76ers

Sixers are reportedly interested in Dewayne Dedmon, but backup center should be low on list of trade deadline needs

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Sixers are reportedly interested in Dewayne Dedmon, but backup center should be low on list of trade deadline needs

The idea of a championship contender relying on a rookie for significant minutes in the playoffs is instinctively objectionable, especially one who still makes “rookie mistakes” like falling for pump fakes and randomly tossing the ball into no man’s land.

But, given the Sixers’ current situation and the impressive talent they have in the rangy, athletic Jonah Bolden, having a rookie back up Joel Embiid in the postseason might ultimately be the Sixers’ smartest option.

The team reportedly is exploring outside options at backup center. On Wednesday, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported the Atlanta Hawks' Dewayne Dedmon “has drawn the Sixers’ interest.”

In a vacuum, Dedmon would be a nice addition for the Sixers. He’s proven himself as a valuable NBA player since an 11-game stint on the 2013-14 Sixers in Brett Brown’s first season on the job. Like Bolden, Dedmon is a good athlete who can stretch the floor (36.1 percent on 2.6 three-point attempts per game over the last two seasons). He’s posting 10.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and one block per game this season for the Hawks.

Trades, however, obviously don’t occur in a vacuum. Bontemps notes that, to land Dedmon, “the 76ers would likely have to do something they have so far been resistant to, per sources: trading 2017 No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz.”

Fultz’s trade value is, to put it mildly, not as high as it once was. He hasn’t played a basketball game since Nov. 19 and, though Fultz and his agent Raymond Brothers expect him to play again this season, we’ve yet to hear the Sixers say anything definitive. On the day the Sixers embarked on their current West Coast road trip, Brett Brown was honest in saying he didn’t know when the second-year guard would progress to on-court, basketball workouts in his rehab for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Even if the Hawks were willing to take a chance on Fultz’s potential and trade him straight-up for Dedmon, it’s not a move that makes a lot of sense for the Sixers.

The first reason is the presence of Bolden. 

The 6-foot-10 Australian has thrived as Embiid’s backup since Jan. 15, when he took over that role on a full-time basis. Over his past seven games, Bolden has played 12.7 minutes per night and averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He’s even shooting an unsustainably high 55.6 percent (10 for 18) from three-point range since Jan. 15 — although that’s just balancing out his 3 for 17 start from long range. 

When Bolden is on the floor, the Sixers have a 102.7 defense rating. That rises to 107.4 when he’s on the bench. With his length, excellent shot-blocking instincts, and ability to hang with perimeter players on switches, the old “eye test” supports the stats about Bolden’s defense. 

The second reason is — even if we momentarily remove ourselves from the constant discussion about Fultz’s unusual situation and whether the Sixers should be willing to trade him in a win-now move — a backup center like Dedmon shouldn’t be the Sixers’ highest trade deadline priority.

You might recall Brown said on Dec. 21 that he wanted a “perimeter defensive player” to fill the Sixers’ open roster spot. General manager Elton Brand acquired such a player in the pesky, speedy Corey Brewer, but the Sixers are still clearly short on capable perimeter players. Paul Hudrick covered a few names who fit that description a couple days ago. 

The playoffs might sound like a daunting proposition for a rookie who’s spent time in the G-League this season. But realistically, all the Sixers would need from Bolden in the postseason is 10 minutes per game of good defense behind Embiid and, as a bonus, the occasional three-point shot. Taking into account the Sixers’ more pressing need on the perimeter, Bolden is worth trusting in such a role.

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Another Ben Simmons highlight reel video shows a lot ... even some jumpers

Another Ben Simmons highlight reel video shows a lot ... even some jumpers

Since announcing that he was not playing in the FIBA World Cup, Ben Simmons has been hitting the gym to prepare for his third season in the NBA. 

When he was asked at the end of the 2018-19 season what he wanted to improve, Simmons responded in a way you’d want a team leader to: “I think for me, I just want to get better all around.

“Become a better and more efficient player. Just keep growing into a better player. There’s no one individual spot. I’m going to work on everything and continue to let my game grow.” 

It’s no secret that his biggest struggle since starting his career has been his jump shot, but a recent video on trainer Chris Johnson's Instagram page may have indicated that Simmons is stepping it up a notch.

Even though he is only 23 years old, it was clear that Simmons took on a much more prominent leadership role last season — not only in the locker room, but on the court, as well. 

Of course, no training session of his is completed without a few of his signature dunks that helped make him the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year and a 2019 All-Star.

But at the end of the day, we have seen these videos before. Now, it’s not about what we see in practice or pickup games, but rather during the season itself.

So, will this finally be the summer that Simmons develops his shot? Only time will tell. 

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'The Joel Embiid Shirley Temple Making Show' is must-watch for Sixers fans

'The Joel Embiid Shirley Temple Making Show' is must-watch for Sixers fans

Joel Embiid has always embraced his love for Shirley Temples.

Now he's ready for you to love the sweet drink, too.

Embiid discovered his favorite beverage during his one season at Kansas. It has become quite popular in Philadelphia with the big man's rise to stardom. If you recall, the Sixers even had a Shirley Temple night during the 2017-18 season to promote Embiid's All-Star campaign.

Well, now you have Embiid's secret recipe, courtesy of "The Joel Embiid Shirley Temple Making Show." As Embiid says in the episode, he likes his drink "extra, extra, extra sweet."

With temperatures teetering on the brink of triple digits in the Delaware Valley lately, you might as well use Embiid's help and make yourself a Shirley Temple to cool down. The ingredients are rather simple and we should always trust the process.

So, thank you, JoJo.

The big fella is always looking out for the fans.

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