76ers

NBA draft profile: Miami SG Lonnie Walker IV

NBA draft profile: Miami SG Lonnie Walker IV

Lonnie Walker IV     

Position: Shooting guard

Height: 6-4

Weight: 196

School: Miami

Walker, a Reading native, was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of Reading High School. He was considered one of the top recruits in the class and the No. 1 recruit out of Pennsylvania.

Walker was a one-and-done volume scorer for the Hurricanes. After starting just one of Miami’s first 14 games, he became a fixture as a starter over the final 18 contests. In that 18-game span, Walker averaged 14 points a game while shooting 41 percent from the field and 36 percent from three (6.3 attempts a game). Overall, he finished with a team-high 11.5 points a night.

He was named All-ACC rookie first team and All-ACC honorable mention. He was just the fourth Miami freshman to lead the team in scoring.

Strengths
Walker is a flat-out scorer. He has a smooth shooting stroke and he’s not afraid to show it off. He’s an aggressive slasher with an explosive first step. He makes quick decisions and gets downhill in a hurry. He’s creative finishing at the rim and can finish through contact. He also features a nice floater.

Defensively, he has the wingspan (6-10) and quick feet to grow into a good NBA defender. 

Weaknesses
Walker’s handle and vision are just OK. His overall offensive feel, including shot selection, is lacking at times. He’s a little undersized at the two so longer defenders may cause him problems. He’s not great moving off the ball. While his shot is smooth, he could benefit from a quicker release.

His defense wasn’t consistent. Might struggle defensively with bigger and stronger twos.

NBA comparison
The Dallas Mavericks’ Wesley Matthews. Like Matthews, Walker is a microwave scorer with strong slashing ability and a smooth outside shot. Walker is a more explosive athlete – a more explosive version of Matthews would be a damn good basketball player.

How he'd fit with Sixers
He’d be a really intriguing fit. I’m not sure he could help them next season, but developing him as a volume scorer to come off the bench could be the move. The concern would be the similarities between Walker and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz. They both have that herky-jerky style that allows them to create space, though Fultz was obviously the better college player.

He’d likely spend the majority of his rookie year in the G-League, but the Sixers could use more shot creators and shot makers in their pipeline. Walker certainly fits that bill.

Draft projection
Walker will likely be there at 10. He could go anywhere from the Sixers’ pick to the late teens. He did have surgery for a torn meniscus about a year ago. If the medicals check out, he's likely a top-15 pick.

Sixers round out training camp roster with Emeka Okafor

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Sixers round out training camp roster with Emeka Okafor

Before the Sixers tip off the 2018-19 season with practice Saturday, the team made one more addition to the roster.

They brought back Okafor.

Sorry, not that one. The Sixers signed Emeka Okafor, who spent the 2017-18 training camp and preseason with the squad. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Okafor rounds out the Sixers’ training camp roster to 20 players.

After being waived last preseason, Okafor latched on with the Sixers’ Gatorade League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats (then the 87ers). The No. 2 pick of the 2004 draft played 26 games for Delaware before making the leap back to regular-season NBA action with the New Orleans Pelicans. Okafor also played 26 games for the Pelicans (19 starts) and averaged 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 block in 13.6 minutes per game.

The 35-year-old had previously been out of the league for four years while recovering from a severe neck injury.

Coincidentally, Okafor, who was cut by the Pelicans earlier this week, will likely his minutes in New Orleans taken over by former Sixer Jahlil Okafor.

The Sixers’ full training camp roster is below:

Jerryd Bayless, G, 6-3/210
Jonah Bolden, F, 6-10/220
Anthony Brown, G/F, 6-7/225
Wilson Chandler, F, 6-9/225
Robert Covington, F, 6-9/225
Joel Embiid, C, 7-0/260
Markelle Fultz, G, 6-4/200 
Demetrius Jackson, G, 6-1/200
Amir Johnson, F/C, 6-9/240
Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, 6-7/185
T.J. McConnell, G, 6-2/190
Shake Milton, G, 6-6/205 
Mike Muscala, F/C, 6-11/240
Emeka Okafor, C, 6-10/255
Norvel Pelle, C, 6-11/215
JJ Redick, G, 6-4/195
Dario Saric, F, 6-10/250
Landry Shamet, G, 6-5/190
Ben Simmons, G/F, 6-10/230
Zhaire Smith, G, 6-4/200

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Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Jerryd Bayless saga lingers into training camp

Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Jerryd Bayless saga lingers into training camp

CAMDEN, N.J. — There were 19 players in uniform for the Sixers during Friday’s annual media day and each one strutted through the team’s training facility eager to get the new season underway.

Well, maybe not all of them.

Jerryd Bayless was less than thrilled to be back in the building. The veteran guard found himself glued to the bench for most of last season and now enters the final year of his contract likely staring at a similar fate.

“It’s not a normal situation, that’s for sure. It’s not the easiest,” Bayless said. “This is business. I think sometimes that can get lost in the thought of basketball, but at the end of the day, this is business. I get it. I get it from both sides. I get it from their perspective and I get it from my perspective, so it is what it is.”

Despite not being projected to make an impact on the court, the 30-year-old Bayless doesn’t plan on being a distraction.  

“Truthfully, my relationships within this organization are great,” he said. “There’s obviously been some situations that haven’t gone well, but for the most part, if you go around with all the players and most of the people that are within this organization, I have great relationships. It’s not that Jerryd’s gonna change or I’m gonna change and I’m gonna do something crazy because a lot of these people I really respect.

“My role on this team obviously isn’t where I would want it to be and that’s part of it. It’s part of life. Things don’t always go the way you want them to. We’ll get through it. I’ll get through it and then figure it out.” 

Long time no see
NBA players jet all across the globe when the season ends. That means they don’t get to see teammates much throughout the summer.

It also means guys get set up fun reunions.

That was the case when Joel Embiid ran into fellow center Amir Johnson. Embiid stood off to the side while Johnson answered questions at the podium. Then the All-Star stepped in to whisper something in Johnson’s ear.

“You’ve got to say that again because Jo was just talking s——,” Johnson said with a smile.

The best re-introduction came when T.J. McConnell walked out of a room and spotted Embiid. He bowed and waved his arms up and down to indicate he was not worthy of the All-Star’s presence. 

Quotables
“As soon as I heard the news, I just thought about two years ago now I remember dunking on him. We actually talked about it when he got the job when I texted him. I just remember dunking on him really bad and I was like that’s crazy. That was two years ago. Two years ago, he was still playing with us and now he’s our GM. Much respect and I was happy for him.”

- Embiid on Elton Brand being named general manager

“I was able to go to Italy. I think it’s a pretty good upgrade from my last honeymoon. Spent about 12 days out there, so it was a pretty life-changing trip for us. A lot of water was drank and pasta.”

- McConnell on taking his wife on vacation after they spent their honeymoon last year in Camden

Fun fact
If you go by the Sixers’ training camp bios packet, veteran forward Wilson Chandler has about as many nicknames as tattoos.

Chandler’s nicknames include “Wil,” “Ill Wil,” “Kill at Wil,” “Wil the Thrill,” “Willie Blanco” and “Willie McFly.”

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