76ers

Raptors 113, Sixers 102: Turnover-prone Sixers overmatched by Raptors yet again

Raptors 113, Sixers 102: Turnover-prone Sixers overmatched by Raptors yet again

BOX SCORE

Another game in Toronto and another turnover-ridden loss.

The Sixers looked overmatched yet again and turned the ball over 21 times Wednesday in a 113-102 loss to the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

The loss drops the Sixers to 17-9 on the season and snaps their four-game winning streak. They still haven’t won in Toronto in over five years.

• Joel Embiid struggled against all three of the Raptors’ centers, especially Jonas Valanciunas. Embiid finished with just 10 points on 5 of 17 shooting, while Valanciunas scored 26 points in just 17 minutes.

You can see the frustration grow throughout the game with Embiid and it culminated in a technical foul in the fourth quarter. You have to give credit to the Raptors who played him tough. 

Embiid did have 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

• After turning the ball over 23 times back in their Oct. 30 loss, the same issue reared its ugly head, even with Jimmy Butler — who was outstanding — in the fold. You simply can’t turn the ball over that much against an elite team on the road. Toronto’s defense really stifled the Sixers all night.

• The Sixers didn’t have Butler the last time these teams met and the four-time All-Star certainly made his presence felt. He was brilliant, finishing with a season-high 38 points and taking over for a stretch in the third quarter.

This type of tough and-one finish is what a guy like Butler brings.

The offensive chemistry between Butler and Ben Simmons continues to grow as well.

Butler’s brilliance on both ends wasn’t enough to overcome the team’s turnover woes.

• Simmons was better than his 11-turnover performance last time in Toronto, but he wasn’t the assertive player we’ve seen recently. 

He was playing more free and confident against former Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard but still struggled with Leonard’s elite length and instincts. 

This behind-the-back pass to Jimmy Butler was a beaut though.

Simmons finished with eight points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds but also turned the ball over seven times.

• Speaking of Leonard, he killed the Sixers on both ends tonight. He’s looking like the player that’s finished in the top three in MVP voting twice in his career. He looks well on his way to doing so again … if he doesn’t just win the thing.

He had 36 points.

• Lost in how great Butler, Embiid and Simmons are is the brilliance of JJ Redick.

The Sixers had played 10 games with Butler coming into the night. In that span, Redick is averaging 19.1 points while shooting 50 percent from the field and 39 percent from three. 

Redick was spectacular again tonight with 26 points.

• The bench has been a weak spot for the Sixers and it looked overmatched against the Raptors’ second unit. The athleticism Toronto brings off the bench with OG Anunoby, Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet far exceed what the Sixers have. Valanciunas’ big night gave the Raptors a 41-18 advantage.

T.J. McConnell gave the Sixers energy and five steals but also contributed to the turnover issues with five. Mike Muscala gave them a little jolt, playing tough defense and pulling down eight rebounds.

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NBA offseason begins in earnest as Lakers reportedly agree to trade with Pelicans for Anthony Davis

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USA Today Images/Derick E. Hingle

NBA offseason begins in earnest as Lakers reportedly agree to trade with Pelicans for Anthony Davis

It didn’t take long for the NBA offseason to begin in earnest.

Just two days after the Raptors clinched the NBA title, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired star center Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. In return, the Pelicans are getting Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 selection in this year’s draft. 

The move has massive big-picture implications for the league. The Lakers now have a six-time All-Star with career averages of 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks to pair with LeBron James.

New Orleans got a substantial haul in return. Ball and Ingram, two former No. 2 overall picks, are both 21 years old. A Villanova product, Hart couldn’t build on a promising rookie campaign last year but has the makings of someone who can be a valuable NBA role player for many years. The Pelicans will also feel they have a real chance to land a star(s) with the three first-round picks, whether through the draft or through subsequent trades. They already had the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and are expected to select the electric Zion Williamson. 

According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the Lakers gave up all that for one guaranteed year of Davis — Haynes says Davis will enter free agency after this year. The fact that Toronto’s gamble to trade for one year of Kawhi Leonard before he hit free agency paid off could spark a league-wide trend of banking on short-term "rentals" for stars (see story). 

For the Sixers, the first, obvious takeaway from the trade is that their biggest rival failed to land Davis — the Celtics were reportedly interested in him, but The New York Times’ Marc Stein reports Boston refused to make Jayson Tatum available, which stunted negotiations. 

It’s unclear at the moment how the trade might affect Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris, the Sixers' two big-name free agents. Haynes reported Friday that Butler, as expected, will decline his player option. He also reported the Lakers “have genuine interest” in Butler. The Sixers hold Butler’s Bird Rights and are the only team who can offer him a five-year, $190 million deal.  

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2019 NBA draft profile: Louis King has a ton of upside for the Sixers in the second round

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USA Today Images

2019 NBA draft profile: Louis King has a ton of upside for the Sixers in the second round

Position: Forward

Height: 6-8    

Weight: 195

School: Oregon

King, a forward out of Jersey City, New Jersey, bounced around three different high schools. That didn’t prevent him from being a five-star recruit and a McDonald’s All-American. King chose to attend Oregon over Kansas, among others.

King spent just one season at Eugene but made a strong impact. He helped the Ducks win the Pac-12 Tournament and a pair of NCAA Tournament games before losing to national champion Virginia. King made the conference’s All-Freshman team and was also named to the All-Pac-12 Tournament team after posting 16.5 points and shooting 40 percent from three in four tourney games.

Strengths

You can see why King was considered one of the top 25 recruits in the country coming out of high school. He has tremendous size and length but is also super skilled. He can really shoot the basketball, hitting 38.6 percent of his threes and 78.5 percent of his free throws in his lone season at Oregon. He’s not just a spot-up guy either. He showed the ability to shoot off the dribble and looked pretty natural doing it. He has the size of a power forward but has a perimeter skill set. His length and athleticism project extremely well on the defensive end at the next level. He has a chance to be the switchable defender most teams are looking for in the increasingly positionless NBA.

Weaknesses

You can also see why King will likely land in the second round. He’s under 200 pounds and while his profile defensively projects well at the next level, it’s most definitely a projection. He’s timid and you could see him getting bullied at the next level by bigger, stronger players. He’s definitely a little raw as far his decision making and shot selection. His feel for the game in general could be better. He also suffered a torn meniscus during his senior year in high school that caused him to miss the beginning of last season.

Fit

There are plenty of tools to work with here, but King is likely going to be a redshirt-type player if a decent team drafts him. Offensively, his skill set is special at his size. If he can develop his feel for the game and put on some muscle, he could turn into something special. Should the team that takes a shot at King be the Sixers? At 24, definitely not. At 33 or 34? Perhaps. At 42? It’s a no-brainer. You can add King to your roster and have him stay fresh and develop in Delaware. He’ll be coached into your system while getting to spend time around your NBA team.

“He’s really skilled,” director of scouting Vince Rozman said after the team had King in for a workout last week. “He has great size. He can handle and kind of make plays off the dribble … His shot is obviously very, very attractive and projectable. He’s here for a reason. There’s no doubt.”

King might not be the sexiest pick, but as we’ve seen from this year’s NBA champions, sometimes it’s worth taking a flyer on a projectable player that can develop in the G League. He may not help the Sixers in the present but could develop into a big part of their future.

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