NBA General Managers Don't Showtheirluv for Sixers

NBA General Managers Don't Showtheirluv for Sixers

While there is a strong buzz around town that Andrew Bynum could lead the 76ers to an Atlantic Division championship, that enthusiasm isn't shared by many league executives. In an annual poll of all 30 NBA general managers, the Sixers were chosen by only two of them to finish the season in first place.

The Boston Celtics were chosen by two-thirds of the GMs to win the Atlantic, which comes as no real shock. Despite an aging core, the C's did reach the Eastern Conference Finals last season. However, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets each received four votes, which means only two -- 6.7% -- general managers picked the Sixers to come out on top.

And while you would have to imagine one of them was Tony DiLeo, respondents were not allowed to choose their own team. That means there are actually two whole executives outside of Philly who believe. Talk about a lack of respect.

But wait, there's more! Bynum got trounced in the polls as well, in two categories no less. 28 out of 30 execs selected Dwight Howard over Bynum as the best center in the NBA, while new Lakers teammates Howard and Steve Nash split 90% of the ballots on which acquisition would make the biggest impact -- Bynum received a single vote.

It's probably fair to say Howard has earned his reputation as the best center in the league, but you could at least make a case for Bynum having a greater impact on a franchise that was lacking a credible superstar.

General managers did show some love for Doug Collins though. The Sixers head coach came in third with 13.3% of the tallies for head coach who makes the best in-game adjustments, behind San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle in Dallas. However, Collins did not receive a vote in any other coaching categories.

A slight nod to Collins doesn't make up for the biggest disappointment anyway, which of course is the league's lack of confidence in the Sixers' ability to win the division. That's probably to be expected given the fact that the status of Bynum's health is in doubt, Boston has been the team to beat for years, and there is also some stiff competition in New York.

Would you say the opinion around the NBA mirrors your own, and the Sixers are not in line for an Atlantic title this year, or do you think the poll numbers are way off base?

>> GM Survey: LeBron and Heat the faves, but look out for L.A. []

Even Mike Trout wants to see Sam Bradford's return to Philly

Even Mike Trout wants to see Sam Bradford's return to Philly

When Angels All-Star outfielder Mike Trout's six-year, $144.5 million contract ends in 2020, the Millville, New Jersey, native will be in his prime at 29 years old, and Phillies' fans dream of seeing Trout playing at Citizens Bank Park could be come true.

For the time being, though, Trout, a season-ticket holder, is just chilling at Lincoln Financial Field as the Eagles play the Vikings on Sunday because the Angels are almost as bad as the Phillies and even he couldn't stay away from Sam Bradford's return to Philadelphia.

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

Michael Del Zotto, Scott Laughton return to practice

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers welcomed two more players out on to the rink for their practice following Saturday’s 6-3 win over Carolina. 

Michael Del Zotto (lower body) and Scott Laughton (lower body) returned to the ice for the first time since suffering injuries within days of each other. Before Sunday’s light practice, Del Zotto and Laughton had skated two consecutive days prior to work on their conditioning. 

“It’s nice to see them back with the group,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. 

Laughton, who injured himself during a training camp practice after losing an edge, was a bit more forward than Del Zotto on when he hopes to return. 

“I would say within the next five to seven days,” Laughton said.

The 22-year-old pointed to Saturday’s game with Pittsburgh as his target to return. 

As for Del Zotto, the defenseman didn’t want to jinx anything, saying it’s a “day-by-day” situation. He would like to think he’s working on the same timetable as Laughton. If that’s the case, he would be back either a few days before or right on cue with the projected four to five weeks he was scheduled to miss after suffering an injury to his left knee in the preseason against the New York Rangers on Oct. 6. 

“It’s kind of trial and error,” Del Zotto said. 

Above all else, though, the two were just happy to be back with their teammates. Del Zotto said that being around everyone really rejuvenated his spirits. 

“Just being back around the guys and having that team chemistry and camaraderie and being able to joke with the guys,” Del Zotto said, “it’s probably been the best thing for me.”

This past month has especially been hard on the two because of the timing and how last season ended for them. 

While there’s never an ideal time to suffer an injury, the pair saw training camp and the approaching start of the regular season in a different light than most of their teammates.

It was supposed to be their new start. Last season, Del Zotto missed the final few months, including the postseason, after ligament damage to his left wrist. He was having a strong preseason, arguably the top defenseman in camp at the time before suffering his setback.

“Being out so long last year and having to sit and watch playoffs than having six months of grueling rehab to get back into it … that made it sting that much more,” Del Zotto said. “That’s part of the game. It’s a contact sport. I signed up for this.”

The same can be said for Laughton, who experienced a scary injury in Game 4 against Washington after being dumped head first into the boards. 

“I was really excited to have camp and start the year here,” Laughton said. 

The two will be traveling to Montreal with the rest of the Flyers for Monday’s contest. They will each do the morning skate with another bag skate afterward.