76ers

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as 2nd female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

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Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as 2nd female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

The Sixers have made a historic hire in their scouting department.

The team has hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as a full-time scout starting next season. 

"I think when you have this goal in mind, your gender shouldn't even matter," Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. "It should be about if you can do it, if you're good, you're experienced, if you know what you're doing and what you're talking about."

Harding, a Duke product and the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 WNBA draft, is just the second woman to be hired by an NBA team as a scout after a career in the WNBA. Jenny Boucek, who is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was the first former WNBA player to be hired as a scout back in 2006 by the Seattle SuperSonics. Becky Hammon, one of Harding's former opponents who urged Harding to pursue this path, was hired as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon has since been interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' GM job and been promoted to Gregg Popovich's top assistant.

Harding completed the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season after retiring in 2017. The 34-year-old guard spent nine seasons in the WNBA and represented Belarus in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"Lindsey has quickly become one of the game's bright young minds in basketball operations," Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown said to Shelbourne. "Having graduated from the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season, Lindsey is applying the same grit and basketball IQ she used as a player in her move to the front office. We look forward to the work Lindsey will do to help grow our program and further solidify a culture of winning.

"It's no secret how much I value the culture we've built in Philadelphia and how much a family-like atmosphere means to our program. Lindsey is a leader, and she is a welcomed addition to the 76ers family. I look forward to working with her."

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Sixers find out again just how far they must go to reach Celtics' level

Sixers find out again just how far they must go to reach Celtics' level

BOX SCORE

Don’t tell Joel Embiid you’re not supposed to make snap judgments after one game.

“JJ (Redick) mentioned it earlier, this is not a rivalry,” Embiid said to reporters after the Sixers’ 105-87 season-opening loss to the Boston Celtics (see observations). “I don’t know our record against them but it’s pretty bad. They always kick our ass.”

Embiid’s right. This is a far cry from the early 1980s when the Sixers’ Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks and Moses Malone were trading NBA Finals appearances with the Celtics’ Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish 

These days, the Sixers get a cold shiver down their spine at the mere sight of the green monsters from Boston. The Sixers dropped nine of the 11 total meetings between the storied franchises last season and opened the 2018-19 campaign by getting blitzed during the second half of the latest defeat.

“I take it personal, especially when you come into the game and you have the whole world watching, national television and then we come and we play that bad,” Embiid said.

Playing poorly isn’t the most egregious thing. After all, you expect some level of sloppiness in the first game of a new season for both teams.

But it was the specific mistakes the Sixers made that really stood out as the performance looked like a replay of practically every loss to the C’s from a season ago.

The Sixers’ turnovers (16) were mostly unforced. Their primary long-range shooters — JJ Redick and Robert Covington — couldn’t get on track (combined 4 for 15 from three-point range).

Most importantly, the defense the Sixers spent all summer revamping was carved up when it mattered most and that was with Kyrie Irving shooting a miserable 2 of 14 from the floor.

“I think what they have are playmakers, shot takers. They score the ball,” head coach Brett Brown said. “So most of the schemes you end up in you’re challenged a little bit.”

For the Sixers, that challenge has appeared insurmountable. Still, they’re not ready to concede anything after Game No. 1.

“We’ve just got to keep working together,” Embiid said. “A lot of changes. We know we have the potential to get to where we want to and that’s the NBA Finals, but for that we’ve got to make the playoffs first. It’s going to be a long road, but I’m excited for the future.”

The Sixers can only keep selling that potential for so long. At some point, they’re going to have to prove it on the court against the Celtics.

There are 81 regular-season games left over the course of six months, but the clock is already counting down.

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Report: Sixers turned away Suns' trade offer for T.J. McConnell

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Report: Sixers turned away Suns' trade offer for T.J. McConnell

While guys such as Jimmy Butler are interested in joining the Sixers, opposing teams are trying to pry their players away.

According to a report from The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, the Phoenix Suns were rebuffed in an attempt to trade for T.J. McConnell in recent weeks. The Suns offered a second-round pick for the reserve guard’s services.

This comes nearly one year after the Sixers declined the Cleveland Cavaliers’ trade offer for McConnell.

The Suns have been searching for a point guard to pair with dynamic scorer Devin Booker for quite some time now. They ended up reaching a one-year deal with 38-year-old Jamal Crawford on Monday to help out their backcourt.

While the Suns’ PG desperation has been apparent around the league for some time now, this also says a lot about McConnell. The undrafted guard has scrapped and clawed for everything he’s earned in the NBA and is now getting recognized.

Even with career averages of 6.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds, McConnell’s impact on the game goes far beyond the box score. He’s a hustler at all times and a solid table setter as the lead guard.

All of those characteristics will come in handy next offseason when the 26-year-old becomes an unrestricted free agent. After the Sixers picked up his team option for 2018-19 at $1.6 million, McConnell should expect to have some more lucrative offers to come his way.

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