76ers

Jimmy Butler Q&A part 2: Loving minivans, understanding Joel Embiid and annoying NBA rules

Jimmy Butler Q&A part 2: Loving minivans, understanding Joel Embiid and annoying NBA rules

In Part 1 of my chat with Sixers guard Jimmy Butler, we talked about his love of Philly fans, the city's history, his pet peeves, taking game-winning shots and much more.

Here's Part 2 with some great questions from Twitter featuring Joel Embiid, books, villains and the explanation behind the minivan.

Twitter question: Who had to drive the minivan from Minneapolis to Philadelphia? And why a minivan?

JB: I got it shipped. It’s real incognito, one. Two, it has a lot of space, but I think that the fact that I watch a lot of film in there in the back is what really did it for me. That’s what really did it for me, and we get to save a little bit on gas. But all in all, its because I get to have everyone in that bad baby, and laugh. That’s my baby.

Serena Winters: What would the name of your autobiography be? 

JB: The Jimmy Butler story, something about how the love turns to hate so quickly. I love that, that one day somebody can like you and the next day, don’t. I think that’s the world for you, and I think that’s why I admire the people that I admire because one day they like you and the next day they don’t, and I’m a fan of that. 

SW: If you could play dominoes with anyone, and at the same time pick their brain, who would it be? 

JB: Harvey Dent.

SW: Favorite book? 

JB: I really enjoyed and I just finished reading, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F--k." I’m telling you, that book is incredible. Right now, I am working on "Ego Is the Enemy," which is another really good one, and after that, the follow up to Ego is "The Obstacle Is the Way." I’ve got a lot of good books. 

Twitter question: Can you understand what Jo says yet?

JB: Yeah. "Give me the [expletive] ball." "He can’t [expletive] guard me."

*laughs*

I get it!

SW: Favorite quote or saying right now? 

JB: "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

SW: One NBA rule you’d want to change?

JB: The whole reviewing of goaltending. I think you’ve got to be able to review every goaltending call, because when you come down to it, I think the game is made by putting the ball into the basket. So, if something is that close and every basket is supposed to be that much more important, games are coming down to one or two possessions now. If you look at every goaltending and say, ‘aww that wasn’t goaltending’ and give them the two points, games would turn out differently. 

Twitter question: Comments that bother NBA players the most? 

JB: It's different for everyone but I don’t like the word soft. Soft is one of them, I tell you one word that you can never use to describe me is soft. 

Twitter question: Inspiration for your hair? And how do you maintain it?

JB: I don’t do too much to it, as you can tell. Long story short, whenever I was little, everyone used to have the 360 waves and all of that, and I wasn’t one for all of that, so I was like, "man, when I get some type of fame, I just have to do something crazy with my crazy ass hair and I just let it grow," and then before you know it, a lot of people wanted to do it.

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2020 NBA return format: NBPA approves return to play format

2020 NBA return format: NBPA approves return to play format

A day after the NBA’s Board of Governor’s approved a 22-team return to play format, the NBPA did so Friday evening, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

All 28 player reps approved the plan, which would see 22 teams head to Walt Disney World in Florida to finish out the 2019-20 season beginning July 31. The league will play eight regular-season games with the possibility of a play-in tournament for the eighth seed. The playoffs will follow the traditional format.

One of the new pieces of information presented Friday is that there will also be two or three preseason games before the season resumes.

On TNT Thursday night, commissioner Adam Silver said the league is in the “first inning” in its quest to return to play. The NBA suspended the season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. 

According to Charania, players will undergo testing every day and there will be a minimum seven-day quarantine for any player that tests positive. If a player does contract the virus, play would continue.

“Of course we’ve always been looking for whether or not there is an appropriate and safe way that we can resume basketball,” Silver said, “and knowing that we’re going to be living with this virus for a while. … We’ve been exploring with the players whether there can be a new normal here.”

Another sticking point was a tentative date of Nov. 10 to start training camps for the 2020-21 season. Oct. 12 would be the last possible date for Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals under this return-to-play plan. The NBPA told the players it’s “unlikely” the 2020-21 season would start on Dec. 1 and that it’s still being negotiated, per Charania.

With no fans in the stands, the two sides have also discussed pumping fan noise in courtesy of NBA2K.

The league and NBPA are still continuing to work out the health and safety details in the weeks leading up to a return.

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2020 NBA Draft profile: Jordan Nwora is a proven scorer, shooter

2020 NBA Draft profile: Jordan Nwora is a proven scorer, shooter

Jordan Nwora

Position: Forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 225
School: Louisville

Six months ago, Jordan Nwora seemed like a lock to be selected in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. Nwora was the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, poised to lead Louisville to a big season and cement his status as one of the best players in all of college basketball.

By all accounts, he had a very good — if not great — junior season. Nwora averaged 18 points and just under eight rebounds per game for a Louisville team that finished with a 24-7 record. He was named First Team All-ACC and finished second in conference player of the year voting behind Duke’s Tre Jones.

Yet here we are looking ahead to the draft and Nwora is considered a fringe first-round pick who is more likely to be selected in the second round. 

So, what went wrong? There are a couple theories. One, Nwora struggled in a handful of marquee games last season. He scored just eight points on 2 of 10 shooting in a loss at Kentucky and was held to six points on 3 of 12 shooting at Duke a couple weeks later. To make matters worse, he scored a total of seven points in back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and Clemson in mid-February.

There are also doubts as to whether Nwora showed enough improvement between his sophomore and junior seasons. Does he work hard enough? Is he committed to improving his game? These are questions that will follow Nwora as the draft approaches.

Strengths

Nwora is a proven scorer. He averaged 17 points as a sophomore and 18 points as a junior. He did so wearing a target on his back, particularly this past season. Opponents game planned to slow him down and he still put up big numbers against very good competition. 

He’s also a very efficient three-point shooter. Nwora shot better than 37 percent from long range during his sophomore year. He was even better last season, making 40 percent of his three-point attempts. His combination of size and shooting ability is very attractive to NBA talent evaluators.  

Weaknesses

Ball handling and defense top the list. Nwora should be an effective spot-up shooter in the NBA but his ability to create his own shot is questionable. His ball handling skills need significant improvement to be considered NBA-ready.

There are also legitimate concerns about his ability to defend on the pro level. Is he quick enough to guard smaller players on the perimeter? Is he strong enough to hold his own in the paint and on the boards? If Nwora ends up slipping to the second round, the defensive question marks will be the biggest reason why. 

Fit

Nwora could very well be selected early in the second round. The Sixers currently own the 34th and 36th picks and they need shooters. Nwora certainly fits that description. 
    
The Sixers could target him for his shooting ability and live with his shortcomings on the defensive end of the floor. Nwora to the Sixers isn’t a far-fetched scenario and definitely warrants serious consideration.  

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