76ers

Sixers' Josh Richardson has a unique defensive challenge ahead

Sixers' Josh Richardson has a unique defensive challenge ahead

There are plenty of new things in store for Josh Richardson as one of the newest members of the 76ers, but there is one in particular that’s going to take some getting used to.

At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Richardson will be the smallest guy in the Sixers' starting lineup this upcoming season.

“I have never been that, ever in my life,” Richardson said with a laugh at the Sixers Summer Shore Tour in Wildwood, New Jersey. “It will be interesting looking up to my teammates, talking in huddles and stuff.”

On a serious note, Richardson is looking forward to the challenge on defense. Richardson guarded point guards quite a bit during his four years with the Miami Heat and has confidence he’ll be able to guard smaller guards.

“I know that I’ll be the shortest starter here and I don’t mind guarding all of the guys that like to get in the paint and use their speed a lot,” Richardson said.

One thing is for certain: Richardson is ready for the season to get started, especially after the NBA schedule release.

“I’m just excited," Richardson said. "I saw we open with Boston and I know there’s a little rivalry history there, so it’s going to be fun to be a part of that.”

And as for his former team?

“I always have Miami circled to go back there and compete against my brothers down there," Richardson said, "but I’m just ready, excited to compete every game.”

Richardson has kept in touch with Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Mike Scott throughout the offseason. He met Shake Milton for the first time, working out at the Sixers' training facility on Saturday morning.

The former Tennessee Volunteer has been getting his own work in this summer.

“Health, I think health is a big part, just being able to be out there for as many games as I can is going to be huge, and being able to make shots,” Richardson said of his offseason goals. “I think being a shot maker is going to be big for us.”

Looking back at the trade, despite there being a shock factor in the moments following, he couldn’t be more eager for this new opportunity. Richardson said his excitement occurred "almost instantly."

“After I started looking at the pictures of our lineup, it turned into straight excitement, like as soon as it happened,” Richardson said. “As long as we all gel, as long as we all have the same goal in mind, I think we’ll have a strong season.”

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This model is awfully high on the Sixers' chances to make the NBA Finals

This model is awfully high on the Sixers' chances to make the NBA Finals

If you’re looking for a reason for optimism as the Sixers return to the court following the All-Star break, one model is awfully high on them.

According to FiveThirtyEight, the Sixers have the third-best chance to win the NBA Finals — an even higher percentage than the NBA-best Bucks. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Lakers and Clippers have the best chances, but it’s certainly a shock to see Milwaukee fourth. You can see in the chart above that while the Sixers have a better chance to win the Finals, the Bucks actually have a better chance to make it there.

FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR player ratings have been high on the Sixers since the beginning of the season. For most of the year, the Sixers have actually been favored to win the title over both L.A. teams. You can learn more about how the ratings work on their site.

The Sixers currently sit fifth in the East with 27 games left to play. They have basically no chance of catching the Bucks for the top spot and are six games behind the Raptors for the second seed. 

Considering they’re just 9-19 on the road, making the Finals as a fifth seed would be an awfully big ask, but if you’re looking for hope, maybe this model will help.

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Allen Iverson tears up remembering his friend Kobe and the one time they played as teammates

Allen Iverson tears up remembering his friend Kobe and the one time they played as teammates

Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson has shown his softer side since retiring from the NBA in 2010. While he was known for his hard-nosed style of play on the court during his heyday, he's become known more lately for the love he shows his NBA brethren and his big old hugs.

Whether he's talking about the current Sixers squad being his "little dudes" or his old rivals like Ty Lue, A.I. never has a bad word to say. He's a true ambassador of the game.

The Players' Tribune did a nice sitdown with Iverson over All-Star weekend and it's making the rounds again today thanks an ESPN bump.

While Iverson shared an incredibly heartfelt written remembrance of Kobe Bryant shortly after his death, as Sixers fans know, there's nothing quite like seeing the emotion in Iverson's face when he's feeling it.

Iverson talks fondly about the one time he got to play on the same team as Kobe in the 2008 All-Star game. 

"It was always a battle between me and him," Iverson said. "And then, having the chance to be on the same team with him..." 

"I mean, looking back on it, that was it. Just having the chance to play with my guy. Not knowing that would be the only time that I had a chance to play with him."

The two didn't see much action together in the 2008 game as Kobe was limited with a finger injury and only played three minutes.

Back when he was involved with the Big3 League in 2017, Iverson dreamed about a potential pairing with Kobe: "That would be a dream of mine to play with Kobe." 

It never happened, sadly.

Iverson went on to retell the story about Iverson going to the club and Kobe going to the gym which lead to the most poignant quote from the whole interview.

"That was the Mamba. He was younger than me, but I actually looked up to him and his greatness," Iverson said.

You can watch the full sitdown with Iverson on Perriscope here.