Sixers among teams to attend pro day for prospects and free agents in Miami

Sixers among teams to attend pro day for prospects and free agents in Miami

Talent evaluation is a never-ending top priority of an NBA organization. Whether a team is adding to its current roster, looking at potential draft picks, constructing a summer league squad or eyeing talent for its D-League affiliate, there are numerous avenues for in-person analysis.

On Saturday, the Sixers were one of 20 teams that sent a representative to the Elite Skills Training pro day held at Chaminade-Madonna prep school north of Miami. Vince Rozman, Sixers director of basketball operations/scouting innovation, was in attendance. The Sixers hold the first, 24th and 26 picks in the first round of this year's draft.

The event, organized by trainer Tony Falce, included 35 players. Among those were Baylor forward Taurean Prince and LSU guard Tim Quarterman, both of whom have already worked out for the Sixers.

The majority of the players were draft prospects who, with the exception of Prince, are projected to go in the second round or go undrafted. There also were a handful of free agents, such as Michael Qualls who worked out for the Sixers last offseason.

The complete list of participants included Willie Atwood, Gracin Bakumanya, Cat Barber, Jordan Barham, Rion Brown, Michael Carrera, Quinton Chievous, Farad Cobb, Raphael Davis, Brandon Dean, Adrian Diaz, Danilo Fuzaro, Dustin Hogue, Reginald Johnson, Chris Jones, Derrick Jones Jr., Jalen Jones, Brandan Kearney, James Kelly, Markus Kennedy (who transferred to SMU from Villanova), Trey Lewis, Jordan Loyd, Jameel McKay, Nic Moore, Abdel Nader, Chris Obekpa, Prince, Qualls, Quarterman, Jevoni Robinson, Skyler Spencer, Terry Tarpey, Kevin Tumba, AJ West, and Devin Williams.

Will Joel Embiid play in Game 5? 'Gotta keep 'em guessing'

Will Joel Embiid play in Game 5? 'Gotta keep 'em guessing'

CAMDEN, N.J. — If you’re frustrated by all the last-minute, game-time decisions for Joel Embiid, you’re not alone.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson voiced his displeasure before Game 4 about finding out the Sixers’ starting lineup five minutes before each game of the series. He wondered if the NBA could do something about it.

Embiid spoke to reporters Monday at the team’s practice facility. Maybe he’d shed some light for Atkinson about his status for Game 5 Tuesday night.

“Gotta keep ‘em guessing.”

Maybe not.

While Embiid did say that with a big grin on his face, it’s hard to chalk it up solely to gamesmanship. The left knee soreness he’s dealing with did cause him to miss Game 3, a game the Sixers still managed to win in convincing fashion on the road.

Embiid said the pain is still at the same level and he’s still undergoing constant treatment while trying to find the perfect balance of rest and staying active.

“It goes both ways,” he said. “You can’t rest it completely and you also can’t do too much. Like I said, it’s all about managing it. We just got to figure that out.”

It’s apparent that Embiid has figured out how to get under the Nets’ skin.

He’s committed two Flagrant 1 fouls on young center Jarrett Allen – the second of which he has been adamant in saying he doesn’t agree with. The one Saturday caused series pest Jared Dudley to erupt which started a fight that got Dudley and Jimmy Butler ejected.

While the trade-off of Butler for Dudley heavily favors Brooklyn, the incident did light a fire under Embiid. But that’s nothing new for the All-Star center. Throughout his career, the “trolling sun of a gun,” as Butler so aptly referred to him, seems to thrive in that kind of environment. 

“It’s fun,” Embiid said. “I try not to pay attention, but things like the other night with the fight, I felt like it took my game to another level, especially with Jimmy being out. I felt like I had to go get it with my teammates help. Mike and JJ knocked big shots, Ben had a big steal, too. It’s fun. [It’s] the playoffs. It’s fun and I’m enjoying it.”

With Embiid picking up his second Flagrant 1 of the playoffs, he now has “two points” in the NBA’s system. If he gets up to four points, it’ll be an automatic one-game suspension. 

The Sixers did win Game 3 without him, but as Game 4 demonstrated, he can be absolutely brilliant. If they move on to play the Raptors in the second round, they’ll need the player we saw Saturday afternoon. Losing him to injury is something completely out of anyone’s control. But a suspension is completely avoidable.

So will Embiid change his style at all?

“No. Just got to play basketball,” Embiid said. “If it happens, it happens. Like I said, I’m mature. I know what I’m doing. Although the last one I don’t even know if it was even a foul. It felt like I got all ball so I don’t get why the issued a flagrant foul. It doesn’t make sense, but I’m going to play basketball and be myself.”

Brett Brown didn’t seem to agree with that sentiment. He reminded his players of infamous suspensions in recent playoff history that likely cost teams titles, including Draymond Green’s suspension in 2016 which was a big factor in the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead.

“It’s not holding your breath, there are reminders that I owe my players as the coach to have them be adults — be big boys and navigate through this,” Brown said. “It’s not our fault at times we’re 20 pounds heavier and three inches taller. So in the meantime, we just need to be smarter and that’s my job.”

Whether Embiid plays and tones down his play in Game 5 is anyone's guess.

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Joel Embiid says series vs. Nets is 'over' after Game 4 win

Joel Embiid says series vs. Nets is 'over' after Game 4 win

Don't expect a Warriors-type collapse from the Sixers, according to Joel Embiid.

After making a joke about that possibility after a dramatic Game 4 win at Barclays Center, Embiid was caught stopping at Shake Shack for his postgame meal. 

Like the gentleman in the video asks roughly 9345298570235 times: Is it over?

Well, none of this should come as a surprise. Embiid, who's been dealing with left knee soreness that caused him to miss Game 3, has been physically imposing his will in the games he has played and has now laughed(!) at two postgame press conferences. He's clearly ruffled the Nets' feathers, causing Jared Dudley to charge at him and Brooklyn's GM to burst into the referees locker room postgame.

He's probably right. But you probably don't want to give the Nets any extra fuel for Game 5, but the Sixers have given them plenty throughout the series and here we are at 3-1.

The Sixers are the villains and they don't seem to care. In fact, it seems to be galvanizing them.

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