Liberty Links: A
daily post with links to all things pertaining to the Philadelphia Sixers
Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that Monta Ellis talks are "pretty hot", and the chances he's traded for Andre Iguodala are 50-50.
The Sixers have fielded several calls about Iguodala, but executives who've spoken with them detect reluctance in the Philadelphia front office to trade Iguodala in a salary dump. The Sixers want a player of value in return, sources said.
David Thorpe of ESPN (insider) has a piece on Bismack Biyombo.
What Biyombo brings to the game right now is exactly what you'd expect when you first see him. He has amazingly long arms, and he uses them as often as he can. That part is easy to see. But I like his nimbleness in defending ball screens and closing out shooters. Other than a few occasions when he stumbles, Biyombo has a smart and mature approach to the way he plays defense. He anticipates well and is not one of those shot-blockers who never wants to leave the paint. He has an advanced understanding of team defense, clearly coming from his experiences playing at such a high level. It would be fair to assume that his team in Spain would go undefeated in any major college conference in America, and that should give you some indication of the talent level there.
He's projected to go fourteenth in Chad Ford's latest mock.
Tom Moore of Philly Burbs has a video of Sixers director of player personnel, Courtney Witte discussing the Sixers draft strategy.
Sixers Director of Public Relations, Mike Preston tweets that there are no pre-draft workouts scheduled this weekend, because the front office is traveling overseas for a European scouting trip.
Marc Stein of ESPN tweets that the Sixers are indeed looking for a big man, specifically an athletic one. Chris Kaman doesn't really fit that mold.
Fran Fraschilla of ESPN has a player profile on big man prospect Jonas Valanciunas.
While Valanciunas has tremendous offensive potential, it is based more on his athleticism than his skill level. Right now, he scores most of his points off energy plays like offensive rebounds, fast breaks and in the screen-and-roll game, where he gets a running start to the rim.
His lack of strength doesn't allow him to get close enough to the basket yet to utilize any low post moves. And his passing out of the post is average at this point. But based on the fact that he is a near 90 percent free throw shooter this season, there is an expectation that an offensive game can be developed as he physically matures. That is critical because he shows, at this point, no propensity for playing on the perimeter.
He's projected to go eighth in Chad Ford's latest mock draft.
Michael Levin threw every Andre Iguodala rumor over the past week or so into a single post.
Thus far, it seems like the Ellis rumors hold the most validity. Things will keep popping up until and possibly beyond the draft. But I'm still holding out hope for a Wesley Johnson/#2 pick swap with the Timberwolves or an Omri Casspi/#7 deal with the Kings. As of now, it's unknown what Rod Thorn is looking for in an Andre trade. It does seem more likely than ever that Iguodala will get traded. But at this point, nothing would surprise me.
Larry Brown and Billy Cunningham aren't surprised by the Sixers potential sale.
"I have some friends who are close friends with Ed," said Brown, most recently the head coach of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. "I don't think Mr. Snider wants to do anything [halfway]. . . . I would imagine in this time of his life, if he wasn't able to give 100 percent, he'd rather have somebody else do it."
Here are two articles (Tom Moore) (Bob Cooney) regarding the Sixers most recent pre-draft workouts, featuring Chris Singleton and Jordan Hamilton.
From Cooney's article:
"[Chris Singleton is] a competitor, he's extremely hard-nosed, and he's an extremely humble young man who knows where he's going," Witte said. "He's just going to continue to work on trying to get there. Defense wins. For our coaches, [defense] is a prerequisite. He certainly did nothing to hurt himself by coming in and playing as hard as he did. It was very good for him."
"I wouldn't agree that we're strictly looking big," said Witte, who will leave with other members of the Sixers staff for Europe today for more interviews. "I think we're looking for the best player. This is a process. I think we all saw today a high level of athleticism from all the way down the line. When you take a kid out of his college program, sometimes they were not allowed to show everything that they were able to do [during the season], and I think that was clearly the case today. That is why you bring kids in. We saw some things on a couple of different players that we were not able to see with as much time as we scouted them. We're extremely happy with what happened today."
Henry Abbott from TrueHoop has an interesting quote on a potential CBA proposal.
"We've put out proposals to improve the ability of teams who have not done so well to compete better on the court, for example by giving them an additional first-round draft choice."
I dig it.
Zach Lowe of Point Forward (Sports Illustrated) gives his thought on all the Iguodala rumors, and keeps it real, as always.
What a sorry combination of alternatives for the Sixers.
As for this theoretical Orlando offer, I'd hope that Philadelphia would either hang up on the Magic officials peddling it or drag in a third team that could provide some actual assets.