Emeka Okafor

Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: What already has team seeing red?

Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: What already has team seeing red?

CAMDEN, N.J. — NBA courts measure out 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. 

For the Sixers, they’re making sure to use every inch. 

One of the courts at the team’s training complex had all four corners marked with red boxes per the request of head coach Brett Brown.

“If you look at our court there are four distinct markings on the court that I have anointed things that are important to me. That’s one of them,” Brown said after Day 1 of training camp Saturday.

Brown explained the boxes are displayed as a reminder for players. Offensively, it’s to let them know someone must be in both corners in the first three to five seconds of the shot clock to jump-start the squad’s motion. On the defensive side, it serves as a hint to close out on shooters. 

“Whether it’s defensive reasons or offensive reasons, those four spots, for me, have a reason,” Brown said. “We game-ify, we chart it, we talk about it, take the notes, film, success or failure. That’s how I communicate with the guys. It’s one of four floor spots that are important to me.”

Hello again
Forgive Emeka Okafor if he’s a little bit off at the moment. It’s been a wild week.

The veteran big man was released Wednesday by the New Orleans Pelicans. He quickly landed a new deal with the Sixers and arrived in Philadelphia on … well, we’re still not sure.

“I found out Wednesday. I got here Friday,” an uncertain Okafor said. “Thursday or Friday. I’m all screwed up right now.”

Either way, Okafor was in uniform and went through practice Saturday as he tries to extend his career again.

Work to do
Talk to Landry Shamet for any amount of time and you would think he’s a fringe player trying to stay in the league, not a first-round rookie. 

He often mentions areas that need improvement, mainly his body and ball-handling.

But no one would dare add long-range shooting to that list of question marks. The Wichita State product connected on 43.7 percent of his threes while in school.

Now he’s getting a masters-level education in jump shooting.

Quotables
“Of course we can accomplish it. This team is young, talented. Maybe a championship will not come this year, maybe next year. But I think this team has potential to show up on the court, enjoy and play tough both ways and win the games. Ben (Simmons), Joel (Embiid), Rob (Covington), T.J. (McConnell), Markelle (Fultz), the new guys – I think everybody’s excited about this season.”

- Dario Saric on goal of reaching the NBA Finals

“Let’s face it, my situation and our situation over the years that I’ve been here is kind of unique. Elton (Brand) and I are going to do this together. Elton’s gonna do what I read that he has said and what has been articulated to me. He’s the general manager of the team and he’s going to go do his thing. I’m going to coach basketball. I like how it’s played out.”

- Brown on Brand being named general manager

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Sixers round out training camp roster with Emeka Okafor

Sixers round out training camp roster with Emeka Okafor

Before the Sixers tip off the 2018-19 season with practice Saturday, the team made one more addition to the roster.

It brought back Okafor.

Sorry, not that one. The Sixers signed Emeka Okafor, who spent the 2017-18 training camp and preseason with the squad. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Okafor rounds out the Sixers’ training camp roster to 20 players.

After being waived last preseason, Okafor latched on with the Sixers’ Gatorade League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats (then the 87ers). The No. 2 pick of the 2004 draft played 26 games for Delaware before making the leap back to regular-season NBA action with the New Orleans Pelicans. Okafor also played 26 games for the Pelicans (19 starts) and averaged 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 block in 13.6 minutes per game.

The 35-year-old had previously been out of the league for four years while recovering from a severe neck injury.

Coincidentally, Okafor, who was cut by the Pelicans earlier this week, will likely his minutes in New Orleans taken over by former Sixer Jahlil Okafor.

The Sixers’ full training camp roster is below:

Jerryd Bayless, G, 6-3/210
Jonah Bolden, F, 6-10/220
Anthony Brown, G/F, 6-7/225
Wilson Chandler, F, 6-9/225
Robert Covington, F, 6-9/225
Joel Embiid, C, 7-0/260
Markelle Fultz, G, 6-4/200 
Demetrius Jackson, G, 6-1/200
Amir Johnson, F/C, 6-9/240
Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, 6-7/185
T.J. McConnell, G, 6-2/190
Shake Milton, G, 6-6/205 
Mike Muscala, F/C, 6-11/240
Emeka Okafor, C, 6-10/255
Norvel Pelle, C, 6-11/215
JJ Redick, G, 6-4/195
Dario Saric, F, 6-10/250
Landry Shamet, G, 6-5/190
Ben Simmons, G/F, 6-10/230
Zhaire Smith, G, 6-4/200

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Jacob Pullen's contract converted to 2-way deal as Sixers make series of roster moves

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Jacob Pullen's contract converted to 2-way deal as Sixers make series of roster moves

UPDATED: 6:35 p.m.

The Sixers made a series of moves to shape their roster five days before the start of the regular season.

The team converted the contract of point guard Jacob Pullen to a two-way deal. In this new contract created by the league for this season, Pullen will play for the Delaware 87ers in the G League and can spend a maximum of 45 days with the Sixers (excluding time with the Sixers before the Sevens’ training camp). Each NBA team can sign two players to this deal. The Sixers previously inked James Michael McAdoo to one.

Pullen came to Sixers' training camp with a lengthy international resume. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.0 assists in 6.8 minutes in four games during the preseason.

“He's been an A-plus teammate, A-plus worker, no back down,” Brett Brown said of Pullen Friday (see story). “I think all those things have made him a really professional addition to our roster.”

The Sixers also waived six players: guards Andrew Andrews and James Blackmon Jr., forwards Kris Humphries, Marc Loving and James Webb III and center Emeka Okafor.

Initially, Humphries seemed like he had a chance to break into the roster. At 32, he could bring a veteran presence to the bench. He was physical in early practices and the scrimmage at the Palestra, looking like someone who could push his younger teammates competitively. Humphries, though, scored three points in as many preseason games and did not make an impact on the court.

Okafor was attempting an NBA comeback with the Sixers. He suffered a herniated cervical disc in 2013 and had not played in the league since then. The veteran was a long shot to make the team, but the Sixers needed depth at the center position because of the restrictions on Joel Embiid and later the wrist injury of Richaun Holmes. The 35-year-old Okafor will play in the G League for the 87ers, according to a report from ESPN's Ian Begley.

Blackmon Jr. had been with the Sixers since their minicamp in June. He played for their summer league teams as well. Blackmon Jr. averaged 3.0 points in 5.6 minutes over four preseason games.

Webb III is a familiar face within the organization. He went through Sixers training camp last year and played for the 87ers last season. Webb averaged 13.1 points and 9.3 rebounds in 34.8 minutes before suffering a season-ending ankle injury in March.

Andrews, a guard, averaged 14.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for Best Balikesir Basketbol Kulubu of the Turkish Basketball Super League last season. He played four years at Washington, the same school as Markelle Fultz.

The forward Loving went undrafted out of Ohio State this summer. He played four seasons of collegiate basketball and averaged 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds as a senior.

The Sixers open the regular season Wednesday night in Washington, D.C. against the Wizards.