76ers

Sixers introduce Bryan Colangelo, announce reduced role for Jerry

csn-bryancolangelo.jpg

Sixers introduce Bryan Colangelo, announce reduced role for Jerry

Sam Hinkie is out, although he wasn't supposed to be.

Bryan Colangelo is in, and father Jerry is out. Sort of.

And despite all of that, The Process continues. Apparently.

Four days after Sam Hinkie abruptly resigned, the Sixers officially named Bryan Colangelo as president of basketball operations.

“This may be one of the best jobs in basketball right now,” Colangelo said at a press conference Sunday afternoon. "Given all the things that have been established over the last three years, given the draft picks that are in place, given the cap flexibility, given the fact that ownership is committed. It’s a tremendous sports town with passionate fans. We’re going to embrace that passion.”

In addition to announcing Bryan Colangelo's hiring, the Sixers also revealed that his father Jerry has relinquished his role as chairman of basketball operations and instead will assume an advisory role.

When the Sixers hired Jerry last December, speculation immediately followed about whether Bryan would join the team too. Harris said the Sixers began having discussions with Bryan at the beginning of the year but also explained that Jerry was not involved in the hiring process.

Jerry Colangelo's involvement with the team sparked questions of the influence his relationship had in Bryan’s selection. The Sixers began having discussions with Bryan at the beginning of the year, but Harris said Jerry was not involved in the hiring process.

"Jerry, truthfully, to be fair to Bryan and to be fair to himself and to be fair to us, recused himself from the entire process," Harris said. "He wasn’t involved. I think that he was on board for the approach, but he wasn’t involved with it."

Understandably, one of the key themes of the press conference concerned optics (which don't look good) — and Harris' trying to discount perception and explain reality.

“I understand the optics of it, but the reality is Bryan was head and shoulders above every other candidate,” Harris said. “But the reality is, I went with Bryan because he was the best guy for the job."

Bryan Colangelo won NBA Executive of the Year awards working for the Phoenix Suns (2005) and Toronto Raptors (2007), becoming one of only three executives to win the award with different organizations. He spent 15 years with the Suns and served as president and general manager for the Raptors from 2006-13.

In 18 seasons as a general manager, Colangelo's teams have recorded 11 playoff appearances and four division titles.

For Harris, those credentials offset the obvious conclusion the connection to Jerry was the reason for Bryan's hiring.

“So this was really my decision, and now we’re managing the optics," Harris said. "It just so happens that Bryan was the best fit guy for the job, and we also had his Hall of Fame dad along in the organization. I made the decision that it was worth managing those optics to get such a talented guy in our organization.”

The Sixers had been looking to add to the front office for months, and the intention was to bring in someone to work with Hinkie.

“My predecessor, Sam Hinkie, has done a nice job of establishing the assets and resources to move forward in a positive way,” said Colangelo, who has spoken with Hinkie since his resignation. “I’m sorry that Sam will not be a part of that. It was intended all along that he would.”

Nevertheless, Colangelo emphasized the team is going to move forward with plan Hinkie had in place. The Sixers have the best mathematical chance to land the top pick in this year's draft and could have as many as four first rounders this June.

“I just want to be very clear that this is not about a departure from a process, a departure from a strategy,” Colangelo said. “This is a moving forward with everything that’s already been established, everything that’s in place, and we’re going to be measured in our continued building of this organization.”

At the same time, there is a push to win. Upon hiring Jerry Colangelo, Harris said he wished the process "would go faster." Season 3 of The Process wasn't supposed to result in a 1-30 start and 10-win season.

Now the Sixers have to turn the team around with the assets they have available. This could result in a change in player personnel. When building a team for next season and the future, Colangelo is a strong proponent of character and team chemistry.

“This is a transition from this measured rebuilding process to sustainable winning,” Colangelo said. “That’s what’s important to establish here. We will be pragmatic, we will be utilizing the tools and resources. You can only have so many developing players on your roster at a time, so there may be some decision to defer some of those to future years and there may be a decision to package some of those things to acquire players that make sense and fit our strategy.”

One of the reasons the Sixers looked to add to the front office was to enhance relationships in free agency. Colangelo is both well connected and well respected around the NBA. He noted he stayed close with colleagues in the league during the last three years. Given that it takes more than just a contract to bring a player to a new team in free agency, Colangelo has plans for drawing them to the Sixers.

“People want to win,” Colangelo said. “It’s not just about money anymore. Players want to know that they’ve got a chance to go and win in an environment. Again, we need to begin the transition that we’ve talked about. We need to start to change the narrative. Some of that will come into play.

"But the fact that this is a relationship business, and we’re going to start to work on those relationships in a big way. We’re going to start to again prove through some of the decisions that we’re making that we’re on the forward track and an upward track. That starts to change the selling point of this organization.”

This offseason most likely will be one of moving pieces, but Colangelo does not expect one of those changes will come on the coaching front. He believes Brett Brown has coached through enough turmoil to be there when it turns around.

“I said, ‘If it was merely for the sake of what he’s gone through and what he’s been through, he deserves a chance to see this through,’” Colangelo said. “What I’ve observed and what I’ve been impressed with, is a guy that is passionate about what he does, he seems to have a great idea and sense for the game. His team, from an analytics standpoint, actually plays the right way, they just haven’t played well, in that regard.”

Before Colangelo can make any decisions, he is going to meet with the staff and get a feel for the team. From there, he is eager to be back in the front office trenches.

"There’s so many things that made this more attractive than anything else that’s on the horizon," he said. "This is a summer of change."

Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris outduel LeBron James, Anthony Davis in impressive win

Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris outduel LeBron James, Anthony Davis in impressive win

BOX SCORE

With no Joel Embiid or Josh Richardson and LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the vaunted Lakers in town, things didn’t seem to line up well.

Apparently, you can throw everything out the window when the Sixers are at home.

Led by Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, the Sixers took down the best team in the West, 108-91, in a turnover-filled game at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night.

The win improves the Sixers 21-2 at home, tied with the Bucks for best in the NBA, and 30-17 overall. They’ll host the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night (7 p.m./NBCSP).

Here are observations from the win:

Containing the King

James had five turnovers in the first half and Simmons and Matisse Thybulle were a huge part of that. 

In an early possession when Thybulle got switched onto James, James wisely decided to use his sizeable weight advantage and back the rookie down. To Thybulle’s credit, he hung in there and then was able to use his lightning-quick hands to poke the ball away from James. Thybulle had four steals in the first half.

In the first quarter, Brett Brown stuck to his usual substitution patterns. Then he adjusted and matched Simmons up with James. James is arguably the best player on the planet and he’s going to get his (29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds), but Simmons didn’t make it easy.

James passed Kobe Bryant for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list in third quarter. He nearly sparked a comeback, but the Sixers did enough down the stretch to keep the Lakers at arm's length.

Harris and Simmons carry the load

With Embiid and Richardson out, the Sixers are missing 38.4 points a game. They needed other players to step up and carry the scoring load. Harris and Simmons did just that.

With Simmons attracting much of the attention, Harris took advantage of the various mismatches he had. He muscled the smaller Danny Green. He drove by the bigger Dwight Howard. He hit threes (3 of 8), he was strong in the midrange, he got to the basket — it was a game that truly showed off his scoring versatility.

He finished with 29 points on 10 of 20. 

After a down game in Toronto, this was the version of Simmons we’d seen since Embiid went down. He was decisive, aggressive and attacked the rim with authority. While L.A. was trying to claw back in the game in the fourth, he drove right by Green, outmuscled him and slammed with two hands. He had another big and-one drive on Green with just under three minutes left.

He had 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. He did have five of the Sixers' 23 turnovers, but you'll live with that when he's playing like this.

A.D. vs. Horford

Coming in, you figured Anthony Davis and Al Horford would be matched up. It was a fun one to watch. The savvy veteran and 26-year-old superstar were going at each other hard.

It looked like head coach Frank Vogel wanted to attack Horford, but the 33-year-old looked spry and up for the challenge. Davis’ stat line looks good (31 points on 13 of 22), but a lot of that damage came with Horford out. 

With Embiid out, Horford’s play has been up and down. He was definitely up in this one. He had 16 points and nailed a pair of huge threes and a midrange fadeaway with the Sixers clinging to a lead late in the fourth.

Shake up in the starting lineup

Down two starters, Brown started second-year guard Shake Milton. Milton fumbled a Simmons’ pass on a cut to the lane, but that was one of the few things that went wrong.

Milton essentially filled Richardson’s role as the ball handler next to Simmons. They had something going with the dribble handoff early that led to a couple easy baskets.

To his credit, Milton also stood tall as James came at him on a couple drives. It took serious guts. Despite nothing eye-popping on the stat sheet (seven points, nine rebounds, three assists), Milton looked like he belonged out there.

Tough break for Zhaire Smith

Second-year guard Zhaire Smith saw his first NBA action of the 2019-20 season. Unfortunately, he got just under three minutes in before suffering an ankle sprain. He did not return.

It’s a tough break for the 20-year-old who’s already been through so much. The 2018 first-round pick essentially had a redshirt rookie year after suffering a broken foot and a serious allergic reaction. He's spent most of this season in Delaware with the Blue Coats.

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LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant on all-time scoring list

LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant on all-time scoring list

LeBron James on Saturday moved into third place on the all-time NBA scoring list. 

He reached the milestone with a driving layup in the third quarter of the Lakers’ game against the Sixers, passing Bryant’s 33,643 career points.

James was congratulated by PA announcer Matt Cord for his achievement.

Both Bryant and James entered the NBA directly from high school. 

Bryant was born in Philadelphia. He spent much of his childhood in Italy, where his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, played professional basketball, before returning to the Philadelphia area and starring at Lower Merion High School.

James, the much-hyped No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft, is one of the most decorated players in NBA history, with 16 All-Star selections, four MVP awards and three championships. He’s eighth all-time in assists and, at 35 years old, leads the league in assists this season. 

"He's arguably the greatest player to ever play our sport," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said Saturday. 

Brett Brown said Friday he wasn’t worried about James possibly overtaking Bryant against his team.

It’s not on my mind. I have been in the league long enough to see LeBron come in the league … and I’ve seen the evolution of him. I stand back and I am amazed at how good he is for how long he has been good for, the duration of his time in the NBA, how he handles himself with kids and the media — he doesn’t ever seem to feature with stuff going on at 2 in the morning and the next’s day front page. 

“I think he’s class, and he’s a champion, and he’s incredibly important to our league. To feel at all the need to come in and if he scores whatever number you just said against [us] ... I don’t care. I want to beat the Lakers and it doesn’t enter my mind, that side of the equation of defending him or the Lakers.”

For James to become the top scorer in NBA history, he’ll still have to pass Karl Malone (36,928 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points).

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