76ers

Wilson Chandler impressed with Sixers, ready to help them win

Wilson Chandler impressed with Sixers, ready to help them win

Wilson Chandler knows his new team quite well. 

His former team lost to them twice last season and the veteran combo forward came away impressed.

“I’m a fan of the whole team in general,” Chandler said Tuesday on a conference call. “I was telling one of my old teammates in Denver after we played them, ‘Man, these guys play f------ hard.’”

Chandler, acquired in a trade with the Nuggets last week, wasn’t just impressed with the Sixers’ hustle. He spoke glowingly of the franchise’s two young stars — Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. He also singled out JJ Redick, Dario Saric and Robert Covington as players he’s looking forward to joining.

He didn’t drop a “Trust the Process” during the call but did come to the defense of former GM Sam Hinkie’s strategy and where it’s gotten the current team.

“First of all, I think the organization deserves more credit,” he said. “They had a couple years where a lot of people were giving them s--- about ‘what are they doing?’ and all that stuff, but they’ve done a great job putting a team together. They have two young stars … I think Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are future stars. In my eyes, they’re really good right now but they’re future stars and I see big things for both of them and big things in general. They did a good job putting a lot of good, young talent together.”

The trade that brought Chandler here was strictly a financial move for the cap-strapped Nuggets. His acquisition also offers the Sixers flexibility. Since they absorbed his salary, he can be traded — say, to maybe San Antonio — immediately. His deal is also expiring, freeing up the Sixers to enter the free agency fray yet again next offseason.

With that said, Chandler brings plenty to the table if he remains with the Sixers. He provides more NBA experience to the team’s young core. He offers versatility, with the ability to play the three and the four. He’s also considered a solid defender, something the Sixers lacked off their bench in their series loss to the Celtics.

Chandler appears to be fully embracing everything about his new squad — from his new head coach Brett Brown to the role he could wind up playing. Whether it’s off the bench or as a starter, on the offensive end or on defense, Chandler just wants to help the Sixers win. 

“Me personally, I’m not worried about coming off the bench or starting,” Chandler said. “I’ve done both in my career. I’ve come off the bench more than I started. I’m not opposed to that at all. I just want to win. I’m just glad to be back on a playoff team. I’m looking forward to pushing them as far as I can.”

Chandler has been in the league since 2007 and has only played in 11 playoff games. He hasn’t been to the postseason since 2013. Given the Sixers’ current roster, the chances are excellent that Chandler will change that trend.

But making the playoffs alone won’t satisfy him.

“In my opinion, I think this team is built to make a run at the title,” Chandler said. “I think that’s my expectation and I think that’s everybody’s. It should be.”

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Tobias Harris keeps the Sixers entertained on their bus ride to Toronto

Tobias Harris keeps the Sixers entertained on their bus ride to Toronto

Around 10:30 p.m. Monday night, we were blessed with a Ben Simmons Instagram Live video of "DJ Tobi," Tobias Harris, on the Sixers’ bus from the airport to the hotel.

“There’s a soul plane and there’s a soul bus. You’re on the soul bus, ya dig?”

DJ Tobi then proceeded to interview all the players, coaches and team personnel who entered the bus, as you can see in the videos below, which do contain profanity. 

“State your name, where are you from and where are you going,” head coach Brett Brown said Tuesday morning, laughing about last night’s bus ride. “And when there is a lull, he's got Spotify hooked up, and he's got some hip hop going on.”

“DJ Tobi,” Matisse Thybulle laughed, struggling to find the words for Harris’ performance. “He was putting on a show for everyone. … It was funny because you were seeing people out of their comfort zone.”

With the rigors of an NBA season, and through all the travel, bus rides and plane rides, the value of that type of team bonding can go underestimated.

“It's team bonding,” Simmons told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We're a pretty close group. We like to have fun and there are a lot of different characters and personalities on the team. … It's awesome. But that's just who we are as a team, everyone just likes to have fun, everyone has good personalities and means well."

Of course, it’s easier when you’re winning, and the Sixers delivered one of their most impressive defensive performances of the year in their win over Brooklyn, led by Simmons and Thybulle.

“We could carry that good energy over,” Thybulle said of the win over the Nets. “But it definitely help to keeps things light because the travel gets tedious and boring.”

For the Brown, it’s yet another characteristic he’s seen blossom out of Harris.

“Leadership comes in all different forms … and he does it naturally,” Brown said.

“It’s what makes team sport, for me, as enjoyable as it gets, when you can win with people that you respect and trust that care. And this group does.”

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Jameer Nelson, Phil Martelli react to troubling Delonte West video

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Jameer Nelson, Phil Martelli react to troubling Delonte West video

Troubling video surfaced Monday on social media of former Saint Joseph’s great and NBA player Delonte West.

The 36-year-old appeared to get into a physical altercation and then was recorded spewing profanities with his hands behind his back. The video contains inappropriate language.

On Monday night, West’s former college teammate Jameer Nelson and head coach Phil Martelli voiced their concern and offered support.

West has opened up in the past about his battle with bipolar disorder and run-ins with the law. The most notable incident was when he was pulled over in Maryland on a three-wheeled motorcycle and subsequently arrested and charged with speeding and two counts of carrying a handgun.

When he was on Hawk Hill, West starred during his sophomore and junior seasons alongside Nelson. The duo led St. Joe’s on an incredible run in 2004. The Hawks were the No. 1 team in the country at one point and earned a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost in a thriller in the Elite 8 to two-seed Oklahoma State.

After choosing to forego his senior season, West was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 24th overall pick. He last played in the NBA with the Mavericks in 2012 and his professional career ended in 2015 after a brief stint in the G League.