Sixers ready for packed house vs. Lakers, Lonzo Ball and hype train

Sixers ready for packed house vs. Lakers, Lonzo Ball and hype train

LAS VEGAS — Preparing to face the Lakers in summer league also means preparing for the hype surrounding the team thanks to Lonzo Ball.

The No. 2 pick is expected to suit up Wednesday night against the Sixers after missing his last game because of a sore groin, according to ESPN.

Summer league head coach Lloyd Pierce sees the fanfare as a positive for his team in the first round of the tournament.

"Distracted? That’s the fun,” Pierce said after shootaround.

Lakers games traditionally are well-attended because of the proximity to Las Vegas. The draw is even greater when there is a new draft pick on the court.

“Who doesn’t want to play in a gym that’s completely packed?” Pierce said. “We played the Lakers to start the season here in summer league last year without Lonzo Ball and it was the same crowd. It’s the beauty of the Lakers fans. They’re four, four-and-a-half hours away from Las Vegas. It’s an easy drive. It’s a great organization with a lot of fan base. So they’re going to show up regardless.”

An anticipated No. 2 pick Ball vs. No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz showdown will not happen in summer league. Fultz is sidelined by an ankle sprain. Pierce will start Larry Drew II, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Furkan Korkmaz, Alex Poythress and Jonah Bolden against the Lakers.

If the Sixers win, they move on to the next round of the tournament. If they lose, they will play in the consolation round.

“I think for everyone’s playing in summer league, it’s an opportunity to play where the lights are on, it’s a 7:30 game, there’s going to be a lot of noise,” Pierce said. “So that’s energy and adrenaline and a lot of fun.”

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

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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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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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