The Evster breaks down the clammiest roster in Sixers history

The Evster breaks down the clammiest roster in Sixers history

There are some things we know for sure about this year's Sixers: Evan Turner will dribble around like a hunchback and shoot stepback jumpers off the side of the backboard. Thaddeus Young will make ridiculous corkscrew layups while occasionally smashing head first into the stanchion under the basket. Kwame Brown will do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Michael Carter-Williams will have so many letters on the back of his jersey. And Spencer Hawes will attempt to play a full season with his entire head firmly implanted inside his own anus.

BUT THE REST OF THE SQUAD?!?!

WHO KNOWS?!?!

Sam Hinkie has put together a hodgepodge of basketball no-names. Hailing from PARTS UNKNOWN, players 5 through 20 will not only be fighting for roster spots, but because of injuries to Nerlens Noel, Jason Richardson and Arnett Moultrie, also competing for actual playing time.

Don't know any of these guys? That's okay, keep reading. Below is everything you need to know about the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery winners.

Guys Who Might Not Suck as Hard as We Think They Suck

Darius Morris, point guard

The former Michigan man left Ann Arbor the second Trey Burke stepped onto campus (smart move, by the way) and is probably best known as the guy who lit up Jrue Holiday for 15 points last year in a win for the Lakers. Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, you might remember him from the time he appeared on E!'s Fashion Police with Joan Rivers, Adam Lambert and GILBERT GOTTFRIED.

James Anderson, shooting guard

The Big 12 Player of the Year from Oklahoma State (that's something!) was also a first-team All American in 2010 (along with Evan Turner, John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and your boy, Scottie Reynolds). Since then, Anderson has spent three years with the Spurs, Rockets and Raptors (that's also something!), where he averaged 3.8 points a game (on 39% shooting). Buttttttttttt, you'll be happy to know that back in high school Anderson was a two-time Arkansas state high-jump champion! So if things don't work out this time around, SIXERS FLIGHT SQUAD, BABY!

The last time the Sixers picked up a guy solely because of his leaping ability, they drafted Marko Milic, the Slovenian dude who SHOCKED THE ENTIRE NATION OF SLOVENIA BY dunking over a Honda. I thought the pick was brilliant, but Marko went onto play a grand total of zero games for the Sixers. Today, Milic can be found flipping burgers at the Wendy's on 54th and City Line.

At the moment, Anderson is penciled in as the Sixers starting shooting guard.

Cliff Edwards, power forward

This is not a real person. This is just a picture of a guy that I found online, and then pasted it into this article and gave him a very generic name for a black guy. Still, I feel like Cliff could really help the Sixers out on the offensive glass.

Tony Wroten, junkyard dog

"PLAYER OF THE DAY" according to every beat writer who watched the Sixers' first practice. Coach Brown compared Wroten to a junkyard dog based on his scrappy defense and ability to chase around a basketball while slobbering all over it and ruining everyone's fun. Tony Wronie only averaged 2.6 big ones for the Grizzlies last year, but he does happen to be cousins with Nate Robinson, so there's that. Also his aunt played for the Harlem Globetrotters, which is absolutely incredible. How has ESPN not made a 30 for 30 about the Wrotens? And how friggin' annoying is it when dogs constantly try to rebound for you when you're just trying to get some shots up in the driveway?

Foreign Dudes

Solomon Alabi, center

Here is the least shocking thing you will ever read about the Nigerian-born Alabi: Before taking up basketball at age 15, he played soccer.

Now, this is wonderful, it really is. I love soccer and I love players with good footwork and I totally admit that I would kiss Hakeem Olajuwon right on his hot, wet, dreamy mouth, but every African-born basketball player in the history of this game has put "played soccer up until age 15" on his NBA resumé.

It's a given at this point. It's not surprising and it's not impressive. Not that I don't appreciate Alabi's versatility, I do, I just wish his Wikipedia page said something about how he grew up idolizing Shawn Kemp or once ate a guy's face off as opposed to "he spent his childhood kicking around a ball in the dirt just like every other person on his entire continent."

Regardless, Alabi did once have 18 rebounds in an NBA game, which is pretty impressive, until you realize that it was against the New Jersey Nets, so read into that however you want.

Tim Ohlbrecht, power forward

Let's hand this one over to NBADraft.net's Simon Dresden who had this to say about the versatile German:

"Seldom seen combination of size, scoring ability and athleticism ... Explosive qathlete for a European player ... (qathlete!) ... RUNS THE FLOOR LIKE A DEER."

Okay Dresden, calm down, just calm down. I've never seen Tim Ohlbrecht get out on the fast break, but I doubt that the 6-11, 109 kg German runs the floor like one of the smoothest, most graceful creatures to ever roam our planet. Also, deers get run over ALL THE TIME. That being said, Ohlbrecht has had a bunch of experience in Germany, playing for teams called, Brose Baskets Bamberg, Telekon Baskets Bonn, Skyliners Frankfurt and TSV Breitengüßbach!  

Also if Simon Dresden still has a job as a professional scout and writer then I don't wanna read anymore of those "The Evster is a dufus!" comments below.

And yes I realize that this just about guarantees someone writing "The Evster is a dufus!" down below.

Mac Koshwal, power forward

Another African!

Why not, Hinkie?! Why not?!

Mac is from the Sudan (RIP Manute) and not only does he not have any NBA experience, he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. Read that sentence again. This man, who played college basketball at DePaul and recently signed an NBA contract with an actual professional basketball team, does not have a Wikipedia page. Everyone has a Wikipedia page. Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec has a Wikipedia page. The guy who stocks the shelves at my local Wawa -- who may or may not know how to put on his own pants -- has like seven different Wikipedia pages. Not Mac, though. Doesn't need one. Does not need one.

What Mac does have is one, pathetic highlight video on his NBADraft.net page from 2006. If my math is correct, that means that the 25-yr-old power forward was only 7 when that video was made. It is seriously the most boring highlight clip you will ever watch. It's just one, stupid, two-handed dunk shown over and over again in slow motion set to some really lame music. And it's not even a great dunk. If anything, the pass that led to the dunk was more impressive. I am telling you, it is not worth watching. But I know you see it sitting there above, only 42 seconds long and you're thinking, "Oh, how lousy could it be? I'm not doing anything for 42 seconds. I could check it out." But I'm telling you. There's no reason to watch it. It's so boring. It's seriously so-- oh, just watch it you know you wanna.

Guys Who You've Probably Heard Of, But Still Need to be Mentioned in this Article Just Because

Khalif Wyatt, bubble butt

Look, I love Bubble Butt as much as you do -- and would be super-excited if he made the team -- but if Khalif Wyatt is playing significant minutes for the Sixers this year then we are in serious trouble bubble.

Royce White, space cadet

I'm sorry. That's not fair of me to write that Royce White is a space cadet. Social Anxiety Disorder is an actual thing and I genuinely like and respect Royce. I just hope he's able to balance his illness and his basketball career so that at some point we'll get to see him slug one of those Sixers Flight Squad guys right in the tits.

Vander Blue, shooting guard

I know what you're thinking, "I know this guy! He played at Marquette! I remember him!" No, you remember his name. The guy you're thinking of is actually Jae Crowder, who was the Big East Player of the Year in 2012, and now plays for the Dallas Mavericks. Vander Blue is just a mediocre basketball player with a semi-interesting haircut. I'm sorry Vander if you're reading this. You're probably a very nice person. Maybe use this as bulletin board material? Love that little dipsy-do squiggly line in your head, though. I really do.

Hollis Thompson, future D-Leaguer

Who cares about Hollis Thompson, let's talk about former Eagles defensive tackle Hollis Thomas, who can currently be seen dressed up like a genie in a local commercial for Videon Dodge Chrysler Jeep and Ram. If you haven't seen the spot, it's incredible. Hollis wears the shaftiest, sorriest genie outfit and tries to sling minivans by sprinkling genie dust all over the place. It is honestly bizarre. Unfortunately, the clip is not online, so I couldn't embed it here, but feel free to check out my Twitter convo with Hollis yesterday wherein I tried to track down a link to the vid.


He lied. It's not on YouTube anywhere.

Still would love to get a Rammer, though.

Go Sixers?

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Eagles repeating pattern in digging first-quarter hole in defeats

Eagles repeating pattern in digging first-quarter hole in defeats

It’s a pattern that keeps repeating itself. And it’s not a winning pattern.

Week after week, the Eagles are digging themselves a first-quarter hole. And week after week, they’re too far behind to catch up.

They trailed the Lions 14-0 in the first quarter. They trailed the Redskins 14-0 a minute into the second quarter. They fell behind the Cowboys 10-3 early in the second. The Giants jumped up on them 14-0 just six minutes in. And on Sunday, the Bengals led 10-0 before the first quarter was over.

If football games began at the start of the second quarter? This would be a different season. The Eagles would be 7-4-1.

The Eagles has actually outscored their opponents in the second, third and fourth quarters.

But the first quarter has been fatal.

The Eagles have been outscored by 32 points in the first quarter – 65 to 33. That’s their fourth-worst first-quarter scoring margin in the last 25 years, behind only three other nightmarish seasons – 1998 (minus-52), 2005 (minus-51) and 2012 (minus-75).

It’s also fourth-worst of any NFL team this year, ahead of only the Jets (minus-36), Broncos (minus-37) and Dolphins (minus-56).

Some teams – like the Broncos and Dolphins – have enough firepower to fight from behind.

The Eagles don’t.

They’re 4-0 when leading after the first quarter, 1-1 when tied after the first quarter and 0-6 when trailing after the first quarter.

At 0-6, they share the second-worst record in the NFL when trailing after 15 minutes with the Jaguars and 49ers. The Browns are 0-8 when trailing after the first quarter.

Last time the Eagles didn’t win a game all year when trailing after the first quarter was 1998. Before that 1977.

“It’s tough, especially in this league, to dig yourself a hole,” Carson Wentz said. “Whether the defense is struggling or the offense giving them points with turnovers and different things, it’s been a variation of a lot of those things. 

“It’s tough to dig yourself a hole against anybody, especially against good teams. So we’ve got to avoid that and we’ve got to come out swinging a little better early in games.”

The last time the Eagles won after trailing following the first quarter was the Dallas game last year, when they trailed 7-0 and won 33-27 in overtime.

What does it say about a team when it’s allowed twice as many points as it’s scored in the first quarter?

It sure seems like the Eagles several times this year simply haven’t been ready to play.

“The start to games, it's a mindset,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “It's truly a mindset. It's one of those things where as a team you want to come out and you want to kind of make the first punch, so to speak, or swing first. 

“We did it against Green Bay. We went down and scored, we matched touchdown for touchdown there. And we've done it throughout the course of the season. We've got to be a little more consistent offensively, too. That can also help. And then defensively it's just a matter of working to get off the field.

“It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the game if you can do that early in a football game.”

The Eagles have scored just three first-quarter touchdowns all year (only the Broncos have fewer) and haven’t scored more than seven points in any of their 12 first quarters.

They’ve allowed nine first-quarter touchdowns, and only one team has allowed more – the Dolphins with 10.

Wentz has completed 67 percent of his first-quarter passes but with just one TD pass and four interceptions.

Incredibly, the Eagles have only five plays all year of more than 20 yards in the first quarter – just one in the last four games. Only the Saints, Jaguars and Broncos have fewer.

Why are the Eagles so bad early in games?

“There is no other answer than to execute one play at a time,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “There's no magic formula. I think we've had good energy at practice. I like the way we practice. I feel like we are putting together good plans.

“We're showing flashes of being a good football team. We need to be more consistent. We need to make more big plays. It's hard to sustain 14-play drives. We've missed a few plays here and there. We just all – coaches, players together – need to make it work one play at a time.”

The only teams to outscore the Eagles in the second half are the Cowboys (13-10), Seahawks (10-8) and Packers (13-3).

When a team has outscored its opponents by 61 points in the second, third and fourth quarters combined and it’s 5-7, the focus has to be on the first quarter.

That means preparation. That means being mentally and physically ready. 

“Yeah, I do look at all of that, and that's part of my job is the (pregame) schedule and all,” Pederson said. “But these guys are in a great frame of mind on game day. They're loose; they're energetic; they're ready to go. They're focused. 

“You see it in pregame. It's been unfortunate, but it's something we've got to focus in on a little bit more … and try to strike first.”

The Eagles will try to end their three-game losing streak at 1 p.m. Sunday when they face the Redskins at the Linc.

The Redskins, 6-5-1 but with a two-game losing streak, beat the Eagles 27-20 in Landover, Md., in October.

“I think it just comes down to being focus and locking in,” Wentz said. “You’ve seen us. There’ve been games where we’ve come out and we’re rolling right away.

"We just have to find a way to maintain that and be consistent with that. The goal is to come out swinging right away.”

Flyers-Oilers 5 things: Winning streak meets Connor McDavid

Flyers-Oilers 5 things: Winning streak meets Connor McDavid

Flyers (15-10-3) vs. Oilers (14-10-4)
7 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live at 6:30

The hottest team in the NHL will meet the hottest young star on Thursday night when the Flyers host the Edmonton Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Here are five things you need to know for the matchup:

1. McDavid and Co.
The Flyers are going for their seventh consecutive victory, which would tie their longest winning streak since Dec. 2-15, 2011, when they also won seven in a row.

In order to do so, they’ll have to slow down transcendent talent Connor McDavid and the prolific but streaky Oilers.

McDavid, a generational player, has thus far lived up to all the hype surrounding him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. In just his second NHL season — and first with a healthy start after an injured-shortened rookie year (45 games) — the 19-year-old leads all of hockey in points with 36, while no other player has yet to eclipse 30.

His 25 assists also rank atop the NHL, while his 11 goals are among the top 22 and his plus-8 rating is tied for ninth best between all centers.

“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said Wednesday. “It’s tough not to be excited when playing against a guy who plays like this. He competes every second he is on the ice.”

And he has help.

Linemates Leon Draisaitl (11 goals, 11 assists) and Milan Lucic (eight goals, 12 assists) can do damage, as can Jordan Eberle (eight goals, 13 assists).

2. Defense wins games
The Flyers are playing better and cleaner in front of their goaltender — who has been great (see below) — and the results are showing.

The orange and black have gone five straight games of allowing two or fewer goals.

Why were they so up and down before this run? Well, they had surrendered two or fewer goals in just five of their previous 23 games.

“That’s unbelievable for us,” Wayne Simmonds said after Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Panthers. “At the beginning of the year, to say we’d have five straight without giving up more than two would be a stretch.
 
“We’ve locked it down defensively and Mase has played unbelievable. We’ve been pretty good as five-man units.”

3. Mase the man
A confident Steve Mason is a dangerous Steve Mason.

Right now, Mason has the net and is gaining steam by the game.

Over his past five outings, the 28-year-old is 5-0-0 with a 1.74 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

Just as impressive, since Nov. 12, Mason is 8-3-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

“I've said it numerous times, I want to be playing lots of hockey,” Mason said Tuesday. “This is a position that I'm used to being in and where I'm most comfortable. So just have to keep continuing to put my work in and whenever [head coach Dave Hakstol] calls my name, be ready."

4. Keep an eye on ...
Flyers: You always have to watch Simmonds, but especially now with the winger coming off back-to-back two-goal games. Simmonds leads the NHL with eight power-play goals and is second in man-advantage points (13) to only teammate Claude Giroux (14).

Oilers: With all the attention zeroed in on McDavid, we’ll go with the 21-year-old Draisaitl, who has seven goals in his last nine games and 14 points in his past 12. The No. 3 overall pick in 2014 is an intelligent playmaker capable of hurting you.

5. This and that
• Mason is 8-4-0 with just a 3.49 goals-against average and .872 save percentage in 13 career games against Edmonton.

• Oilers goalie Jonas Gustavsson will make his fourth start of the season. He’s 1-1-1 on the year with 84 saves on 91 shots faced, but is 0-4-1 lifetime against the Flyers with a 3.57 goals-against average and .865 save percentage.

• The Flyers are fourth in the NHL in goals per game (3.11), while Edmonton is seventh (2.93).

• The Oilers have lost 10 of their last 15 games (5-7-3).