Brown urging Young to take more three-pointers

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Brown urging Young to take more three-pointers

Thaddeus Young was an opportunistic scorer the last couple years, paying attention to the ball coming off the rim and going to grab it or using his speed to get an easy deuce in transition.

In the Doug Collins coaching era, Young was a combined 8 for 34 from three-point range over three seasons. That was by choice -- his coach’s choice.

“Coach Collins didn’t really want me shooting a lot of threes,” Young explained. “He wanted me to be that inside guy who could dig out garbage points and hustle plays and things like that. He wanted me to be his opportunity scorer.

Brett Brown still wants Young to find sniff out those gritty points. He also wants the seven-year forward to expand his range.

“The other night he made three. Last year, he made two all season,” Brown said. “That is quite a statistic. It is not right or wrong because every coach has different philosophies in mind, but with him I think he can be different in that regard if he can start adding that to his game.”

“This gives me a chance to expand my game out to what it was the first couple years,” Young said. “Back then I was mixing it up outside inside, but this is just a good opportunity.”

In Young’s second and third years in the NBA, he made 104 of 302 shot attempts from behind the arc (34 percent).

Not only was there a different philosophy about shooting the three-pointer under Collins, but the former Sixers coach had different personnel that included Jodie Meeks, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday -- all more prolific long-range shooters than Young.

Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner also took a piece of that three-point pie.

Fast forward to this rebuilding season the Sixers are in the midst of and you'll see a starting five that is not known for outside shooting.

To date, Michael Carter-Williams has the most made threes on the Sixers with 10, while Spencer Hawes has nine.

Young is 3 for 8 from behind the arc. All three of those makes came in the Sixers' win over the Wizards in Washington last week.

“Thaddeus is so unusual because it is not like he is going apples for apples against power four men,” Brown said. “He is an undersized four and maybe a three. With us he is a four because of the makeup of our team and so you say to yourself 'how do I get an advantage out of that?' And to me it is his speed and the fact that he can shoot threes.”

The beauty of Young is no matter what he is asked or how often that changes, he finds a way to answer the bell without a complaint.

“He is so compliant and does whatever you ask of him,” Brown said. “He is a good teammate, he is a good person. And this year we have empowered him to look for that type of shot.”

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

WAYNE, Pa. — Three steps. 

That’s all it takes before Ben Simmons is recognized walking through the streets of Philadelphia. 

This year’s No. 1 pick has been in the spotlight long before the Sixers drafted him in June, and now he's experiencing what it's like to be known as an NBA player in his new city. 

“I’ve been enjoying walking around South Street, getting some Ishkabibble's,” Simmons said Tuesday after a special appearance at the Sixers' Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy. 

At 6-foot-10, Simmons towers above most on the court, let alone on the sidewalk. Fans have been eager to welcome him to Philadelphia for a new chapter of the organization after three years of struggle. 

“Positive things,” Simmons said of the comments he receives. “I think a lot of people are excited, so I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Simmons understands the impact a professional athlete can have on young fans, and was excited to be at camp Tuesday.

Growing up in Australia, he never had the opportunity to hear from NBA players when he attended basketball camps. Now that he's in that position, the 20-year-old was glad to provide that memory to the 240 campers. 

“That would mean a lot if I was able to experience that,” Simmons said. 

Simmons demonstrated skill drills, such as passing fundamentals, interacted in a Q&A session and signed autographs for each camper. He also took individual photos for those who traveled internationally, including from Nigeria, Italy and Greece. 

“I’m just like them, but older,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to be a good role model to them.”

Simmons plans to spend most of the offseason in Philadelphia as he gets settled into the city. He still has to move into his new home, but at least he knows where to get a cheesesteak in the meantime. 

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

Two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that the Miami Heat have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent guard Dion Waiters.

The two sides came to agreement on Monday. Waiters will make $2.9 million. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

Waiters averaged 9.8 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, but had several big games in the playoffs. He played particularly well against Dallas and San Antonio in the playoffs before his role was reduced in the seven-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Waiters will give the Heat another scorer off the bench (see full story).

Blazers: C.J. McCullom inked to four-year extension
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A person familiar with the deal confirms that guard CJ McCollum has agreed to a four-year, $106 million contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because the deal hadn't been formally announced by the team. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

McCollum, who was named the NBA's Most Improved Player, averaged 20.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Blazers during the regular season. He raised his scoring average by more than 14 points over the previous season.

As the 10th overall pick for the Blazers in the 2013 draft, McCollum bided his time on the bench for his first two seasons. He became a starter in the backcourt with Damian Lillard last season after four of the team's starters departed in the offseason (see full story).

Michael Jordan donates $2 million to ease racial tensions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan is trying to help ease tension between African-Americans and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner said Monday he's giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The aim is to help build trust following several shootings around the country.

Jordan says in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that "as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers," (see full story).

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

The Sixers continued to add to their roster Monday, announcing the signing of guard Brandon Paul. 

Paul participated on the Sixers' summer league squad in Las Vegas, where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 19.5 minutes. He also played for the Hornets in Utah. 

The 25-year-old went undrafted out Illinois in 2013 and has been playing overseas and in the D-League since then. Last season, he led FIATC Joventut (Spain) in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Paul also has been a member of the Canton Charge (D-League) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). 

Next season he could play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Paul is one of several offseason additions for the Sixers. The team has signed Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, James Webb III and Shawn Long. The Sixers also have reportedly agreed to a deal with Cat Barber.