Dei-mails: What will happen with Sixers' vet trio?


Dei-mails: What will happen with Sixers' vet trio?

In this latest edition of Dei-mails, we touch on the Sixers’ veteran core, Michael Carter-Williams’ minutes and the rookie point guard’s best comparison.

Here we go:

What will happen with Turner, Hawes and Young?
A reader named Brad posed this question, as well as whether the Sixers’ front office would keep Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young around to help with leadership on the club.

I think the Sixers will definitely make a move by the trade deadline. I do not think it will involve Hawes because he is in the final year of his contract and his $6.5 million salary is not enough money to come off another team’s cap to land a impact free agent in the offseason.

Young and Turner have both increased their trade value. Heading into this season, there was definitely a belief neither guy was in the future plans of this franchise. While that may still be the case, Young and Turner are still just 25 years old with plenty of time to grow as players.

Sam Hinkie loves draft picks, that much we know. Still, trading Young to a contender for a first-round draft pick this year would not be enough in my eyes, even though this upcoming draft class is said to be deep in talent.

A first-rounder and an expiring contract would definitely have Young on the move. He makes close to $9 million this year and has two more years left on his contract.

Turner’s payday is coming in the offseason and I just don’t see the Sixers being ready to spend what he will demand on the open market. They are still a few years away from being a team that can contend in the Eastern Conference.

I think a sign-and-trade happens in the summer involving Turner.

Is Brown going to burn out Carter-Williams?
A Twitter user (@LoyalJohnHall) was concerned about Michael Carter-Williams’ minutes on the court.

The worry is understandable. Carter-Williams has already been sidelined earlier this season with a foot injury and is now dealing with a sore knee.

Carter-Williams is averaging 36.6 minutes per game, the most among all rookies. His minutes are second-highest on the Sixers behind Turner’s 37.1. The rookie point guard’s minute are rank 17th in the entire NBA.

As a college sophomore, MCW played 1,409 minutes over a 40-game season. He is already a little more than one-third of the way to logging those same minutes in his first pro season.

The increased number of games, playing at a high tempo and a drastic increase in travel is certainly an adjustment. However, those things are best dealt with by youth.

Who is a good comparison to Carter-Williams?
A reader named Michelle said that Carter-Williams reminds her of “a skinny Magic Johnson.”

I decided to look at Magic’s numbers as a rookie through 15 games and compare them to Carter-Williams’ marks. Johnson’s points are all that are listed game by game and he averaged 19.6 a night in his first 15 games.

For the season, Johnson averaged 17.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.4 steals a game. He shot 53 percent from the field but just 22.6 percent from three-point range.

Carter-Williams is currently averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game.

Carter-Williams is shooting 40.8 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from long distance.

Point guard Joel Embiid? Sixers' big man works on leading break

Point guard Joel Embiid? Sixers' big man works on leading break

CAMDEN, N.J. — Toward the end of Sixers practice Monday, Joel Embiid participated in a fast-break drill … by himself.

Embiid brought the ball up the floor in a one-on-none situation against members of the Sixers' coaching staff. 

He's already showed off his three-point shooting skills and now he’s running the break? 

“I’ve always thought I was a point guard,” Embiid joked. “So that’s something that I want to do.”

In all seriousness, Embiid worked on his ball-handling skills during his two-year rehab from foot injuries. It’s not that he wants to become an unconventional point guard, it’s that he is striving to be an all-around threat. Embiid focused on recording his first assist, as an example, during the preseason. 

“I think I’m a complete player,” he said. “I think I can do everything on the court. Doing that shows I think it can help my team, too, in other aspects.” 

With running the break comes attacking the basket in traffic. It could be an anxious moment for a coach to watch a player fresh off two years of foot injuries to drive in a crowd. Sixers head coach Brett Brown said he has to be past the feeling of holding his breath whenever he watches Embiid do so. 

“We are so responsible with how we use him and play him,” Brown said. “It’s like us with children. They go out for the night. You’re nervous, but they go out for the night. He plays basketball for a living, and so he plays. We’ve just got to keep putting him in responsible environments and monitoring his minutes.”

As a point guard, T.J. McConnell appreciates Embiid’s skills, especially given his size. 

“To the people that try to pick him up when he brings the ball up the floor, good luck,” McConnell said. “It’s pretty incredible to see.” 

Robert Covington watched Embiid practice his ball handling during his lengthy recovery. He has seen improvements and likes the dynamic it creates for the team on the break. 

“His handle is really tight and then he’s really strong with it as well,” Covington said. “We’re very comfortable with him pushing the ball.”

That being said, Brown isn’t about to anoint Embiid into a point-center role. He knows Embiid’s desire to be active all over the court, but just as he’s said he doesn’t intend for Embiid to become a go-to three-point shooter, he also wants Embiid to focus on his true position. 

“Joel likes to be a player,” Brown said. “He wants to be a guard. He wants to shoot a three. He wants to be a post player. He wants to play. And we all have seen enough to think he actually can. 

“There are times that he rebounds and leads a break, we want him being aware of get off it, get it to a point guard more than not. I don’t mind him coming down in trail if he’s got daylight, him shooting some. He’s got a wonderful touch and I’ve seen it for two years. 

“... All over the place, I want to grow him. I’m not just going to bucket him up. I still say, like I say to him, 'At the end of the day, you’re a seven-foot-two post player. Post player.'”

Watch Embiid running the floor here:

Sixers cut Brandon Paul, Dionte Christmas, 3 others to set 15-man roster

Sixers cut Brandon Paul, Dionte Christmas, 3 others to set 15-man roster

In a preseason full of unexpected turns, the Sixers' final cuts were as anticipated.

The Sixers on Monday waived guards Cat Barber, Dionte Christmas, Brandon Paul and forwards Shawn Long and James Webb III to trim their regular-season roster to 15. 

Long, Paul and Webb had been with the Sixers since summer league. Barber signed with the team for training camp. Philadelphia native Christmas was the newest addition. He joined the Sixers the day of the deadline (see story)

The Sixers own the D-League rights to Barber, Christmas, Long and Webb. They are expected to land with the affiliate Delaware 87ers. 

Paul’s D-League rights are owned by the Cavaliers. He has received interest from other NBA teams, according to a source, and has not discussed playing in the Development League. 

Long appeared in each of the Sixers' preseason games. He averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds. Webb posted 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in six games. 

Paul averaged 7.3 points (36.4 percent from three) and 2.3 rebounds in four games. Barber was sidelined during the preseason by a right hand/wrist injury. He played two games, averaging 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. 

Christmas, 30, had planned to play this season in Greece and decided on Sunday to sign with the Sixers instead of returning overseas. 

The Sixers waived 17-year veteran Elton Brand last weekend after he announced his intention to retire. 

Here's the Sixers' complete roster:

2016-17 Sixers
Robert Covington, SF, 6-9/215
Joel Embiid, C, 7-2/250
Jerami Grant, F, 6-8/210
Gerald Henderson, G, 6-5/215
Richaun Holmes, F, 6-10/245
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, G/F, 6-6/205
T.J. McConnell, PG, 6-2/200
Jahlil Okafor, C, 6-11/275
Sergio Rodriguez, PG, 6-3/176
Dario Saric, F, 6-10/223
Nik Stauskas, G, 6-6/205
Hollis Thompson, G/F, 6-8/206

Inactive list
Jerryd Bayless, PG, 6-3/200
Nerlens Noel, PF/C, 6-11/228
Ben Simmons, F, 6-10/240