-point percentage up, you see a player that should be able to help come the postseason.

And in a year where nobody knows what the NBA playoffs will be like, it could be to the rookie’s advantage during his first postseason run.

“I think what I’ve heard about the playoffs is a little different than what the playoffs are going to look like this year,” Thybulle said. “Obviously, I’ve heard amazing things. Especially playing in Philly, I’ve heard so many great things about having our fans behind us.

"We’re finding ourselves in a situation where that’s not going to be the case, so I think it’s going to be new for everyone, even vets who have been part of the playoffs, trying to get a feel for what this is going to be like. But I’m open to the challenge and I’m excited for what’s in store.”

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