76ers

With Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic out, Jonah Bolden might be shifting Sixers' backup center situation

With Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic out, Jonah Bolden might be shifting Sixers' backup center situation

Jonah Bolden has seen quite a few things in his first NBA season. He’s suffered injuries, played in the G League, started, come off the bench. It sure feels as if he’s played more than 33 NBA games. 

And after game No. 33, a 120-117 loss to the Warriors on Saturday night (see observations), Bolden looks like he deserves a shot at meaningful playoff minutes for the Sixers.

With Joel Embiid (left knee tendinitis) and Boban Marjanovic (bone bruise and right knee sprain) out, Bolden has started the Sixers’ last two games, and he’s impressed. He’s shot a combined 10 for 12 with 26 points, six rebounds, two blocks and just one turnover. 

After missing 15 of his first 17 three-point NBA attempts, Bolden has nailed 20 of his last 45 (44.4 percent).

The 6-foot-10 Australian said he never lost faith in his jumper.

“Not going away from what I do,” he said. “I can go a couple games where my shot’s not falling and I’m not going to think any less of myself. I’ve always thought I could shoot from Day 1, so it was just a matter of time. Getting the opportunity, learning with the guys and being in the right spots.”

Through all the changes, Bolden has stayed confident in himself. He’s the type of rookie who likes his prospects against six-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, shoots without hesitation and makes savvy fashion decisions like wearing a retro Phillies uniform on the day of Bryce Harper’s introductory press conference. 

"The coaches have helped," Bolden said. "Coach [Jim] O’Brien came up to me a couple of times, telling me, ‘Stay locked in.’ You never know. The league’s very opportunistic. Coach likes to talk about we’ve had three teams this year. With each team, my role has shifted or my opportunities have risen or lessened. I’m not really taking in the negatives, moreso just waiting for the opportunity. The opportunity is here and I’m just making the most of it."

Bolden’s game can still be rough around the edges. He’s cut down on his turnovers recently, but foul trouble remains an issue — he picked up his fifth early in the fourth quarter against Golden State. Though it’s a problem he’s aware of, he doesn’t want concern over fouls to have an excessive influence on his game. 

“Nah, not really,” he said of whether there’s a way he can avoid foul trouble in the future. “Obviously it’s not good, but I’m not going to take away from my defensive ability by stepping off and not doing what I need to do, foul or not.”

Soon enough, Embiid and Marjanovic will be back, and the doubt over Bolden’s role will yet again resurface. The concerns about his rookie mistakes — the turnovers, the fouls, appearing not to properly follow the play on one after-timeout set Saturday night — will still be there. 

Ultimately, they might lead Brown not to trust Bolden in the playoffs. But given Marjanovic’s struggles against more agile big men and Bolden's recent resurgence, he's at least inserted himself into the discussion. 

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Knicks targeting Elton Brand as GM? Sixers 'very happy' with him, per team source

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Knicks targeting Elton Brand as GM? Sixers 'very happy' with him, per team source

The Knicks could be looking within the Sixers' organization during their GM search.

Team president Leon Rose has reportedly “targeted” Sixers GM Elton Brand for the same role with the Knicks, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The report went on to say that Rose would wait to see if Brand, 41, would be let go after this year’s playoffs.

It’s a little hard to imagine the Sixers parting ways with Brand despite the team underperforming this season. Though his big moves of stealing Al Horford away from the Celtics, acquiring Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler and signing Tobias Harris to a near-max deal haven’t panned out, the organization seems to be high on Brand.

A team source on Wednesday confirmed Brand is under contract beyond this season and said the organization is very happy with his work since being named GM in 2018. The source cited Brand's leadership and strong working relationships with players, agents, and executives around the league.

That's in line with what managing partner Josh Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia back in October.

“When the Bryan Colangelo situation occurred, we went through a really long search to try to figure out who was the right person for the job of general manager,” Harris said. “Obviously, [Brand] hadn't been in the front office very long, but all of his strength as a leader and his intelligence and his ability to communicate and his history with the game and with our team and with our city. All those things really were very large in the decision. …

“… and he's increasingly putting his insignia, his imprint on the team, and it's really great. I mean, today's NBA is a player's league. He was an All-Star player not that long ago. He's a really unique person. So I'm really happy that we're working together.”

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Which era of Sixers basketball would make the best documentary?

Which era of Sixers basketball would make the best documentary?

The Sixers are a franchise rich in history and, let’s face it, rich in drama.

With ESPN moving up the release of The Last Dance, a documentary about the dominance of Michael Jordan and the Bulls in their last Finals run, it sparked an interesting debate on the Sixers Talk podcast.

Which era of Sixers basketball would you most like to see a documentary on?

Co-hosts Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick both made the case for Dr. J, Moses Malone and the teams of 1980’s … but for very different reasons.

Don’t get me wrong,” Hudrick said, “some of The Process stuff would be great to get some behind-the-scenes nuggets of what was going on there with some of the decisions that were made and getting some answers to the questions that we’ve all had. …

“[In a documentary on the 1980’s team] we can all go back and watch and see, ‘Oh, Dr. J, he won a championship.’ But to get that context of there were people who were doubting him and then he proved them all wrong. It’s little stuff like that you don’t know about until you go and watch [a documentary] like that.

Pommells agreed with wanting to see something on that era, but wasn’t nearly as interested in reliving The Process years.

To hell with The Process. I ain’t trying to watch nothing on that. I lived through it, I experienced all these little idiosyncrasies. I think once the Bryan Colangelo thing happened, that completely let me know that I was over it, past it, finished with it, ready to move on — because I’m just exasperated at this point. …

“It would be a black eye on the Philadelphia sports landscape.

Do you agree with Pommells? Would you rather see something on the Allen Iverson-led teams? Or way back in the Wilt Chamberlain-Hal Greer days?

For more on the debate, check out the full Sixers Talk podcast below.

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