'Shazam!' And Your 2013 Third Baseman Is: Not Chase Utley

'Shazam!' And Your 2013 Third Baseman Is: Not Chase Utley

In a perfect world, Not Chase Utley is a seasoned third baseman. Not Chase Utley is a right-handed bat who can hit for power. According to Ruben Amaro, Not Chase Utley almost certainly is not Chase Utley.

The Chutley experiment at third base seems to have ended before it ever really got started, ending when the Phils' general manager admitted nobody in the organization is quite comfortable with that idea after all. Sure, maybe the career second baseman could make the switch, but how could we ever know for sure, especially in time for 2013?

I mean, I guess they could play him there over there for the last five games. Yeah, that doesn't sound desperate at all.

This was always some sort of pipe dream. Via Jim Salisbury:

“It’s kind of on hold, I guess,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said early Friday night. “He made progress [in workouts at third base.] It’s more a matter of practicality and what’s really best for the team.”

“After further review, we think this makes sense,” Amaro said. “He’s doing well over there. But in retrospect, we think it would be difficult to make an assessment on watching him play six games. We’re not good enough scouts to make an assessment on six games.”

“It’s not dead, but it’s kind of unfair for us to make an evaluation on six games and say, ‘Shazam, this guy can play the position,’” Amaro said.

Pretty sure Amaro may have put a magic spell on me the moment he said "Shazam," but it is also possible I simply find it hard to disagree with any thought that we're going to take a player who has been at one position his entire big league career and suddenly move him to another. I mean, it would not be the first time that's ever happened, but in this case we're also talking about a guy most fans wish would just play an entire season for a change.

You have to appreciate Utley for volunteering, but also should respect the front office for putting a stop to it before it really grows legs. The Phillies need a third baseman, and Chase Utley is not a third baseman. Yet looking at the barren free agent pool, we can only hope Not Chase Utley actually turns out to be a better option.

>> Utley third base experiment is put to rest [CSN]

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

It really felt like we could've gotten this one. The Denver Nuggets are hardly pushovers, but they came into this one a 7-13 team that'd lost their last three games, and even last night they seemed fairly beatable, even for a Philadelphia 76ers team still missing Robert Covington (in additional to our usual mini-roster of absentees). But Philly's energy sagged in the third quarter as Denver caught a second wind, and they spent the final frame hitting shots that the Sixers couldn't answer. Final score: Nuggets 106, 76ers 98. 

The most sobering part of the loss was that Joel Embiid finally played what would best be described as "a bad game." Not that bad, of course — even at his worst, Joel still managed 16 points and notched career-high five blocks. But he only shot 5-15 from the field, turned ball over three times, grabbed just four boards and played a large part in the sinkhole offense that the Sixers played in the late third and early fourth that ultimately cost them this one. JoJo still has trouble reading double teams and knowing when not to attack into traffic, and his frustration was extremely evident as he kept trying to do too much and paying the price for it. 

Nonetheless, even with an off Embiid night and a still-slumping Sauce — officially down to Left in the Car Overnight temperature after a night of 4 points on 1-7 shooting in 35 minutes — Philly probably still coulda gotten this one. Sergio Rodriguez appears to have swiped Nik's swag at least temporarily, with a season-high 17 points on 7-14 shooting to go with seven dimes and three steals, while Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova also poured in 17 and 8 each, and the Nuggets wings were largely kept quiet for two and a half quarters. But even while struggling, the Nuggets paraded their way to free-throw line — 34 FTAs for the night, including 12 for Danilo Gallinari alone — and once they caught fire late, the Sixers just couldn't keep up. 

A bummer for a team that's now lost seven in a row, and has to face the Grizzlies tonight in Memphis — their fourth game in five nights, and the first of a three-game road trip — without Embiid and also without Jahlil Okafor, out with illness. Even with the Grizz missing their own big names (no Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph or Vince Carter lately) and likely suffering from fatigue of their own after a double-OT road win last night in New Orleans, the 4-17 Sixers are gonna have a tough go matching Memphis' grit and grind tonight. Anytime you feel like Supermanning in and saving the day now would be cool, Nerlens Noel. Just sayin'.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.

The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."

Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries. 

He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.