76ers

Landry Shamet sets Sixers rookie record for 3-pointers made in a game

Landry Shamet sets Sixers rookie record for 3-pointers made in a game

Landry Shamet’s coaches and teammates aren’t letting him coast through his rookie season.

He’s even been targeted a few times by Brett Brown for subpar defense, both publicly and privately, as player and coach have previously admitted.

Unlike most rookies, though, Shamet catches some flack for not shooting the ball enough.

“Every time he passes a shot down, I let him know to shoot the ball,” Ben Simmons said. “He knows he’s capable. Everybody believes in him and trusts in him to shoot the ball at a higher rate. I think it’s just a mental thing; he’s just got to shoot the ball.”

Shamet got up 15 shots in the Sixers’ 132-115 win Tuesday over the Wizards (see observations), and he made eight from three-point range. He caught fire during a 15-point third quarter on his way to a Sixers rookie record for three-pointers made during a game. 

After shooting 34.2 percent from the floor and 20 percent from three-point range over his last seven games, Shamet exploded for a career-high 29 points vs. the Wizards. 

Shamet, who Brown has called “a mini JJ,” replaced the 13-year veteran’s long-range shooting Tuesday night. Redick was out with lower-back tightness.

Though Redick didn't play, his influence on Shamet was a popular topic after Tuesday night’s game.

Brown doesn’t think Redick’s impact on the rookie should be underestimated.

He rattled through all the ways Shamet can learn from Redick beyond the post-practice workouts the two have done since Day 1 of training camp, including watching the many steps of Redick’s “maniacal” preparation. 

“It’s not just shooting with JJ, it’s everything else that goes along with JJ as a human being and as a pro that is just a wonderful example for a young player,” Brown said.

Brown has been asked countless times about Shamet, the No. 26 pick in this year’s draft, and whether he’s surprised by his contributions.

While he’s said in the past that he thought Shamet would start the season in the G League, Brown has also highlighted signs that made the Sixers optimistic about Shamet thriving in the NBA.

Following Shamet’s performance Tuesday, he pointed to the rookie’s quick release, something he says assistant coach Jim O’Brien immediately noticed when the Sixers worked out Shamet.

“The wiggle room in our league is so small, the ability to do that really ends up being an incredible advantage as you move forward in your career,” Brown said, “being able to get shots off against elite NBA athletes, and tonight he did.”

Shamet has always held himself to a high standard. He might not have expected 29-point nights as a rookie, but he doesn't find his success shocking.

Back on Oct. 14, he was asked if he thought he surprised people with his impressive preseason.

“If I have, I have,” Shamet said. “If not, then so be it. To me personally, the only thing I was worried about was just trying to get better. I didn’t surprise myself, that’s the way I look at it. I know what I’m capable of, and I have more in me. That wasn’t the best version of Landry Shamet even.”

Shamet’s teammates and coaches have grown to believe in him too, and while that may sometimes manifest as harsh criticism, he credits them for elevating his game.

“As a rookie, they’re hard on me,” he said. “From the coaches to my teammates, everybody expects something of me. I love kind of having that sense of responsibility to be better, be my best every night. I landed in a great situation. I couldn’t have been in a better spot.”

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To DNP-rest, or not to DNP-rest: That is the question facing Joel Embiid

To DNP-rest, or not to DNP-rest: That is the question facing Joel Embiid

It’s certainly not going out on a limb to say the Sixers’ success depends on the health and fitness level of Joel Embiid.

When he’s on the floor, he’s one of, if not the best center in the NBA. The issue for the Sixers is when he’s not on the floor — which happens more often than they’d like. The series against the Raptors was the most prime example. Embiid was a plus-89 in a series the team lost in seven games. Greg Monroe was a minus-9 in two (2!) minutes in Game 7. Yuck.

By now we all know about Embiid’s injury history. His knee tendinitis and illnesses dominated the headlines during the Sixers’ postseason run. The tendinitis could be attributed to Embiid playing 54 of the first 58 games of the season. Some have made the connection of Embiid's illnesses to a poor diet. Whatever the case, both mired Embiid's effectiveness.

There is good news: Embiid knows things need to get better. He knows he needs to be in better physical shape. He knows the Sixers will only have a long playoff run if he’s the best and healthiest version of himself. 

He also knows how he can accomplish that.

Looking at the way Toronto managed Kawhi [Leonard] all season … when you start thinking about back-to-backs and stuff like that, having a good team around you helps,” Embiid said during exit interviews. “Most of the time I kind of feel bad because I feel like I let everybody down by not playing or sitting out. If you see that and you know guys are going to take over and get the win — we have the talent to do so. I guess it’s an easy decision for me. I think as long as we got it all covered and we have an opportunity to win games without me, I’m open to it. … Just gotta keep working on my body. It’s only going to get better.

He has been looking rather svelte in his Instagram posts and shouldn’t have to feel bad about sitting out with the talent that’s been brought in.

Elton Brand was aggressive in signing veteran Al Horford. Horford will play with Embiid in the starting lineup at the four, but will also be the team’s primary backup center. There may not be a better backup five in the entire league. Horford’s abilities on both ends of the floor will soften the blow of having Embiid on the bench.

And let’s not forget about Kyle O’Quinn. The veteran big is solid defensively and would’ve served as a better option than any backup big Brett Brown went to against the Raptors. He’s a strong insurance policy as the team’s third-string center.

It also helps that the schedule makers were kind to the Sixers — and it doesn’t seem like it was an accident. The Sixers have no nationally televised games on the second half of back-to-backs, something our NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh pointed out as a guest on the Sixers Talk podcast last week. Clearly, those networks don't want to get burned if Embiid decides to rest.

Haberstroh actually wrote a piece about the very topic of the DNP-rest epidemic, discussing a company called Fansure. Fansure should appeal to Sixers fans as “an analytical start-up company that helps protect fans by offering reimbursement plans for tickets to games in which star player(s) sit out due to either rest or a last-minute injury.” (Then maybe angry fans will be less likely to be in reporter’s mentions … probably not.)

It’s also fair to wonder if medical personnel decisions will have any effect on all this with Embiid.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Philadelphia 76ers handle Embiid’s rest regimen," Haberstroh writes. "The team signed big man Al Horford to start next to him and potentially start at center in Embiid’s place if he needs a night off. Those decisions will come down to Embiid and new members of the medical staff after the team parted ways with two major voices — vice president of athlete care Dr. Danny Medina and director of performance research and development Dr. David Martin.

It’s tough to know the significance of Medina and Martin no longer being with the Sixers. The team has already begun filling in roles in the athlete care department. They’ve hired Lorena Torres-Ronda, formerly of the Spurs, as performance director. Expect more new names to be announced this week, per a team source.

While breathing new life into the athlete care department could help, it ultimately comes down to Embiid. 

Is he ready to listen to the advice of those around him and do what’s best for himself and the team? Will he feel comfortable letting his teammates try to win in back-to-back situations without him?

Guess we’ll find out starting Nov. 13, the second game of a back-to-back in Orlando.

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Sixers' Josh Richardson has a unique defensive challenge ahead

Sixers' Josh Richardson has a unique defensive challenge ahead

There are plenty of new things in store for Josh Richardson as one of the newest members of the 76ers, but there is one in particular that’s going to take some getting used to.

At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Richardson will be the smallest guy in the Sixers' starting lineup this upcoming season.

“I have never been that, ever in my life,” Richardson said with a laugh at the Sixers Summer Shore Tour in Wildwood, New Jersey. “It will be interesting looking up to my teammates, talking in huddles and stuff.”

On a serious note, Richardson is looking forward to the challenge on defense. Richardson guarded point guards quite a bit during his four years with the Miami Heat and has confidence he’ll be able to guard smaller guards.

“I know that I’ll be the shortest starter here and I don’t mind guarding all of the guys that like to get in the paint and use their speed a lot,” Richardson said.

One thing is for certain: Richardson is ready for the season to get started, especially after the NBA schedule release.

“I’m just excited," Richardson said. "I saw we open with Boston and I know there’s a little rivalry history there, so it’s going to be fun to be a part of that.”

And as for his former team?

“I always have Miami circled to go back there and compete against my brothers down there," Richardson said, "but I’m just ready, excited to compete every game.”

Richardson has kept in touch with Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Mike Scott throughout the offseason. He met Shake Milton for the first time, working out at the Sixers' training facility on Saturday morning.

The former Tennessee Volunteer has been getting his own work in this summer.

“Health, I think health is a big part, just being able to be out there for as many games as I can is going to be huge, and being able to make shots,” Richardson said of his offseason goals. “I think being a shot maker is going to be big for us.”

Looking back at the trade, despite there being a shock factor in the moments following, he couldn’t be more eager for this new opportunity. Richardson said his excitement occurred "almost instantly."

“After I started looking at the pictures of our lineup, it turned into straight excitement, like as soon as it happened,” Richardson said. “As long as we all gel, as long as we all have the same goal in mind, I think we’ll have a strong season.”

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