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Notes from Sixers Media Day

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Also included: an injury update.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers-Media Day Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Goals, lessons learned, new faces, big dreams, lofty expectations.

Sixers’ Media Day is, in some ways, the beginning — a fresh start. Players talk about putting last season behind them (while acknowledging what they’ve learned) and looking forward to what’s to come. There was an obvious confidence exuded from the team — they know what they’re capable of — yet an awareness that nothing in this league is a given (well, unless you’re the Golden State Warriors, I assume). I was able to attend Sixers’ Media Day on behalf of Liberty Ballers, and the following content contains some of the most notable talking points of the event.

Ben Simmons

While Sixers’ fans dream of Benny Threesamano, those grounded in reality don’t expect Ben to come out firing three pointers to start this season. Still, some of the rational among us held out hope that Simmons would at the very least be comfortable attempting shots from distance here and there. But Ben took a needle to that balloon of a dream:

I appreciate the honesty, to be honest.

Players who never shoot threes don’t just acquire a 3PT repertoire over one summer. And it’s possible (I’d say likely) that Ben never develops a 3PT repertoire — that is, the combination of the ability to catch-and-shoot as well as pull-up off the dribble from 3PT land at a 36%+ clip. That’s okay, at least for now. Not perfect, but nothing in this Sixers’ life is perfect. With the right tools around Simmons, it’s not long range or bust. However, Simmons does need to be able to threaten from the mid-range, and to do so, he needs to work on his jumper. It also wouldn’t hurt to improve his scoring around the hoop: while Simmons ranked 12th in EFG% amongst players with at least 900 FGA in 2017-2018, it was obvious to anyone watching that he didn’t have the most aesthetically pleasing shooting touch. According to Ben, he worked on multiple ways to score this summer:

So Simmons isn’t comfortable shooting threes, and he doesn’t care if you know. But he is working on scoring, and that’s the most obvious step to realistic improvement as well as eventually, possibly, at the very least forcing the opposition to guard him at the perimeter.

Simmons was asked about the team’s chemistry, and he responded by noting the confidence and camaraderie that the Sixers’ locker room has developed:

Jonah Bolden

Figuring out the Sixers’ front court rotation is a little bit tricky at the moment. The Sixers have the following centers on retainer: Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson and Mike Muscala. Dario Saric figures to get the most front court minutes outside of the center position, and the Sixers also have Wilson Chandler and Robert Covington, who can both play some minutes at the four when Brett Brown goes small. So how does a rookie like Jonah Bolden get tic? Bolden noted his versatility:

I wouldn’t expect Brett Brown to pigeonhole his players into one position, and Bolden sounds like he’s ready to move around a bit. I don’t think Bolden has the lateral quickness to play the three, but if he can stretch the floor offensively, the four is a viable option. Floating between both big positions could help find the rookie a handful of minutes each night, and it sounds like Jonah is ready for the challenge.

Joel Embiid

Joel is close to Markelle and the two trained this summer with Drew Hanlen. Combine those two facts with Joel being so open and honest, it was only a matter of time until Jo was asked about Markelle’s summer, to which he responded emphatically positive:

“I don’t think the whole story this year will be about his shot.”

In other words, Joel expects Markelle to make serious waves. So much so that ‘Kelle’s theoretically improved shot won’t even be the storyline surrounding Fultz, which is quite the statement considering it is one of the most discussed developments of all of the NBA in recent memory.

Joel was asked about his reaction to Elton Brand’s promotion, and while he noted Brand’s achievements and qualifications, Jo used the opportunity to take a cheap yet charming shot at the new General Manager:

Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz wasted no time in addressing last season’s fiasco:

Other Notables

Landry Shamet on what he’s focused on this summer:

Furkan Korkmaz on finding a role with the Sixers:

Mike Muscala on replacing bench contributors Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli:

TJ McConnell on what a healthy Fultz could mean for TJ’s spot in the rotation:

Dario Saric on perimeter defense:

JJ Redick on returning to the Sixers:

Injury Report

From the Sixers press release: