Jessica Camerato

Sixers' G League affiliate, Blue Coats, name Connor Johnson head coach

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Delaware Blue Coats

Sixers' G League affiliate, Blue Coats, name Connor Johnson head coach

The Sixers' G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, named Connor Johnson head coach for the upcoming season.

Johnson has worked with the Sixers since 2014. He most recently was the Sixers’ director of player development and coaching administration. Johnson began his time with the Sixers as the video coordinator. He also was a graduate assistant at Villanova under Jay Wright for the men’s basketball program.

“Our real goal is to improve the 76ers players,” Johnson said.

The collaboration between the Sixers and Blue Coats will be key as minutes for developing players could be lessened while the Sixers continue to compete for the postseason.

“The fact that the 76ers are growing and becoming a playoff-caliber, championship-contending team, we’re really going to need to use the G League to continue to make the younger players better who might not have the same opportunity,” Johnson said.

With news of Johnson’s hiring, the Blue Coats continue to promote from within the Sixers organization.

“I was thrilled,” Johnson said.

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Kentucky star Kevin Knox thinks he would fit with Sixers

Kentucky star Kevin Knox thinks he would fit with Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — Kevin Knox looked up at the banners towering over the Sixers practice court from the rafters as he made his way over to address the media. 

“A lot of great guys, some of the best players of all-time, people that I look up to,” Knox said. “It’s good to look up there because that’s kind of where you want to be some day. So that’s what I'm working for.”

Knox is beginning his NBA journey projected lottery pick in next week’s draft. The Sixers, who hold the No. 10 pick, got a closer look at the 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward Friday in a group workout.

“He walked into the gym, it’s not hard to see the intrigue with his size and mobility, his frame,” senior director of basketball operations Vince Rozman said. “He’s 18, so there’s a lot to develop from.” 

Knox averaged a team-high 15.6 points along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 32.4 minutes last season at Kentucky. He was selected to the All-SEC First Team and named SEC Co-Freshman of the Year with Alabama guard Collin Sexton. 

Knox shot 34.1 percent from three in college. He was focused on showcasing his range (see video below) and believes he made a positive impression on the Sixers. 

“They’re really interested in me,” Knox said. “They love my game, they love the way I can shoot the ball. That’s something they really like to do is shoot a lot of threes. My versatility, being able to take guys off the dribble is something that would complement really well with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. So that’s kind of the message they have for me, being able to come in with tenacity, play with fight, play with energy. 

“That’s kind of how Philadelphia plays. They love guys that can really shoot the three, that’s something Brett Brown is really big on so that’s something I really came in to show today.”

When it comes to where he sees himself playing in the NBA, Knox is honing in on the small forward position. He discussed his potential fit when he met with Brown.  

“I want to play the three,” Knox said. “That’s something that a lot of guys have me projected playing the three. Coach really liked that. He really wants me to play the three if I come here. So that’s kind of the mentality he wants me to have -- be able to come in and be able to guard threes, be able to take guys off the dribble, pick-and-roll and be able to shoot threes. That’s kind of the message he had for me.”

Knox has one workout remaining with the Hornets before draft night on June 21.

The Sixers also hosted Missouri forward Jordan Barnett, Cincinnati guard-forward Jacob Evans, Kentucky forward Wenyen Gabriel, Arizona State guard Tra Holder and Rhode Island guard E.C. Matthews in Friday’s workout. The team holds the 10th, 26th, 38th, 39th, 56th and 60th picks. 

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Mikal Bridges says he would be 'perfect fit' for Sixers after workout

Mikal Bridges says he would be 'perfect fit' for Sixers after workout

CAMDEN, N.J. — Mikal Bridges is a familiar face to the Sixers.

He won championships with the Villanova Wildcats, played high school ball locally at Great Valley High School, and his mother works in the Sixers' organization.

The team had a good idea of what it would see when the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Bridges participated in an individual workout Tuesday, and he performed to those expectations. 

“In terms of the way we play pace, space, defend, I think he checks a lot of those boxes,” Sixers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said. “His length, his quickness, his athleticism, his ability to shoot the ball, those are all things I thought he did, not only throughout his career, but he did today as well.”

After averaging 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season as a junior, Bridges is a prospect for the Sixers’ No. 10 pick. Continuing his career as an NBA player close to home would have a special meaning for the 21-year-old. 

“When I was younger, my mom, my dad, my grandparents would always take me to games,” Bridges said. “It's really cool seeing what they've been doing and how well-coached they are and how hard they play, how talented they are. It would just be the perfect fit.” 

Even before he took the court at the Sixers’ training complex, it was easy for Bridges to envision himself fitting in with his hometown team. 

“They like to play tough and defense, defense first, and that's how I play,” Bridges said. “Also, you’ve got Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid] … I feel like a person like me can correlate them just when Ben goes in ball screens or transition that I’m that guy you can find in the corner or that’s going to cut to the basket, just move without the ball well for them. The same with Embiid. Just create space for them.”

Last season, Bridges showcased his growing potential by increasing his three-point shooting from 39.3 percent to 43.5 percent. He’s not stopping there. Bridges notes ball-handling, playmaking and shooting off the bounce as his biggest improvements since the college season ended. 

Bridges’ workout included 100 three-point attempts and 1-on-1 work with Sixers coaches. His session was individualized at the request of his representation. 

“I thought he did a great job,” Eversley said. 

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