JJ Redick is in the midst of a fairly substantial media blitz—there’s a blog that would love to talk if you have the time, JJ—and I can’t get enough of hearing him talk about the free agency process. His documentary was a fascinating look at what goes into a major, multi-million dollar decision, and he has praised members of the Sixers every chance he can get.
During a new podcast with Hoops Hype’s Alex Kennedy, Redick revealed he has been in touch with some members of the Sixers for quite some time. Pressed on whether he has been able to give the young guys any advice yet, Redick dropped an interesting detail from this past season.
I started texting Ben Simmons back in like February or March or something, we have a mutual friend in Philly, so I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, and gotten to know [Joel] Embiid of course. We saw each other at the Steve Nash charity soccer game in New York, probably chatted for like an hour and a half, and that was like two weeks prior to free agency, just happened to run into each other.
There’s only so much guidance I can give in text messages. I think the biggest thing for me is showing sort of the routine of being a professional, getting guys to sort of understand what it takes to win, and what it takes to last in the NBA.
The Embiid stuff was well-known—there were photos of the two snapped at that charity event—but the Simmons wrinkle is interesting. Redick plays it off as a “mutual friend” thing, but the two men are 12 years apart in age, and Redick is a family man versus Simmons’ young bachelor lifestyle. At the very least, Simmons is well-connected enough, without playing a game, that he had the ear of one of the summer’s top free agents. It’s a huge factor to watch moving forward.
After some discussion about why he came here—and for those keeping score at home, he thanked both Sam Hinkie and Bryan Colangelo for their roles in laying the groundwork for the team’s ascent—Redick concurred with his teammates that the Sixers should be battling for a playoff spot next season.
I think the goal should be to make the playoffs. That’s something as a group we’ve kind of talked about, we’ve kind of said that to each other, we’re going to be good this year, we’re going to make the playoffs. That’s the goal. Now, I don’t know what that means; is that an eight seed at 38-44, or is it a five seed at 48-34? I don’t know, I truthfully don’t know.
I think on paper the thing I like about our team is we have a lot of skill sets that complement each other. Brett Brown was probably the biggest factor in me going to Philly. And the way he coaches, and sort of the talent now that he has to work with—which he truthfully hasn’t had except for a month last year—I think for him figuring out how to use guys, and how to get guys to play to their strengths will be really exciting.
Like I said, I think we’re a playoff team, I don’t know what that means though.
A five seed would be a pretty staggering jump, and I’m not willing to go that far yet, but if even the wise veteran is down with the playoff dream, there’s no stopping this hype train. Just stay healthy, por favor.
And building off what he told Business Insider about Brett Brown in a previous interview, Redick opened up about why he’s such a big fan of the coach. The former Spurs assistant got rave reviews from friends of Redick’s around the league, and I have a sneaking suspicion the Sixers should send Luc Richard Mbah a Moute a fruit basket.
Every bit of feedback I’ve gotten from anyone that has played for him or been around him has been very positive. Had a couple guys say to me, ‘Oh, he’s my favorite coach I’ve ever played for in the NBA.’ From a player’s perspective, he has this respect in just his demeanor, his X’s and O’s and all that stuff.
I actually have loved the way that Philly has played, because if you’re in a situation where essentially you’re trying to lose, there’s a mandate you’re going to rebuild through the draft, it would be very easy to lose your spirit. The most impressive thing to me over the last four years, has been the spirit of the 76ers.
Philly fans should be ecstatic, he’s the right guy, there’s no question about that. I think we’re going to play a fun brand of basketball, and a lot of the stuff that he does on offense will benefit me as well.
You’re preaching to the choir, brother. You can listen to the rest of his interview with Kennedy below.