*Steps off ledge*
*Wipes away tears*
*Collects and rationalizes thoughts*
*Sits down at computer*
Welcome to the first edition of Views from the 6ers!
A monthly newsletter, with zero affiliation to the artist Drake, giving you the rundown of the most fascinating team in the NBA. Yes – contrary to popular belief the Sixers are the most interesting team in the world. So crack open a Dos Equis or a Shirley Temple and give this month’s edition a read. Or just skim it for the good parts, as long as you clicked we’re good.
Friday, September 30th, 2016 – 3:35 PM ET
This is the exact time my thought to start this Sixers newsletter was documented and sent to our managing editor at Today’s Fastbreak.
Friday, September 30th, 2016 – 6:18 PM ET
News breaks of Ben Simmons fracturing his 5th metatarsal bone in his foot.
Ben Simmons has fracture in his right foot. Further details coming.
— Bob Cooney (@BobCooney76) September 30, 2016
Because of course, it happened like this!
I’m really sorry fellow Sixers fans and NBA fans wanting to see Ben Simmons because I am clearly at fault for this injury. It was absolutely way too early to show any faint interest or optimism in this team knowing that curses and jinxes in sports, in fact, exist and are 100 percent real. Be sure that I’ll be taking penance for this injustice on the NBA.
We’re several days removed from Simmons’ injury, and I’m currently at stage three in the five stages of grief. So for all of you following along with DABDA. I’ve been trying to bargain for days with the basketball gods to deliver a miracle, and there has been no response as of yet.
— Jeff Berest (@jeff_berest) September 30, 2016
But before this newsletter gets too morose, let’s move on to more uplifting material because we will ultimately cover the Ben Simmons injury a little more in the segments below.
Things we learned last month (offseason):
1) Bryan Colangelo is not totally incompetent and wants you to believe he’s more like Sam Hinkie than not
Not spending $80 million on Dion Waiters or trading Nerlens Noel for 20 cents on the dollar – isn’t that all we really could’ve asked for in a GM? Jerry Colangelo’s son even drafted two international players, including a stash in Furkan Korkmaz. He performed admirably in his first offseason, but it also helps when you have the #1 overall pick and extremely low expectations coming off of a 10-win season.
Colangelo is like that guy in your fantasy league when you’re absolutely shocked he didn’t get taken advantage of in a trade. The sooner he makes real decisions regarding the Sixers future, the sooner we’ll find out how much Bryan has learned from his two prior stints as a GM.
2) Joel Embiid is officially healthy and ready to start playing competitive basketball after two consecutive missed seasons
“The Process” golden boy still has a far climb before we can inundate him the second coming and the Sixers Messiah, but the fact that his latest recovery was sans any major setbacks is fairly encouraging and enough to make me believe in his long-term ability to stay on the court. (I am easily swayed.)
He’ll have to use the 2016-17 season to adjust to the speed of the NBA and build his endurance, but the skills have been there from the beginning. It will not shock me if he makes it tough on the Sixers coaches and medical staff to not play him over his likely stringent minutes-restriction.
3) Nerlens Noel is unhappy, and the Sixers are totally fine with that
Much of the day-to-day conversation revolving the Sixers is typically the glut of frontcourt talent they currently roster. And this offseason was no different, in fact, it was even more pronounced and exacerbated due to the additions of Ben Simmons and Dario Saric. Noel has been outspoken about his discontent with his foreseeable role on the team, and he is right to voice his concerns.
But that doesn’t mean the Sixers are going to acquiesce to demands and make immediate changes. The team is seemingly fine waiting out the inevitable and moving pieces around but won’t make a trade just for the sake of making a trade. However, any leverage the Sixers may have in a possible deal is waning, quickly. The worst-kept secret in the league is that the Sixers must eventually decide on moving one or more of heir bigs, so I guess we’ll see who blinks first, Colangelo or the league.
New faces, different places
Via free agency: Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez
Via draft: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric* (*2014 Draft)
The Sixers were bereft of any guard talent whatsoever last year, except T.J. McConnell. But unless you’re me, that exception doesn’t apply. They did a nice job of targeting several veteran players who were willing to come here on short-term deals and help the young core during (what is hopefully) the end of the rebuild.
They also added Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot who will likely spend much of the season with the Delaware Sevens. Then finally, the Sixers were able to sway Dario Saric to come over to the NBA this offseason, and the talented Croatian forward should make an immediate impact with Ben Simmons sidelined, and is the obvious candidate to be a starter Day-1 at the power forward position.
Something to prove:
The former lottery pick has not lived up to his promised potential since entering the league. Coming into training camp he was on the hot seat to even make this Sixers roster, but early reports have been encouraging for Stauskas. He has been playing with a previously unseen swagger and has added muscle over the summer which should help his defensive woes.
His long-term career will hinge on his ability to deliver from the perimeter at a high clip, and that is definitely something the Sixers would want to utilize. With Simmons sidelined Stauskas is likely to make the roster but needs to prove to Brett Brown and Bryan Colangelo that he can put it all together and be a part of this Sixers future core. As of today, he’s headed in the right direction.
In case you haven’t heard, Jahlil Okafor is not the strongest interior defender. And with a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team’s frontcourt situation, Jahlil will need to prove his worth on the defensive side of the ball. Regardless of whether he’s going to be in Philadelphia long-term, or to prove to other teams around the league that he is worth trading for and investing in.
Okafor has slimmed down this offseason which should help increase his endurance and quickness. However, he is still rehabbing a torn meniscus but should be close to 100 percent by the start of the regular season. With Embiid’s minute restriction, Okafor should get plenty of time at the center position to start the year, and this will either boost his trade value or give the Sixers more confidence in a decision to keep him over Nerlens Noel.
-Brett Brown is slowly morphing into Gregg Popovich and he should’ve kept the beard. Fact: Ben Simmons has zero foot injuries while Brown had a beard. Makes you think?
-Sam Hinkie joined Twitter, and it is exactly how you would expect it to go
9 | …watch tons of basketball, and soak up all that I can. Oh, and snowboard. For sure snowboard.
— Sam Hinkie (@samhinkie) September 14, 2016
-Will Smith, part-owner/fair-weather-fan. Yeah I said it. We haven’t seen this dude in like over three years while he was off making several terrible movies. But now all of a sudden we get Ben Simmons and Embiid is healthy and he’s back on the bandwagon. No, nuh-uh. I won’t stand for it.
when Hitch walks through the door and tells you everything is gonna be okay pic.twitter.com/qLobOCWTXH
— Jeff Berest (@jeff_berest) October 1, 2016
Having said all that, I think its really cool he’s a part-owner and I’m sorry I said his movies are terrible.
Dr. Jeff’s Medical Corner
(Disclaimer: Dr. Jeff received his doctorate in medicine from Trump University, and is currently under review by the state of Pennsylvania)
Sorry about the disclaimer, I was mandated by the courts to put that there, but trust me I’m basically a doctor and my diagnosis’ are valid.
Ben Simmons fractured his 5th metatarsal bone, and because of the reports signaling surgery, it seems like it could be a Jones fracture which is more volatile than an Avulsion fracture. I know this because I am a doctor and not a person who has researched this on WebMD for 16 hours. Simmons’ timetable is reportedly at three months and considering the Sixers situation it could end up being longer, because the team is likely to ensure he is about 150% healthy before putting him back on the court.
Plain and simple, this news is extremely disheartening. But if there is one city who should be able to cope with this, it’s Philadelphia. From Andrew Bynum, to Nerlens Noel, to Joel Embiid, this city has been beyond patient and has waited…and waited…and waited. We are well equipped to wait roughly three months, I can do that standing on my head.
“what if the Sixers keep him out the entire year?”
I’m not entertaining that thought right now, that is for future newsletters.
Dr. Jeff’s prognosis: Give Ben 3-4 months of rehab sprinkled with a few trips to Qatar and he should be fine.
Positive spin: This time off should give Brett Brown the opportunity to rebuild Simmons’ jump shot and hopefully sure up one of the only deficiencies in his game.
What to look for this month:
1) The Sixers make their long-awaited return to national television on opening night against the Oklahoma City Thunder and not Kevin Durant.
2) Joel Embiid plays for real and not against 5’6 white athletic trainers or invisible defenders.
3) My eventual cease and desist letter from Drake for using this awesome title “View from the 6ers”
…but I’m pretty sure Meek Mill has my back…
Trust the Process.