76ers

Sixers 'a little bit' disappointed by Joel Embiid's dancing at Meek Mill concert

Sixers 'a little bit' disappointed by Joel Embiid's dancing at Meek Mill concert

Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said before Saturday’s game against the Heat that it was “a little bit” disappointing that injured center Joel Embiid elected to hop onstage and dance at Friday’s Meek Mill concert in the Wells Fargo Center.

“Perhaps he crossed a line, perception-wise,” Colangelo added.

Coach Brett Brown said he had discussed the situation with the 22-year-old rookie but declined to get into the specifics of the conversation.

“It's not the best thing to see when you wake up on Saturday morning and find out that was the case because I know the reaction,” Colangelo said of the video that surfaced of Embiid dancing, shirtless, at the show. “I understand some of the potential concern out there.” 

Colangelo and Brown both emphasized that Embiid, who injured his left knee when he landed awkwardly after dunking against Portland on Jan. 20, has been moving well on the court in recent workouts.

The team first called his injury a contusion, and Embiid and Brown later said it was a bone bruise. Derek Bodner of derekbodner.com reported Saturday that Embiid has a torn meniscus, and Colangelo subsequently described the injury as a “very minor meniscal tear,” as well as a bone bruise (see full story).

On Saturday, Embiid missed his ninth straight game, and his 12th in the Sixers’ last 13. His only appearance in that stretch was a 32-point effort in a nationally televised loss to Houston on Jan. 27.

Colangelo said it is “more than likely we’ll hold him back until the end of the All-Star break,” meaning he will probably miss Monday’s game in Charlotte and Wednesday’s game in Boston, as well as his planned appearances in the Rising Stars Challenge and the skills competition on All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

As for the dancing, Colangelo said, “Being at a concert wasn't disappointing. Probably being onstage and dancing was a little bit, given the circumstances and given the potential reaction. It's understandable.”

Colangelo called Embiid “highly responsible” and added, “It's hard to say to someone like Joel that has been a tremendous character and tremendous citizen for us, that he's doing anything untoward or wrong.”

Team officials take “a very serious tone” with players about making wise off-court decisions, Colangelo said, though he declined to get into specifics of those conversations.

Brown was likewise mum about his discussions with Embiid.

“I did see the video, and the conversations with Joel after I saw the video included a lot, some of which (media members) mentioned,” he said. “By and large I’d prefer it was a private conversation with a 20-year-old.”

He stopped short of saying he was disappointed with the rookie, and referred a question about how Embiid could dance but not play to Colangelo.

Should the Sixers pursue Austin Rivers?

Should the Sixers pursue Austin Rivers?

With how desperately the Sixers need bench help, every name that comes up will be of interest.

Enter Austin Rivers.

Rivers is expected to be waived by the Suns after being moved to Phoenix from Washington in the Trevor Ariza deal. Rivers’ $12,650,000 cap hit helped the Wizards facilitate the deal, but there’s no real spot for the 26-year-old guard on the Suns’ roster. An earlier report had Rivers on his way to Memphis, but as of this posting, “four to five other teams are still expressing interest,” and the Grizzlies haven’t made a formal offer.

So should the Sixers have interest in Rivers? At first glance, the answer is "no," but let's examine the case.

First, let’s talk about what he brings to the table. He can score and he’s certainly not afraid to shoot. He was over 37 percent from three during his last two seasons in L.A. before a miserable and brief tenure in D.C. He has playoff experience, having played 23 postseason games. 

There are plenty of concerns. For his career, he’s a 35 percent shooter from three, which is about league average. That’s fine, but he’s shooting just 31 percent from three this season. He has experience as a point guard, but he’s really not much of a facilitator — though his turnover numbers aren’t bad — and may be too ball dominant to fit this roster. Nobody is going to mistake him for a defensive dynamo either. There is also concern that Rivers was basically given away by the Clippers, Wizards and now the Suns.

With all that said, the Sixers are desperate for legitimate NBA players to come off their bench. Rivers is far from a perfect player but he does satisfy some of their bench needs. He can score off the bounce a little and if he can shoot at the level he did the last two seasons in L.A., that would help. As mentioned, don’t expect much from him defensively, but what do you expect from the current Sixers’ reserves?

He’ll cost next to nothing and as long as you go into it with extremely low expectations, maybe you can get something out of him with your empty roster spot. Rivers did help the Clippers in 2016-17 — his best season as mostly a reserve — win 51 games and the West’s fourth seed. JJ Redick was on that team. Redick could provide intel and perhaps help the Sixers get the most out of Rivers.

Elton Brand may have something else already in the works. Then again, making a trade won’t be easy. Most of the players that would appeal to the Sixers have big cap numbers and it would be difficult to match salaries. I don’t believe Brand will punt on the 2018-19 season, but I do think it’ll be much easier for him to improve this team’s depth in the offseason.

While I still lean toward not adding Rivers, you can't blame Brand if he takes a flyer on the guy with the state of the current bench and with little trade options.

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Spurs 123, Sixers 96: Sixers sleepwalk through uninspiring loss to Spurs

Spurs 123, Sixers 96: Sixers sleepwalk through uninspiring loss to Spurs

BOX SCORE

Going from Cleveland to San Antonio doesn’t seem like an ideal road trip.

The Sixers likely agree after sleepwalking their way through an uninspiring 123-96 loss to the Spurs at the AT&T Center Monday.

The loss drops them to 6-10 on the road and 20-12 overall.

Here are observations from the drubbing.

• Feels like we’re a broken record but the bench is just killing this team.

T.J. McConnell hurt them defensively early on. The Spurs were using their point guards to screen for DeMar DeRozan, forcing McConnell to switch onto the All-Star guard. It went predictably bad. 

Landry Shamet continues to struggle against dribble penetration and the physicality of the NBA. Mike Muscala got roasted when matched up against LaMarcus Aldridge. 

Credit to Gregg Popovich. He saw these mismatches and the Spurs exposed them. But Elton Brand is going to have to make a move to improve this bench.

• While the reserves were certainly a crucial factor in the Sixers losing an early lead, the starters came out in the second half and did nothing to eat into the Spurs’ lead. Fatigue is no doubt a factor, but this was a brutal effort.

The most telling stat is free throws. The Sixers are among the league’s best in getting to the line, but took just seven free throws.

• Ben Simmons continued his aggressive ways. He was once again looking for his shot when driving to the basket and it led to 16 points (7 of 10 shooting), six rebounds and six assists in just 29 minutes.

He continues to do some nifty work in the post as well.

Simmons looked like the one player that was locked in and engaged all night.

• Joel Embiid dominated early on yet again.

But unlike other coaches that have waited until the second half — for some reason — Popovich started doubling Embiid as soon as he got going. Embiid took just one shot in the second half and was 0 for 6 from three. 

He finished with just 13 points, his third-lowest point total this season, on 6 of 17 shooting.

• Jimmy Butler had a brutal shooting night. In his second game back from a groin strain, Butler finished just 3 of 13 for six points.

He did have this nice alley-oop.

• DeRozan continues to kill the Sixers. In four games against them last season, he averaged 32 points per contest. Tonight, he recorded 20 points in 29 minutes. DeRozan is a perfect example of a player that always hurts the Sixers. He can score in isolation and is deadly in the midrange. 

Aldridge, who also finished with 20 points, also proved to be a tough guard for the Sixers. He’s one center that can pull Embiid away from the basket with his ability to hit midrange jumpers. As mentioned, he cooked Muscala in the post. 

• Rudy Gay is having a productive season for the Spurs as he dropped a game-high 21 points. He’s an accomplished veteran that can create and make shots. He also appears to be playing with a little more purpose on the defensive end than earlier in his career.

It’s only mentioned here because he’s the kind of player the Sixers sure could use. The Spurs are on the outside looking in at the playoffs, though it is early. If San Antonio is looking to possibly get an asset for Gay at some point if they fall out of contention, Elton Brand should place a call.

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