76ers

Joel Embiid has a new hairstyle and Brett Brown didn't even notice

Joel Embiid has a new hairstyle and Brett Brown didn't even notice

CAMDEN, N.J. — Physically, Joel Embiid has changed. He’s lost 20 pounds and said Monday he’s more focused than ever on his body and conditioning because, “I feel like if I take care of that stuff, basketball is going to be easier.”

He came into Day 1 of training camp Tuesday with another noticeable physical change — his hairstyle.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer got a good shot of Embiid’s new look.

Ben Simmons was a fan of the cornrows.

“Love it,” he said. “It’s the best haircut on the team. Rob Covington used to have it.”

Brett Brown, meanwhile, paused at a question about Embiid’s hair in the midst of talking about integrating Josh Richardson and Al Horford, being impressed by Trey Burke and the “spirit of the gym” on what he said was his best opening day of training camp as the Sixers’ head coach.

“I don’t even notice,” Brown said. “I’ll tell you what I loved — I loved his physical conditioning, I loved his adamance to get to the rim. I should be scolded for not paying attention to hairstyles, but I was more impressed with his body and his mentality of trying to get deep catches. I really noticed that.”

Though Brown has said the emphasis with Embiid offensively will be deep touches in the post, the big man wrapped up practice by working on his three-point shooting, as he often does. 

Once he was finished, he strolled over to talk with a crowd of reporters, and smiled when told of Brown’s reaction to his hairstyle. 

“That’s good, because we’re focused on winning a championship,” he said. “That’s what we care about it, and I don’t think we should focus on anything else or ‘does he have a new hairline?’ It doesn’t matter.”

With Embiid, the cornrows are indeed of negligible importance compared to his physical health. He said Tuesday that, after rehabbing the left knee tendinitis that nagged him throughout the playoffs last season, he’s doing well in that respect.

“It was good,” he said of a practice which Brown described as “purposeful” and Horford praised for its intensity. “Obviously it’s going to take some time to get back into the flow of the game because of limited action during the summer. But it was good. They kind of limited me a little bit, but I felt great.”

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NBA Rumors: Buddy Hield's comments should have Sixers fans intrigued

NBA Rumors: Buddy Hield's comments should have Sixers fans intrigued

The Sixers haven't even started the playoffs, but a potential offseason storyline is already bubbling up.

Kings guard Buddy Hield has been long tied to the Sixers as a potential trade target, from insider chatter to fan speculation, to his accidental (?) fueling of those rumors when he liked an Instagram post earlier this year with a hypothetical trade moving him to Philly.

So when the Kings' season ended Thursday, and Hield was asked if he's comfortable with his role off the bench in Sacramento heading into next season, his answer raised some eyebrows.

Including, I'd imagine, some in Philadelphia.

Here's what Hield had to say:

[Hield] provided a series of short answers during a Zoom session with reporters and offered a cryptic response when asked if he could be content with his role going into next season.

"Y'all know me," Hield said. "Y'all know how I talk. Y'all know how I feel. Y'all can read me well, so I'll let y'all answer that yourselves."

Pretty spicy. That doesn't sound like someone who wants to stay where he is!

Hield signed a four-year extension with Sacramento last October, but the Kings regressed in their first year under head coach Luke Walton, and The Athletic reported in February that Hield, unhappy with his role, might be eyeing a move elsewhere.

It doesn't sound like Hield's concerns about his role have changed much since then. If he's unhappy, he could theoretically ask for a trade - or Sacramento could pre-emptively try to get something for the still-young shooter.

I examined the potential fit back in April, including the hypothetical Hield-for-Horford deal from that fateful Instagram post:

In terms of contract length and salary hit, the Hield and Horford deals are strikingly similar, and Hield's game would be an instant improvement for the Sixers' offensive spacing: he's a two-guard who shoots a career 41.1 percent from deep, and can create his own shot. Plus, he's substantially younger than Horford.

Will the move happen? If the Kings deem their relationship with Hield unfixable, it's possible. Horford hasn't fit well in Philly, but he's still a savvy veteran with a good track record. And Hield would certainly check the boxes for the Sixers' front office.

Hield shot 39% from deep this year on 9.5 (!) three-point attempts per game, is a career 41% three-point shooter over 315 games, and would be a perfect match for the Sixers. 

We'll see.

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2020 NBA playoffs: Schedule for Sixers-Celtics series is set

2020 NBA playoffs: Schedule for Sixers-Celtics series is set

The Sixers’ second playoff series against the Celtics in three seasons is on the horizon, and we now know exactly when it will begin.

The series will kick off Monday at 6:30 p.m., the Sixers’ first postseason game since Kawhi Leonard’s indelible buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the second round on May 12, 2019. 

Below is the full schedule, with all times Eastern Standard Time:

Game 1: Monday, Aug. 17 — Sixers at Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — Sixers at Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 3: Friday, Aug. 21 — Sixers vs. Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 23 — Sixers vs. Celtics, 1 p.m. 
Game 5: Tuesday, Aug. 25 — Sixers at Celtics, TBD
Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 27 — Sixers vs. Celtics, TBD 
Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 29 — Sixers at Celtics, TBD

Of course, Games 5 through 7 will only be played if necessary, and there’s no such thing as a true home game when the teams are playing at Disney World during a pandemic. The Sixers do have PA announcer Matt Cord virtually handling starting lineup introductions, plus the Wendy’s Frosty Freeze-out and other trademarks of a usual home game. They were 29-2 at Wells Fargo Center this season before the NBA’s hiatus, the best home mark in the league. 

Led by All-Stars Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, Boston should be favored in this series against a Sixers team missing Ben Simmons. The 24-year-old had surgery Monday to remove a loose body from his left knee, leaving the Sixers reliant on Joel Embiid and complementary pieces like Josh Richardson and Al Horford. Tobias Harris, who has averaged 22.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in the Sixers’ seeding games, will also likely need to elevate his game. 

Embiid is listed as questionable because of left ankle soreness for the team’s final seeding game Friday night at 9 p.m. against the Rockets. He had a short night Wednesday vs. the Raptors after being hit on the right wrist and had negative X-rays on his hand.

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