76ers

Apparently, DeMarcus Cousins threatened to fight Nik Stauskas on a plane

Apparently, DeMarcus Cousins threatened to fight Nik Stauskas on a plane

Apparently, DeMarcus Cousins wasn't a big fan of Nik Stauskas.

Discussing the Cousins trade on his podcast Monday, Zach Lowe recalled a story from two years ago when Cousins threatened Stauskas on Sacramento's team flight to China.

"DeMarcus Cousins ruined Nik Stauskas, or almost did," Lowe said. "The stories about DeMarcus Cousins berating Nik Stauskas, threatening to fight Nik Stauskas on the plane when they were going to China for the preseason. 

"He ruined Nik Stauskas, he ruined Sauce Castillo to the point where he just had to go somewhere else."

Lowe and guest Brian Windhorst went on to compare Stauskas to Buddy Hield, the centerpiece of the Kings' return for Cousins. Both felt the Kings did poorly in the Cousins trade, arguing the draft pick they received from the Pels was equivalent to the one they got from the Hornets (No. 22) for Marco Belinelli.

Windhorst told a story of a conversation he had recently with a personnel executive who said Hield will be a backup two-guard. 

"You know who [Hield] is very similar to in that regard?" Lowe asked. "Nik Stauskas."

"[Stauskas] had a nice stretch in the first third of the season for the Sixers (which showed) he's going to be a rotation player. I think he settles into that — his shooting has slumped a little bit. But that's an example of DeMarcus Cousins ruined Nik Stauskas, and now they're trading him for maybe an equivalent player."

The Kings are just a complete mess, which is hugely important for the Sixers, who own pick swap rights with Sacramento in the 2017 draft and also have the Kings' unprotected 2019 first-rounder (see story).

That trade continues to boost former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie's credibility and make Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and GM Vlade Divac look like they don't know what they're doing.

"If your owner has stability and knows what he's doing and knows how to hire the right people and get out of their way, that's a (good) situation. This was created by Vivek," Windhorst said.

"And that doesn't mean that Vlade didn't make the decisions within the trade that they made with Philadelphia, but putting Vlade in that position when he wasn't ready for it — and I think everybody, including Vlade would agree — led to this.

"I just can't believe how little they got (for Cousins). You know that they've been offered so much more for DeMarcus in the past. And so not only is the recent decision to basically sell the long-term for the now, to trade Nik Stauskas so that you can sign Kosta Koufos or whatever else they did with that money, going and signing Arron Afflalo."

At that point, Lowe interjected and poured on poor Vlade, recounting the players Divac signed with the money freed up in the Stauskas heist.

"Kosta Koufos, Rajon Rondo — who might be out of the freaking league next year — and Marco Belinelli. ... That's who they traded those picks and swap rights for — those three players, who aren't going to help you win and everybody knew they weren't going to help you win. And they could have acquired two of them via free agency if they used the stretch provision and had any idea what the stretch provision was."

The Kings made their bed. Their only real chance of avoiding a catastrophic next few years is if Hield — a.k.a. Stauskas 2.0 — can pull them out of it.

Sixers Talk podcast: Brett Brown isn't sharing dessert with haters

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NBC Sports Philadelphia/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: Brett Brown isn't sharing dessert with haters

On the Sixers Talk podcast, Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss how great James Ennis and Matisse Thybulle have been off the bench, Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke's comments about Joel Embiid and more.

• What to make of Matisse Thybulle's role so far this season.

• How good has James Ennis been early on this season?

• Brett Brown made light of Dan Burke's comments. Is there anything to look into there?

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'Hot guy' James Ennis oozing confidence for Sixers

'Hot guy' James Ennis oozing confidence for Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — James Ennis came over to his media availability after practice Tuesday with a little extra pep in his step.

And why not?

He’s playing arguably the best basketball of his NBA career and doing so for a team that wants to compete for an NBA title. Ennis has been on a torrid shooting pace, hitting 50 percent of his threes (17 of 34) over the last 11 games.

“So I'm considered a ‘hot guy’ now,” Ennis said, “so a lot of guys are flying at me, so I have to put the ball on the ground and I can definitely get to the lane a lot easier now.”

The term “hot guy” is what you think: Opposing teams will have him on the scouting report as a player they need to keep tabs on beyond the arc. That’s led to Ennis’ defenders having more aggressive and, at times, reckless closeouts, opening things up for him to drive.

It’s a label Ennis is clearly enjoying.

“Definitely. I want to be known as a ‘hot guy,’ [that's why] I wanna knock down shots,” Ennis said. “I can get people with my shot fake now, 'cause I'm a ‘hot guy.’”

This is a man simply oozing with confidence right now.

It hasn’t always been easy for Ennis in his professional basketball career. After being drafted in the second round by the Hawks in the 2013 NBA draft, his rights were traded to the Heat. Ennis decided instead to play overseas in Australia. After a stint in Puerto Rico, Ennis joined Miami and began his NBA journey.

The bouncing around continued as Ennis had stops in Memphis, New Orleans, Memphis (again), Detroit and Houston before landing in Philly. After coming over at the trade deadline from the Rockets, Ennis was a big part of the Sixers’ rotation into the postseason. There was clearly a mutual interest in bringing Ennis back this offseason.

His head coach, who knows plenty about basketball in Australia, was asked if he’s seen a swagger to Ennis lately.

“It seems so. I guess there is. And good for him,” Brett Brown said. “He's a great story. We all kind of follow his career and he too, has an Australian experience in Perth, a great part of Australia on the Indian Ocean, sort of all on the western side of the country all by itself. And he's come from sort of hidden with Miami and then went overseas and had a taste with Houston. And now here he is with us and he's having a hell of a year, and he has been shooting the ball well, and I think he's been playing pretty good defense.”

At one point in Monday night’s win over the Jazz, Ennis nailed a three on the wing and was also fouled. Much to the delight of the crowd, Ennis began doing pushups. 

Is that a new celebration?

“I did them back in Australia, but it was nothing,” Ennis said. “I just did it because it was an and-one. I just wanted to show my strength a little bit.”

Unfortunately, Ennis missed the ensuing free throw. He admitted he may have been a little too amped from his on-court workout.

“I did miss, long. So I think it did affect me a little bit, so I probably won't be doing no pushups before my free throws next time.”

Brown was jokingly asked if Ennis would face any discipline for the pushup celebration.

“I’ll have to think about it,” Brown said.

It would probably take a lot more than that to bring this "hot guy" down right now.

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