76ers

Sixers recall Justin Patton from Blue Coats with injuries to Joel Embiid, Boban Marjanovic

Sixers recall Justin Patton from Blue Coats with injuries to Joel Embiid, Boban Marjanovic

Desperate times may call for desperate measures.

With Joel Embiid (knee soreness) and Boban Marjanovic (knee sprain) both ruled out in Oklahoma City Thursday, the Sixers on Wednesday recalled center Justin Patton from the Delaware Blue Coats.

Patton, acquired from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler deal, played in just one NBA game in Minnesota last season. The 21-year-old suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot in September and has spent the last month in the G-League.

The former first-round pick has flashed some of his abilities. He’s playing just 18.2 minutes a night but is averaging 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in seven games with the 87ers. Selected 16th overall by the Bulls out of Creighton, Patton has a lot of the skills you’re looking for out of a modern NBA big.

He’s an athletic rim runner, meaning he can get up the floor in transition and defend the rim at the other end. He has good touch and has extended his range during his time out. The free throws (57 percent in Delaware) are still an issue.

The biggest concern will be at the defensive end — and the matchup Thursday isn’t ideal. The Thunder start the hulking Steven Adams but also have two athletic former Sixers in Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant, who at times plays small-ball five. If Brett Brown mixes Patton in with rookie Jonah Bolden and veteran Amir Johnson, it’ll be a big ask.

With that said, there’s likely never been a better time to get a look at Patton, who will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Plus, we have an idea of what Bolden is and definitely know what Johnson is. 

Let’s see what Patton can bring to the table.

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Sixers vs. Wizards: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

Sixers vs. Wizards: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

We’ve got just one more game before the real thing as the Sixers host the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center Friday.

It’s the Sixers’ fifth and final preseason game before they welcome the Boston Celtics next Wednesday in the season opener.

The good news for fans watching tonight’s game: This is NOT like the NFL preseason. If anything, this is more like a dress rehearsal.

Here’s everything you need to know.

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are a few things to watch.

Injury update

Ben Simmons (back tightness) and James Ennis (ankle) are listed as questionable. Both players missed the win over the Pistons but have participated in practice the last two days. The team has described their absences as precautionary. At practice Wednesday, Simmons said he was “confident” that he’ll be 100 percent by the opener.

Joel Embiid is not on the injury report and is expected to play. If Simmons and Ennis are able to go, Brett Brown has said he’ll play the rotation he expects to use against the Celtics. That rotation will include impressive rookie Matisse Thybulle, who has more than earned a prominent role off the Sixers’ bench.

Who backs up Simmons?

The top eight players in the rotation are set. It’ll be the five starters plus Thybulle, Ennis and Mike Scott — you’ll also see plenty of Kyle O’Quinn sprinkled in there. But the backup point guard role remains somewhat of a mystery.

GM Elton Brand brought in veterans Trey Burke and Raul Neto to compete for minutes. Brown has been quick to point out that second-year guard Shake Milton is still in that mix. The best candidate, however, may be Josh Richardson. Brown started Richardson there against Detroit and seems to like Richardson’s capabilities in that spot. It also allows him to keep a crazy big lineup on the floor at all times.

If there is any type of roster drama in tonight’s game, this will be it.

Bradley Beal’s extension

Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal inked a two-year, $72 million max extension Thursday. With two years still left on his current deal, it will begin with the 2021-22 season and include a player option for 2022-23, per ESPN.

It’s interesting because Beal is an excellent player just entering the prime of his career at 26 and his supporting cast is not very good. When healthy, there aren’t many backcourt duos better than Beal and John Wall. The issue is Wall, whose game is predicated on his lightning speed, is recovering from a ruptured Achilles and will likely not play this season. In 2020-21, he’ll be 30 and making over $40 million.

The Wizards will lose the contract of Ian Mahinmi and perhaps have a little flexibility next offseason.

Good for Beal for showing loyalty to the team that drafted him, but it seems like he may be stuck in NBA purgatory in Washington. Then again, that contract likely wouldn’t be difficult to move, and they’d get a nice return for Beal if things do go south.

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Zhaire Smith promoting PUMA basketball with appearance in West Philly

Zhaire Smith promoting PUMA basketball with appearance in West Philly

In recent memory, PUMA has thrived as a lifestyle shoe.

But with Jay-Z as creative honcho of the team’s reinvigorated basketball division, things have changed. 

Sixers guard Zhaire Smith is one the many new faces of their basketball arm which includes DeMarcus Cousins, Terry Rozier and 2018 No.1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton, among others. In fact, Smith and Marvin Bagley III are the first two basketball players signed to PUMA since the best dunker in history signed with the brand in 1998. 

PUMA is ramping up their visibility in the sneaker community ahead of the NBA’s opening night later this month — many brands are doing the same — with athletes pumping their shoes through various appearances and interactions with fans.

You can catch Smith in West Philly this Saturday as he promotes the PUMA Clyde Hardwood shoe at the Footlocker & Puma Lab at 38 S. 52nd Street, near the corner of 52nd & Chestnut. You can challenge Smith to a game of NBA 2K and you can get a PUMA basketball with the purchase of one of the Clyde Hardwood kicks. 

Smith was one of the first to rock the Clyde Court Disrupt when they debuted last season after signing a mult-year deal with PUMA. Smith is expected to be at the 52nd street Foot Locker between 2-4 p.m. and he might be in an even better mood than normal since the Sixers picked up his option.

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