Mikal Bridges

Sixers vs. Suns: Live stream, storylines, game time, more

Sixers vs. Suns: Live stream, storylines, game time, more

When the NBA calendar was released in August, opening night, Christmas Day, and matchups against top teams like the Warriors and Raptors headlined the Sixers' schedule.

Nov. 19, though, was a date worth circling.

On draft night back in June, ESPN’s Chauncey Billups compared No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton, a skilled, athletic, 7-foot-1 center, to Joel Embiid.

Embiid was not a fan of that comparison.

He doubled down on his assessment of Ayton at media day in September, telling ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and Stephen Jackson that “[Ayton’s] about to get his a-- kicked this year.”

“He's going to be good," Embiid said.  “But when you talk about 'He looks like Joel Embiid,' I play on both sides of the court. I think I'm a good offensive player, good defensive player. I do it on both ends of the floor. I watched him play and he's got a lot of work to do. But he's got a lot of potential. He's going to be really good.”

Ayton has done his best to distance himself from Embiid’s trash talk.

“I don’t even indulge in those type of things,” Ayton said Sunday, per AZCentral.com’s Duane Rankin. “I just play. I just play every time.”

Ayton is averaging 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds for the 3-12 Suns. Expect Embiid to attack him in the post early and often.

• Monday night is a homecoming for one of the Suns’ other rookies, Villanova product Mikal Bridges. For about 20 minutes, Bridges was a Sixer, after the team selected him with the No. 10 pick in this June’s draft. Then the Sixers traded him in exchange for No. 16 pick Zhaire Smith and the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick.

Smith is sidelined for the Sixers after a series of unfortunate events, including a Jones fracture in his left foot in August, an allergic reaction in September, and complications stemming from that reaction. He’s not expected to return to the court this calendar year, per a team source (see story)

Bridges, meanwhile, has had a solid start to his NBA career. He’s averaging 7.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals and is the only Suns regular with a positive net rating (plus-3.6)

• Though Jimmy Butler is already fitting in quite nicely with his new team (hitting a game-winner tends to help with that process), he’s still learning the Sixers’ playbook, while Brett Brown is still determining how to best use Butler. On Saturday night in Charlotte, we saw more of the two-man game between Ben Simmons and Butler. Expect to see Brown add a couple more actions for those two, including some pick-and-roll looks with Simmons as the screener. 

• The Sixers are 8-0 at Wells Fargo Center. The Suns are 0-6 on the road. As has been the case the past three games, the Sixers should take a sizable lead in this one. This time, they should be able to hold it.

Below are the essentials for Friday’s game. 

When: 7 p.m. EST 
Where: Wells Fargo Center 
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia (Pregame Live starts at 6:30 p.m. EST)
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Roster
Jonah Bolden, F, 6-10, 220, No. 43 
Jimmy Butler, F, 6-8, 236, No. 23 
Wilson Chandler, F, 6-9/225, No. 22 
Joel Embiid, C, 7-0/260, No. 21 
Markelle Fultz, G, 6-4/200, No. 20 
* Demetrius Jackson, G, 6-1/200, No. 11 
Amir Johnson, F/C, 6-9/240, No. 5 
Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, 6-7/185, No. 30 
T.J. McConnell, G, 6-2/190, No. 12 
* Shake Milton, G, 6-6/205, No. 18 
Mike Muscala, F/C, 6-11/240, No. 31 
JJ Redick, G 6-4/195, No. 17 13
Landry Shamet, G, 6-5/190, No. 23
Ben Simmons, G/F, 6-10/230, No. 25 
Zhaire Smith, G, 6-4/200, No. 8
Justin Patton, C, 6-11/229, No. 0

* Two-way player

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Value of Sixers' future 1st-round pick could diminish as abolishment of one-and-done hits snag

Value of Sixers' future 1st-round pick could diminish as abolishment of one-and-done hits snag

It’s still a tough memory for Brett Brown.

The Sixers’ decision to trade 2018 No. 10 overall selection and Villanova product, Mikal Bridges, to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith and Miami’s unprotected first-round pick in 2021 pulls on the coach’s heart strings to this day.

“That was a painful night,” Brown said prior to Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic. “Ultimately, when I’ve got to walk out of that room and tell the city of Philadelphia that we traded Mikal Bridges, that wasn’t a pleasant night. 

“The things and the reasons that we did it to acquire and the the excitement that we had in Zhaire, those are good stories. But that fact doesn’t still sit well with me.”

Now that deal might hurt the Sixers even more down the road.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA and NBPA are struggling to reach an agreement on lowering the league’s minimum age to 18, which would end the one-and-done draft era. While the major sticking points are reportedly turning over medical information to teams and participation in the pre-draft combine, it appears that Sixers-Suns swap has played a role in the negotiations.

“Phoenix traded the rights to Miami's unprotected 2021 first-round pick to Philadelphia in June, and the moving of that valued pick played some part in pushing back the proposed rule change to 2022, league sources said,” Wojnarowski said. “Those teams made decisions without the benefit of knowing the timetable on a change in the age limit. The first crop of high school seniors will be deeper in talent than those who come immediately before and after it.”

The Sixers were happy to nab Smith, who they deemed their “1B” player in the 2018 draft class, in the package. But the fact that the Miami selection was slated for 2021, when high school players were thought to be back in the draft mix, was also a significant factor.

“Then there’s a 2021 pick and we all understand that that could be the year that high school people are allowed into the NBA,” Brown said on draft night. “That is far out and it also could be the thing, as I said to Marshall (Harris), that could be the thing that flips it with us having more assets to enhance a realistic trade for a star.”

Any potential package in the future involving the 2021 first-round pick would certainly take a bit of a hit if high schoolers weren’t part of the available pool of players. 

But with the calendar currently set to 2018 and the Magic inside the Wells Fargo Center for a matchup, Brett Brown the former Sixers interim general manager was only set on his duties as Brett Brown the head coach.

“I haven’t thought about it the way you’d want me to give you a good answer,” Brown said. “I hear the ripple effects.”

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Sixers rally past Suns for upset to advance in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League

Sixers rally past Suns for upset to advance in MGM Resorts NBA Summer League

After finishing up pool play in the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League earlier this week, the Sixers opened the tournament portion of their slate on Thursday still looking for their first win in Las Vegas.

They won't have to wait any longer as the 30th-seeded Sixers battled back in the second half for an 88-86 win over the third-seeded Phoenix Suns at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Sixers (1-3) will next play on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. when they face the No. 14 seed Milwaukee Bucks, who knocked off the No. 19 seed San Antonio Spurs in overtime.

The Suns, who suffered their first defeat after winning their first three matchups, will play a consolation game before wrapping things up for the summer.

Now let’s dive into some observations from Thursday’s action:

1. Zhaire Smith and Mikal Bridges will likely be linked together for the rest of their NBA careers and the pair shared a court for the first time as professionals in this one.

Of course, Villanova product Bridges was drafted by the Sixers with the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft before being dealt a short time later to the Suns for No. 16 selection Smith and Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder.

The Sixers made the move knowing Bridges was the better player at the moment but with an eye toward Smith’s immense potential. However, both players looked every bit the part of rookie on Thursday with some bright spots and some negatives.

In 21 minutes of play, Smith had eight points on 2 of 5 shooting to go along with two assists. That included this one three-pointer right in Bridges' face.

Bridges contributed seven points and was also 2 of 5 from the field in addition to four steals and two blocks in 27 minutes. The thing that may stick with the former Wildcat is he couldn't get a handle on the ball under the rim in the final seconds for a potential game-tying shot.

2. Isaiah Miles has never received serious attention for an NBA roster to this point in his career but that should change in the near future.

The former St. Joe’s standout is a prototypical stretch four in today’s game and he showed exactly why against the Suns.

Miles poured in a team-high 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting, including 6 of 8 from three-point range. He also battled inside to pull down six rebounds and put his body on the line to take a charge in the second half when the Sixers were making their push.

“We started 0-3. We had a 30 next to our name as a seed, and we kind of took that as disrespect,” Miles said, per the Sixers' website. “We had to make a stamp on this tournament, so we wanted to come out and show that, and work hard. I’m proud of these guys. We worked hard against a really good Phoenix Suns team. We live to fight another day.”

The 24-year-old has played in France and Turkey since leaving Hawk Hill, but his skill set says he deserves a shot back in the United States.

3. Jonah Bolden made some pretty bold claims about being determined to come from overseas and join the Sixers for the 2018-19 season. His performance in Sin City has suggested otherwise, but that doesn’t mean things have been all bad for the big man.

Bolden has played some solid defense throughout the Sixers' summer league stint and the Australian took things up a notch in Thursday’s victory as he locked down No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton.

Ayton entered the contest averaging 16.0 points (67.0 percent shooting) and 11.0 rebounds. Bolden limited the center to 10 points on 4 for 10 shooting and nine boards with six turnovers.

Bolden’s own offense was nothing to write home about as he was held scoreless and had four turnovers. However, he should still be able to put on the tape and feel pretty good about his effort.

4. Things are so much easier for summer league teams just thrown together with random guys when they have strong play from their lead guards. Thankfully for the Sixers, both Furkan Korkmaz and Demetrius Jackson finally found a rhythm on the same night.

Korkmaz, who had been virtually nonexistent since his 40-point explosion in the opener, bounced back with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes.

Jackson was a main reason the Sixers battled back after intermission. He found his way to the rim consistently as he contributed 10 points, five dimes and three boards.

5. Nevada product Cameron Oliver has felt right at home during the Sixers’ MGM Resorts NBA Summer League run in Las Vegas.

The forward has made some good plays and even better celebrations. He continued that trend on Thursday.

Oliver came off the bench to finish with 10 points and four boards. Reserve guard Askia Booker also tacked on 11 points and six assists for the Sixers.

Shaquille Harrison led the Suns with 17 points while New Jersey native Davon Reed put up 16.

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