Let's say the Sixers' glass is half full ...

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Let's say the Sixers' glass is half full ...

I recently had a conversation with someone who works for the Sixers. He had a lot to say. This was the short version: The team’s glass “isn’t half empty, it’s half full.” He actually used those words.

Cheery clichés generally make me recoil, but he’s a naturally positive guy so I let it go. The attendant implication was that I’m a negative guy. It hurt the black cavity where my feelings should be.

Ah well. If you can’t beat 'em, pander to 'em. (Pretty sure that’s how the old adage goes.) As the Sixers (22-29) prepare to return to the court on Wednesday, here are some (mostly) positive points. Also: rainbows and unicorns and puppies! Hooray.

Lavoy Allen: He’s averaging 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23.3 minutes this season. All of those numbers are up from a year ago. If/when Andrew Bynum returns, Allen will likely see his court time dip and his bench time increase, but less responsibility might actually help his game. He’s been better as a reserve than he was when Doug Collins used him as a starter earlier in the year.

Kwame Brown: Oh, man. Already testing me here. OK. Staying positive. He’s 6-foot-11, 290 pounds. He has been consistently large all season. Every night, every game, he shows up and he’s big. And he convinced the Sixers to give him a contract with a player option for the second year. That’s impressive.

Andrew Bynum: After a long, long (long) wait, Bynum said he hopes to practice in the next week or two. Rinse. Repeat. Ugh. But we’re being positive, so … The Sixers are 20th in rebounds and 25th in points in the paint. Bynum would obviously help in both areas. When he’s right, he’s one of the top-three centers in the NBA. Plus, he has a sweet Pop-A-Shot game, which is important.

Spencer Hawes: Some people (not me) might point out that a 7-foot-1 center should spend less time taking mid- and long-range jumpers and more time down low. Some people (not me) might note that Hawes is a large human who is only averaging 6.4 rebounds, 50th in the NBA. Some people (not me) might even question his sometimes-suspect defense. Some people (not me) are such downers. Hawes had that sweet quasi-mullet earlier this year, and he wore an excellent headband too. What more do you want?

Jrue Holiday: Unquestionably the best player on the team. Among all NBA point guards, he’s second in minutes per game, fourth in assists and fifth in points. And he’s only 22 years old. This season marked his first All-Star game, but it won’t be his last.

Royal Ivey: His name is Royal Ivey and he’s a professional basketball player. As lives go, his is pretty good.

Jeremy Pargo: The Sixers recently signed him for the remainder of the season. In his first game with Philly, Pargo had 12 points, six assists and four rebounds. And then there’s this.

Arnett Moultrie: There were high expectations for Moultrie. The Sixers acquired him from Miami, who took him with the 27th overall pick after the former Mississippi state power forward led the SEC in rebounding. Moultrie struggled to start the season and was sent to the D-League. He could have gotten discouraged. He could have pouted. He didn’t do any of those things. To his credit, he’s done what’s been asked of him without becoming a problem in the locker room. Acting like a professional is underrated. And with Thaddeus Young out (hamstring), Moultrie had some solid outings. He put up a career-high 12 points against the Pacers, and he grabbed 21 total rebounds in three games against the Bobcats, Clippers and Bucks.

Jason Richardson: He’s out for the season (knee). But –- as the Sixers reminded everyone all year -- he’s still No. 13 on the NBA’s all-time list of most three-pointers made. Huzzah.

Evan Turner: He’s having his best season as a pro. Turner is averaging 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists over 36.2 minutes -- all career highs. By his own admission, he needs to be more consistent -- not taking those four or five random bad shots per game would be a start –- but at least he’s aware of it.

Damien Wilkins: He’s NBA royalty. Son of Gerald, nephew of Dominique. That’s good work if you can get it.

Dorell Wright: He’s starting to get more court time, and he plays better defense than some people on this list (some people who might be listed directly below). He once led the NBA in three-pointers. The guy has more skill than he’s been allowed to show so far.

Nick Young: Since getting benched, Young is suddenly playing better. Maybe all his detractors were wrong about him.

Thaddeus Young: After sitting on the bench for long stretches against the Celtics in the playoffs, Young bulked up in the offseason and dedicated himself to playing better defense and rebounding (he leads the team with 7.4 per game). He’s been excellent this year. It’s a shame he hurt his hamstring. At least the other one still works.

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.