The Evster breaks down the 1989-90 Sixers team photo

The Evster breaks down the 1989-90 Sixers team photo

This April marks the 24th anniversary of the 1989-90 Atlantic Division Champion Thump 'n Bump Philadelphia 76ers. Now obviously, a 25th anniversary celebration would make more sense, but after googling "Da Golden Child Kurt Nimphius" and finding the team photo above, I couldn't wait another year to write this article.

Forget about Grantland's oral histories or talking to actual human beings, a deep look into this photo will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about this squad. They say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, this one is worth 919.

Let's start with the obvious.

BOOM SHAKALAKA.

Like a great 19th century impressionist painting, the eye is immediately drawn to these three towers of power, Bob Thornton, Kurt Nimphius and Mike Gminski. Nice of the G-Man to show up considering he just finished filming an episode of Guiding Light. That beard is SHORN, and check out the curly-q's creeping along the back of his neck. No wonder he averaged 13 and 9. Opposite the G-Man, you can't help but notice Bob Thornton's lack of shoulder hair. Shocking, really. Nimphius is just on a whole 'nother level though. THAT SMILE. Talk about just being happy to be there. Honestly, how did these dudes not have a sitcom together? And are you telling me that Kurt Nimphius didn't moonlight as a Main Line orthodontist?

Speaking of perfectly straight teeth ...

RONNIE RON RON ANDERSON.

Look at those pearly whites. And the 'stache. Andddddddd the 'stache! Unstoppable. Ron Anderson missed out on the 6th Man of the Year award that year, losing out to Ricky Pierce, but Ricky never had a mustache/smile combo like that. Also, those are some really smooth and defined cheek bones. I can't believe how in love I am with Ron Anderson. Nice little earsies, too.

I have a buddy whose father used to own the pharmacy at the corner of 54th and City Line, right across from where the Sixers used to practice at St. Joe's, and he claims that Ron Anderson used to come in before road trips to pick up CASES of condoms. Not cartons, but CASES. I am not making that up and I am also not surprised because Ronald is a STALLION.

Scott Brooks and Derek Smith seem to be having the time of their lives, a clear sign of how well this team got along. You would think that maybe they were laughing at something the Chuckster said, but Charles looks pretty focused here, so I'm gonna rule that one out. They could be having a laugh at the expense of Kenny Payne, but that'd be too easy. But if you look closer, it's actually pretty obvious as to why they're cracking up.

Buzz Braman totally farted.

He totally farted!

Look at that face, he can't deny it. Plus, if you zoom out a bit, you can see that Sixers' trainer, Tony Harris, is giggling like an idiot. Could probably feel the warm breeze on his leg.

Have you EVER seen hair like Buzz Braman's?

Nimphius Schmimphius, this guy is an Adonis. Nothing about his haircut makes sense. There's little sprouts popping out all over the place, and yep -- yep yep yep -- that's a Reverse Renegade mustache. I knew it. I knew it from the second I looked at it. HE'S A REAL PERSON, FOLKS. Buzz Braman is a real, live, breathing person who walked out of his house every day and tackled the world looking like this. God this is an unbelievable country we live in.

At the other end of Coaches Row is equipment manager, Alan Lumpkin, aka the Double Breasted Assassin. You don't see suits like that every day, people, you simply do NOT. I'm guessing Lumpkin came straight from Jos. A Bank and has like 14 more suits (and a sack of cocaine) in the trunk of his car. Seriously, how does that place stay in business? They always have the most ridiculous sales: Buy one suit, get two suits free, plus three shirts, four ties, a 1987 Buick Skylark, a half-a-pound of turnips and a free week trial of America Online.

That's a fascinating business model, you got there, Joey Banks. Absolutely fascinating.

Then there's Lanard Copeland, who is absolutely miserable. YO LENARD. YOU'RE EARNING AN NBA PAYCHECK. HOW 'BOUT CRACKIN A SMILE, YOUNG BUCK?

Then again, he's sandwiched in between Charles and Hawk, who are both sitting like a couple of jerks on the subway, taking up all the legroom, completely oblivious that someone's sitting next to them.

I UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN, LANARD.

THIS LADY WAS ALL UP IN MY GRILL LAST WEEK.

Then there's my main man Johnny Dawkins aka Johnny Dawk-Dawk (no one called him that). This picture looks pretty harmless until you look at his sneakers: Avias. Seriously. Dawk-Dawk is wearing Avias. The only other people in 1989 who wore Avias were Hakeem Olajuwon and Jane Fonda.

Whatever, Fonda!

Get over yourself!

But back to Dawk-Dawk. 1989 was right smack in the middle of the greatest era in basketball sneaker history. Hersey Hawkins is rocking the Nike Air Revolutions. Lanard Copeland's got the Air Flights. Even G-Man is wearing Cons. But not Dawk-Dawk, that stubborn son-of-a-bitch.

For the record, I happen to know another ill-nana point guard (and future 700 Level blogger) whose sneaker game was on point back in the day.

SMOOTHEST THIGHS IN DA BIZ, Y'ALL!

Follow the Evster @TVMWW.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”