Kevin Durant

Undaunted by Sixers' exit, Embiid and Simmons see 'a lot of rings' in future

Undaunted by Sixers' exit, Embiid and Simmons see 'a lot of rings' in future

The Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder prior to the 2008-09 NBA season.

The franchise’s stint in OKC began that season with second-year forward Kevin Durant and a rookie point guard in Russell Westbrook. That young combination took its lumps as the team produced a 23-59 record. 

One year later, the duo got some reinforcements and made a major leap to 50 wins to snag a postseason berth. And just a couple of years after that, Durant and Westbrook guided the Thunder all the way to an NBA Finals appearance.

Fast forward roughly a decade, and the Sixers find themselves in a very similar situation. 

The team has a pair of young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The Sixers underwent a significant jump in victories from 28 a season ago to 52 in 2017-18. That led to the group’s first playoff run, which ended with Wednesday’s 114-112 Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics (see game recap).

Even the sting of elimination didn’t prevent the Sixers from realizing their prime position in the league for years to come.

“Me and Ben, we have a lot of room to grow,” Embiid said. “I was thinking about it, just looking at K.D. and Westbrook, what they did their first season together. I think they only won like 28 games (23) or something like that. Looking at what we did, we have a bright future.

“At the end of the game, he (Simmons) came up to me and showed me his hands and he was like, ‘There’s going to be a lot of rings on these.’ I was like for sure, so we’ve got a bright future.”

Embiid believes that positive future would be aided by having roster consistency heading into next season.

“We have a great group of guys,” he said. “I hope they’re all back next year. We understand each other, we play well with each other.”

More than anything, Embiid and the Sixers understand they have more work to do.

Kevin Durant has thoughts on Simmons vs. Mitchell in Rookie of the Year battle

Kevin Durant has thoughts on Simmons vs. Mitchell in Rookie of the Year battle

The Ringer’s Bill Simmons sat down with Golden State Warriors star and NBA Champion Kevin Durant for yet another interview on his podcast to talk all things NBA.

You may remember last summer when KD made waves on Simmons’ pod for the outlandish statement that Kyrie Irving was better than Allen Iverson.

Durant is back with another take today about a different Sixers star.

“They’re one of the best passing teams in the league,” Durant says of the Sixers. “Ben Simmons, nobody really guards him on the perimeter yet, that’s why he’s able to be free out there. His jump shot is not there yet so he’s roaming around and can drop a pass to Embiid for a dunk or Covington or Redick for a three.”

Bill asked KD if Ben should be eligible for the Rookie of the Year after missing the entire season last year.

“I just think that whole experience of being around an NBA franchise for a year, you have an advantage over other rookies,” Durant said. “Mitchell was in college last year. He was sleeping in dorms.”

It’s hard to argue that spending a year around an NBA team would give you an advantage, but rules are rules.

Brett Brown knows, as he stated over the weekend.

“He is the stone cold Rookie of the Year,” Brown said of Ben.

Here’s a quick look at the two players’ numbers at this point in the season.

Simmons: 15.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 8.0 apg, and 1.7 stpg. 

Mitchell: 20.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, and 1.5 stpg.

The Simmons-led Sixers are surging late in the season with a chance at the No. 3 seed in the East. The Jazz are also playing well to finish the season, having won 8 of their last 10, but are battling for one of the West’s final playoff spots in a tough conference.

Finally, we’ll end with a quote from Durant that came earlier in the podcast.

“All your blog boys and your fan boys that are going to use what I say and create an article, watch a basketball game. I just want to say that.”

I guess I’ll watch Ben Simmons dominate the Knicks this evening.

Chris Long defends LeBron James after attack from Fox News host

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Chris Long defends LeBron James after attack from Fox News host

Chris Long is beloved by Philadelphians for much more than rocking a full-lenghth faux fur during the Eagles' Super Bowl championship parade. Most in Philly respect Long because he is one to speak his mind on whatever topic he sees fit. He's also a man of action, not just talk.

So when Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked LeBron James and Kevin Durant for expressing their views on Donald Trump, Long stood up for his fellow athletes.

"Keep the political commentary to yourself, or as someone once said, 'shut up and dribble,'" Ingraham said.

As someone who hears "stick to sports" on a regular basis, this commentary hit close to home for the Eagles defensive end.

Long took exception and wanted to point out some of the people Ingraham's own network has on for their own political commentary. He launched into a Twitter thread pointing out some of the political experts.