As if you couldn’t tell from the headline, the drought of NBA basketball is finally almost over. Although training camp doesn’t technically begin in two weeks—it’s actually media day, which is a more lighthearted affair—that will lead right into the earnest start of training camp, and off to the races the young Sixers will go.
Just a little bit longer, everybody. We’re all in this together.
How about those Birds though?
Not all of our readers here are Eagles fans, but you’re going to find it tough to avoid the chatter after a Week One victory against a division rival. Wentz wasn’t always as sharp as you’d like him to be, but a win is a win is a win, and 300+ yards with a couple of touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at.
As always, our pals at Bleeding Green Nation are an indispensible resource for any Eagles news, and you can head over there for all the information you need on the dawn of a new NFL season, if that’s your thing.
(As an aside, I spent most of the offseason pretty much ignoring the NFL. I find myself less invested in the league as a whole than I’ve ever been for a wide variety of reasons, and aside from the Eagles game, I paid little attention to the Week One action. I can’t be alone in this, right? Eventually all the BS surrounding the NFL and the sport itself takes its toll).
Furkan Korkmaz was getting buckets against Spain
Turkey didn’t have a lot going for them in a 17-point loss against Spain, which officially eliminated them from Eurobasket 2017, but Korkmaz had himself a nice day. The Turkish wing doubled down on a lot of what worked for him in a previous standout performance against Belgium, sinking all five of the free throws he earned and showing some impressive creativity finishing.
Without beating the dead horse too much, there are obviously concerns over whether Korkmaz can do these same things effectively at the NBA level, where his frame will be more of a concern. I’m not sure it really matters as long as he has the jump shot going, because his quick release will give him some serious gravity as long as he shoots at a respectable clip from deep. The development of his floater is going to be key, and he showed it off a bit against the Spaniards.
Dario Saric was, well, nowhere near as good in his final Eurobasket performance, turning in a 3/14 outing from the field in Croatia’s 23-point loss to Russia. Maybe it’s for the best, as both he and Korkmaz can get back to Philly and start preparing in earnest for the upcoming season. Still, the jumper has not been all that encouraging, and it’ll need to be better for him to fit into some of the Sixers’ eventual lineup configurations.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen ended their years long feud
I always found the whole idea of this Celtics feud to be sort of funny, if only because Allen leaving Boston for Miami was driven by the same impulse that brought their “Big 3” together to begin with. They all wanted to pursue a better chance at a title back in ‘07, and Jesus Shuttlesworth just decided he’d continue doing that once the Celtics’ core started to slow down.
It goes far beyond the basketball on this one—read Jackie MacMullan’s 2015 interview with Pierce if you don’t believe me—but now these guys can enjoy their big achievement together until they’re decrepit old men. That’s worth more than some dumb squabble.
The Sixers looked very dapper at TJ McConnell’s wedding
I’m not personally a big fan of the bowtie, but TJ pulled it off quite nicely here. Perhaps the bigger story is something we must have missed in the middle of draft coverage this past June: McConnell’s “so many gel” haircut that he transitioned to this year was at the behest of his now wifey, high school sweetheart Valerie Guiliani, who allegedly told him, “You will not walk down the aisle with a buzzcut.” Probably a wise move to side with her on the issue.
Meanwhile, groomsman Nik Stauskas wasn’t doing too bad in the style department either.
The other Sixers at the wedding (or not at the wedding) kept a lower profile, though Justin Anderson decided he’d show a little love to McConnell’s Twitter mentions.
Major shoutout to my brotha @TJMcConnell marrying the love of his life today! Y'all blow up his mentions for me!!!— Justin Anderson (@JusAnderson1) September 9, 2017
McConnell hasn’t tweeted since 2016, but still! Another probably-only-funny-to-me note: there was no “Best Man” in TJ’s wedding party, and instead there were two, “Men of Honor,” which makes it sound like they hooked up a PS2 in the back of the church and sort of ignored the whole wedding thing.
“I truly believe definitely Ben is going to be the future of this league coming down the road,” the big man said Thursday. “He’s been great.”
Johnson spent the past four seasons with the Boston Celtics, and signed with the Sixers in July on the first day of free agency. The 6-foot-10, 240-plus pound Simmons has wowed Johnson with his “freakish” abilities, and versatile skill set.
“The stuff I’ve seen him do just training, it almost seems like it’s not fair, man,” said Johnson. “You get a guard to switch on him, you get a big to switch on him, and he’s just an unbelievable athlete, unbelievable scorer, and an unbelievable passer. He can do it all.”
As I mentioned last week, some recent pickup game action left some unnamed observers pretty impressed with Simmons’ game. Now there are players willing to put their name behind their own impressions of Simmons, and well, you can read. That’s tremendously exciting stuff.