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Liberty Links: Steve Nash is a fan of Sixers guard T.J. McConnell

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There are worse endorsements for a point guard to get.

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NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers didn’t make any progress in the lottery standings Wednesday night — damn you, Russell Westbrook! — but one of their players got a nice compliment from one of the greatest to ever play his position. Steve Nash is apparently a T.J. McConnell fan!

Steve Nash appears on The Bill Simmons Podcast

Some context: Nash and Simmons were discussing the evolution of the point guard position, and how there are few “old school” point guards left in today’s NBA. The two-time MVP did not tell these young whippersnappers to get off his lawn, and he was complimentary of one of the guys still producing as a vintage-model point:

The point guard in Philly, the kid from Arizona, TJ McConnell, he’s a pure point guard. He makes their team better. I like watching Philly a little bit. He’s kind of overmatched in a lot of ways, but he’s smart, he’s tough and he can make plays. He’s a pure point guard, and there’s still a ton of value for that I think.

Nash is the indirect reason the Sixers own the Lakers pick, so he’s basically an honorary member of the Process. Welcome aboard, Steve.

Paul George: Pacers have no winning pride

Hey Paul. Can I call you Paul? You may have heard a certain NBA team in the northeast offered a whole heck of a lot for your services around the NBA trade deadline. If you’re unhappy with the level of pride on display from your teammates, there are a bunch of feisty, hard-nosed kids in Philadelphia who could use a wing scorer in the summer of 2018. I’m not saying, but I’m saying:

Jayson Tatum scouting report — Derek Bodner, Draft Express

Derek appears to be* higher on Tatum than I am, mostly because I am not a big believer in his secondary skills at the next level. Still, scoring ability from the wing is something the Sixers need, and Tatum was pretty excellent at getting his once he got his legs under him at Duke. I will probably change his rank on my big board 15 times between now and draft night.

*I say “appears to be” because this is a straight scouting report rather than an opinion piece, and Derek is not one to go overboard in that sort of setting. For all I know he secretly has the same opinion as I do!

Toni Kukoc is a fan of Dario Saric

You’ll have to excuse me for not speaking fluent Croatian, but Kukoc is keeping an eye on his young countryman. He has seen Saric gain the trust of his teammates as he’s stepped into a bigger role down the stretch, and is as impressed by the last month of play as the rest of us are.

Would the Celtics be the East’s worst 1-seed ever? — Joseph Casciaro, The Score

Any and all Celtics slander will always have a place on this website. When this collection of Celtics manages to win a playoff series, I’ll be cool with talking about where they fit in the NBA’s hierarchy.

ESPN ranks Brett Brown as league’s 21st best coach

I think Brown’s ranking is mostly fair given his career to date, though degree of difficulty should probably be a bigger factor. Two large nits to pick here, though:

  • What exactly has first year head-coach David Fizdale done to earn the 12th spot on this list? The Memphis Grizzlies are basically in neutral. Should we throw him a parade?
  • Brad Stevens is a good coach. Brad Stevens being ranked third over the likes of Erik Spoelstra and Rick Carlisle is absolutely insane, given their respective resumes.

Has the NBA caught up to the European game? — Harvey Araton, The Vertical

The NBA has benefitted greatly from deeper investment in overseas talent, and they’re doing more than ever to identify and obtain talented players from around the globe. This is a great thing. Americans will likely always dominate basketball on some level because of how deep the cultural roots are, but the larger the potential player pool is, the more fans of the sport will reap the benefits.

Adam Aron is shaking up the movie theater business — Brent Lang, Variety

Shout out to our departed friend, former Sixers CEO Adam Aron, who is apparently killing it in the movie theater chain game. I don’t go to the movies that often these days, but I’m very down with the emphasis on “luxury seating” from chains like his. I spent enough time overpaying to sit in uncomfortable chairs as a college student.

As a side note, we might have to send him to the lottery again this year:

If you’re out there Adam, Sixers fans need you to once again provide the team with that sweet, sweet lottery luck.