76ers

Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes new Sixers big man Amir Johnson is right mentor

Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes new Sixers big man Amir Johnson is right mentor

LAS VEGAS — The Sixers quickly pursued Amir Johnson at the start of free agency in their hunt for veteran experience. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens believes the Sixers will get leadership and much more. 

“He’s the guy you want with young guys,” Stevens said this week. 

Johnson most recently played for the Celtics for his 11th and 12th NBA seasons. He was a vocal member of a playoff team each year there. His personality became infectious. 

“If you lose, he’s positive and talking about there’s always tomorrow,” Stevens said. “If you win, he’s talking about all the things you need to do to make sure that you continue to get better.”

Johnson worked closely with his younger teammates in Boston to share the experiences he learned coming up in the league on contending Pistons squads. He is ready to impart his wisdom on the Sixers, too. 

“I'm always vocal, I'm always talking, and I got that from Rasheed Wallace of course,” Johnson said. “Me being in my 13th year, I feel like I've got a lot to give. I definitely will lead by example on the floor and have a lot to say to the young guys.”

There are plenty of young guys on the Sixers’ roster. The players that finished last season with the team have an average age of 24.5 years old. 

The 30-year-old Johnson was intrigued by the Sixers' core when he signed a one-year, $11 million deal. Among his new teammates, he looks forward to playing with Joel Embiid, who impressed him when they faced off last season. 

The Sixers are deep with young talent that can greatly benefit from absorbing the knowledge Johnson has to share.

“Amir’s the ultimate positive teammate," Stevens said. "He always brings the right energy, brings the right focus.” 

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

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AP Images

Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as second 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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Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

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USA Today Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Metta World Peace tweets that Joel Embiid will win MVP next season

Joel Embiid didn’t wait long to share his expectations for next season.

“This is my first year going into a summer healthy and I’m excited about it. I feel like next year is definitely going to be a type of MVP season for me,” Embiid said during the Sixers’ exit interviews just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs.

The summer months haven’t done much to curb the All-Star center’s enthusiasm.

“I want to win the MVP because if I play better I think the stats show that my team plays better too,” Embiid said during an interview with KweséESPN prior to this month’s NBA Africa Game. “That’s the goal. I’ve got to set the bar high if you want to go somewhere.”

You can’t blame the man for being confident in himself. And now Embiid even has the support of a former colorful NBA player in his own right.

Metta World Peace (or Tru Warier or The Panda’s Friend or Ron Artest) sent out a simple tweet earlier this week.

That’s about as cut and dry as you can get. Although World Peace did have another hot take this week that might call his crystal ball skills into question.

Whoa. You lost us on that one, World Peace.

Embiid has a much better chance at earning MVP honors than those two teams (mainly the Knicks) have of reaching the Eastern Conference finals. In Bovada's MVP odds released this week, the center came in at 16/1 (seventh best) to win the award.

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