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' QB-rich support system for Carson Wentz paying dividends

Eagles' QB-rich support system for Carson Wentz paying dividends

In the wake of the Sam Bradford trade, the Eagles' announcement a week before the opener that Carson Wentz would start Week 1 was met with some skepticism and overwhelmingly tempered expectations.

But it looks like the kid can play.

And the Eagles aren’t just looking smart for drafting and playing Wentz. They’re also looking pretty smart for filling their coaching staff and quarterback room with decades of quarterback experience.

“It's a tight room,” head coach Doug Pederson said.

It’s also a knowledgeable one.

Pederson is a former NFL quarterback and NFL quarterbacks coach. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich is a former NFL quarterback and NFL quarterbacks coach. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is a former college quarterback and NFL quarterbacks coach. And backup Chase Daniel has been in the league since 2009 and in Pederson’s offense since 2013.

If Wentz has a question, he has plenty of guys to ask. And it seems like this support system, which at one time looked like overkill, might be one of the keys that has allowed the rookie to take the NFL by storm.

“There’s no doubt. There’s no doubt,” the veteran backup Daniel said. “Obviously, he’s a very bright young mind, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the coaching in the quarterback room has played a good part into his maturation and his bringing along so fast. There’s no doubt about it.”

Through three games, Wentz has completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 769 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He's the first rookie in NFL history to put up those numbers in the first three games of a career. Oh yeah, and the Eagles are 3-0.

It’s hard to believe that about a month ago, Wentz was gearing up for a redshirt year as the third quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Daniel. Now, he isn’t just the future franchise quarterback. He is the franchise quarterback.

And Wentz gives his quarterback-heavy coaching staff plenty of credit.

“It’s huge having them,” Wentz said. “I could never say enough how much they understand the game. They get it. They know what it’s like. As a former quarterback, they know what I’m going through and how I’m seeing things, so it’s been huge.”

The Eagles were clearly smitten with Wentz from the time they saw him in Alabama for the Senior Bowl. Eventually, de facto GM Howie Roseman was able to maneuver to the No. 2 pick to draft Wentz.

But Wentz went No. 2 and not No. 1, so it’s almost impossible to not peek over at Los Angeles and see how first overall pick Jared Goff is doing. So far, he isn’t doing much of anything. It doesn’t mean that eventually Goff won’t be a good quarterback, but through three games, he’s been inactive once and hasn’t yet played. The Rams are sticking with Case Keenum for now.

NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling compared the support system for Goff with the Rams and Wentz's with the Eagles. We’ll take a deeper look into what he started:

Rams
• Head coach Jeff Fisher: Defensive coach

• OC Rob Boras: Never a QB coach; coached tight ends in NFL from 2004-15

• QB Coach Chris Weinke: Former NFL QB for seven seasons; was highly-thought of QB draft guru with IMG academy for four years

• Vet QB Case Keenum: In league since 2012; best QB he's played with is Matt Schaub

Eagles
• Head coach Doug Pederson: 12 years as NFL QB; QB coach in Philly; OC in KC

• OC Frank Reich: 14 years as NFL QB; QB coach in Indy with Peyton Manning in 2009-10; QB coach and OC in San Diego

• QB Coach: John DeFilippo: College QB; QBs coach at Fordham, Columbia; QBs coach with Raiders, Jets, OC with Browns

• Vet QB Chase Daniel: In league since 2009; learned under Drew Brees; has been in Pederson's offense since 2013

It’s very possible if Wentz becomes a great quarterback that other teams copy the Eagles’ quarterback-heavy approach.

But it’s not just about getting a bunch of smart people and a talented rookie in the same room. Everything else has to work. The rookie has to be a diligent learner and all of the teachers have to check their egos and work together.

“I let John (DeFilippo), I let the quarterback coach run the meeting,” Pederson said. “If I interject, I interject. The way it works is I send my message through Frank (Reich), Frank through the position coaches. At the same time, if I want to interject something, I will interject. Just making sure there's one voice in the meeting room and they are not hearing three different answers from three different people, the message is the same.”

Practice squad quarterback Aaron Murray, who joined the team a couple weeks ago, thinks the quarterback room has “definitely” helped Wentz achieve his early success. While he is just a practice-squader, go ahead and add Murray — who was in the offense for two years in Kansas City — to the list of quarterback minds happy to help Wentz.

Murray, a fifth-rounder out of Georgia in 2014, has been impressed with Wentz’s ability to pick up protections and schemes at a young age. He compared him to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith in that regard. While Murray, along with everyone else, is happy to give Wentz tips, he tries to not overload him.

“You still want him to just go out there and play,” he said.

Murray is the newcomer to the room, but he’s been impressed with the dynamic so far. He’s not the only one. It looks like this quarterback experiment might just work.

“It’s awesome. It’s great,” Daniel said. “Everyone has a say in there and everyone in the room, it’s pretty crazy, everyone in the room, really except Carson, has been around it, has been in it and played. Obviously, he’s played, but been around for a while. He’s just a sponge, he’s just taking it all in.

“Maybe some stuff he doesn’t need to take in. Maybe some stuff he wants to do his own way, which is great. You want your own personality out there. But yeah, he’s been great. It’s been great for us too as players. We have almost a 2-to-1 coach-to-player ratio. It’s been great. Everyone has little tidbits here and there and we roll.”

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Pete Mackanin unloads on Phillies' bullpen after latest collapse

Pete Mackanin unloads on Phillies' bullpen after latest collapse

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA — The Phillies’ bullpen continued its ugly, late-season collapse on Tuesday night. It was tagged for six runs in a 7-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves rallied for the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth inning (see Instant Replay).
 
The loss came two days after the bullpen gave up 14 earned runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday and it left manager Pete Mackanin more than a little bit frustrated.
 
“The bullpen has just not been doing the job,” Mackanin said.
 
Jerad Eickhoff gave up just one run (on a solo homer by Freddie Freeman) over four walk-free innings to open the game. He was up 6-1 after four innings when the rains came and stopped the game for an hour and 53 minutes.
 
With Eickhoff bounced by the weather, Mackanin had to go to his bullpen. He used four relievers — Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez and David Hernandez — and all gave up runs.
 
Phillies relievers have pitched 77 1/3 innings this month and allowed 69 earned runs for an ERA of 8.03. So that’s one more thing Matt Klentak has to fix this winter, along with the offense that Mackanin wants to see addressed (see story).
 
Ultimately, Hernandez took the loss when he gave up three hits and a run in the bottom of the eighth. The other run in the inning was charged to Rodriguez.
 
As unbelievable as it may sound with rosters being expanded in September, the Phillies played this game shorthanded.
 
They did not have reliever Edubray Ramos. He had a sore elbow, Mackanin said.
 
They did not have outfielder Peter Bourjos, who had gone home to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
 
They also did not have outfielder Tyler Goeddel, who is out with a concussion.
 
Not having Bourjos or Goeddel forced Mackanin to use Darin Ruf in left field after Roman Quinn went out with an oblique injury in the sixth inning. Ruf failed to make a catch on a long fly ball by Tyler Flowers to the gap in left-center. The non-play extended the eighth inning and fueled the Braves’ comeback.
 
“It should have been caught,” Mackanin said. “If Quinn's out there, he catches it. He wasn't out there.”
 
Hernandez was the only free agent that the Phillies signed to a major-league contract this winter. The Phillies signed him with an eye toward using him as the closer. But Hernandez struggled much of the season and slipped into the middle innings while Ramos, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez rose to high-leverage roles.
 
Gomez lost the closer’s job last week and Mackanin was saving Neris to close out this game. That meant Hernandez had to pitch the eighth. He couldn’t protect the lead. He gave up the game-tying hit to Mallex Smith and the go-ahead hit to Emilio Bonafacio.
 
“Neris was going to close for us,” Mackanin said. “I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That's unheard of.”
 
The bullpen’s unraveling threw cold (rain) water on Eickhoff’s solid start and Ryan Howard’s big night. Howard belted his 24th homer, a grand slam in the first inning, to highlight a 14-hit attack and help the Phils jump to a 6-0 lead.
 
“Eickhoff looked like he was having one of his best games and then the rain came. So that was our first disappointment,” Mackanin said. "Other than that, Howie swung the bat great. Hit that grand slam. We got 14 hits, but we stranded 12 runners. We have to keep adding on.”
 
Quinn had three of the Phillies’ 14 hits then added to his collection of injuries with the oblique strain that bounced him from the game in the sixth. He hurt himself taking a swing.
 
Oblique injuries generally keep a player sidelined for at least three weeks, so Quinn’s season is likely over. He missed six weeks with a similar injury at Double A Reading this summer. The 23-year-old outfielder came up from the minors on Sept. 11 and has been auditioning for a spot on next season’s opening day roster.
 
“It looks like it,” Mackanin said when asked if Quinn was done for what remains of the season.
 
Injuries have been a consistent hurdle for Quinn ever since he was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. He has missed significant time with a ruptured Achilles tendon, a wrist injury that required surgery, a torn quad muscle and an oblique strain. Now he has another one.
 
“It’s the same one I hurt before,” Quinn said. “It’s frustrating.”
 
Right now, just about everything is frustrating with this team. Good thing there are only five games left.

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