76ers

An oral history of Ben Simmons' first made 3-pointer

An oral history of Ben Simmons' first made 3-pointer

To better understand the historical moment on Tuesday night in which Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons took and made a three-point shot, we went to the players, coach, fans, and broadcasters who were there to witness it to tell the story.

Josh Richardson, new guy: "I was wondering why the crowd was standing up and everything, and I was like, 'What's happening?' And I looked at the situation and I looked at the clock, and I was like, 'Ah, OK.' So, I kind of stood in the corner and kind of did this with my hands like, 'Shoot it if you want it, bro.'"

Tweets_by_Zo, superfan sitting in section 113 row AA: "He had the ball, then pulled it back out for the last play, typical end of quarter procedure, but then everyone just kept yelling 'SHOOT!'. Embiid was 10 feet away yelling at him, Mike Scott was urging the crowd to get him to do it, both f***ing hilarious to be honest."

Tom McGinnis, 76ers radio voice: "Was an Eagles player walking by or something? I didn't know what the crowd was reacting to."

Serena Winters, play-by-play announcer for NBC Sports Philadelphia telecast last night: "I know we’re supposed to be unbiased but... ‘Please go in, please go in, please go in,’ is what I remember thinking when that ball left his fingertips."

Ben Simmons, three-point shooter: "Time running down, I had the ball, so I had to take a shot.”

Brett Brown, coach: "He made a shot. Good."

Tweets_by_Zo: "Ben made the shot and I levitated."

Serena Winters: "But in all honesty, I’m pretty sure I blacked out when Ben drilled it from deep, and I was on the call! It felt like an eternity from when the time the fans were on their feet to the moment you knew it was going in. I just fed off the energy in the arena, and seeing Joel Embiid get hyped and embrace Ben like he did was the icing on the cake."

Brett Brown: "I think the whole thing is so overblown. I think in general, it's so inflated the attention, and that's what I think. … He's young, we got a long season."

Enrico Campitelli, sports blogger: "That's okay. We'll overreact for you."

Erin Dunne, social media guru for @NBCSPhilly: "I've been sitting on a premade video for about half a year now, quietly buried deep in the depths of my "Sixers Sh**post" folder. Every game, I would open the photoshop document, then sadly close the photoshop document when the clock hit zero and there was no three-pointer made by Ben Simmons. I didn't even open it for the preseason game on the night it happened. The newsroom was dead silent for a split second, before we sprang into action. My computer froze at least twice in those two minutes it took to release the social video and to be honest, I am not even sure what I wrote."

Mike Scott, Redskins fan: "We’ve all seen videos of him over the summer hitting them. That’s all his hard work. And a lot more to go. I’m glad he’s confident, he’s shooting it and it was cash. He cashed out.”

Stephen A. Smith, loud talker: "I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again: if Ben Simmons develops a jump shot, the 76ers will win the NBA Title."

Tobias Harris, savvy vet: "He’s one of the best shooters to ever shoot the basketball. Let it fly. He’s 100 percent from three, so I don’t want to hear nothing.”

Ben Simmons, gunslinger: "I work every day, so to me, it shows. I’m in the gym every day putting in work, so I feel like it’s paying off.”

Brett Brown: "I'm just not gonna react over it, and I really mean that. He made a three.”

Sixers fans: "When's the parade down Broad Street?"

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A sneak peek at the Sixers' 2019-20 City Edition jerseys

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A sneak peek at the Sixers' 2019-20 City Edition jerseys

It appears we got our first peek at the Sixers’ 2019-20 City Edition uniforms.

Though the uniform won’t officially come out until Wednesday morning, team president Chris Heck gave us a sneak peek Tuesday during the last night of the 76ers Crossover: Art Exhibition.

The design is similar to the 2017-18 version, but with “Philadelphia” written and the copper stripe down the side. The copper stripe appears to be an ode to the Liberty Bell. Before Heck entered the exhibit, he said the jerseys would “tell a story.”

Apparently, that story is America’s. We’ll likely get more info when the uniforms are officially released.

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Sixers' imperfect fit has led to growing pains offensively

Sixers' imperfect fit has led to growing pains offensively

CAMDEN, N.J. — Through 13 games, the Sixers’ offense has been far from a well-oiled machine.

There are plenty of factors contributing to that. Joel Embiid missing four games hasn’t helped. Ben Simmons missing two hasn’t either.

But the biggest factor — other than perhaps Simmons’ unwillingness to shoot — is time.

Brett Brown, who slyly remarked, “I have no idea what you're talking about” Tuesday on reports that he’s in talks to coach Team Australia in 2020, has often cited Christmas as a time when he expects things to start to come together. Though he was vocal about his disappointment with the team’s defense in their loss last Friday in Oklahoma City, Brown is feeling good about that end of the floor.

But offensively, with his team’s size, it can be an awkward fit. Al Horford is figuring out how to play with a center as dominant as Embiid. Josh Richardson is learning how to play next to a 6-foot-10 point guard that doesn’t shoot from the outside. And Tobias Harris is still figuring out exactly what his role is.

It’s up to Brown and the players to figure it out, but it won’t happen overnight.

“But at some point, when somebody claims that part of the floor, other people have to react to like, well, that real estate's bought,” Brown said. “That takes time. And forget the coach on the sideline saying it, I bet if you ask the players, they'll give you heartfelt -- I hope -- answers on the truth and this is my point: You don't just click your heels [and win], even with talent. 

“This is a different type of team. It's not like you got a traditional point guard, a bunch of shooters, you know Joel Embiid and a stretch four — it's not that. It ain't that at all. I like what I got. I like the people, I like the talent, but it's not a perfect fit that happens straightaway. And that's not an excuse. That's just the way I truly see it.”

Horford’s struggles while playing next to Embiid are evident. His best minutes as a Sixer have been when being used at the five with Embiid out. He’s also shooting just 31.6 percent from three after connecting on 38.2 percent of tries during three years in Boston.

Though he wasn’t as willing to give a timeframe for things to come together, he echoed his coach’s sentiments about the team’s offense — and defense.

“I think we're just a unique team,” Horford said. “We want to play a certain way and it's more in the paint, bully ball and scoring at will with that. We need to continue to find ways to be efficient scoring in the paint but also hitting shots. But I always go back to defense. The more comfortable that we feel defensively I think that'll take us out of a lot of jams and put us in good position.”

There’s little doubt this team was built more for April and May than it was for November. We’ve seen stretches of how good they can be defensively when all five guys are engaged and on the same page.

One area where they should certainly be better and that can help them when the games get tougher is getting to the line. They're 21st in the league in free throw attempts per game. With their size, this should be a team that lives at the line.

Why is there such a disparity on a nightly basis?

“It's a trick question. I don't want to lose no money so ain't going to say nothing,” Harris said. 

When the reporter clarified that it was not a trick question, Harris gave a layered response.

“Look, my whole career I've haven't been really able to get to the free throw line at a consistent rate that I would like to. I've watched film, done a lot of studying how to draw those files and whatnot. It's still a work in progress. I'm not a flopper so I think that kind of like hinders me sometimes a little bit. 

“I think we can find some more ways to kind of get to the free throw line a little bit more [as a team]. Maybe that's limiting some midrange jumpers and getting all the way downhill. Maybe being more physical. But we'll work at it.”

Like everything else with the 2019-20 Sixers, it’s a work in progress.

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