We should put Thaddeus Young's name in trade rumors more often

We should put Thaddeus Young's name in trade rumors more often

You never know how players are going to react to trade rumors. Sometimes the ego-bruising involved in being mentioned in them at all takes a while to recover from, as might the disappointment of such a deal ultimately not coming to fruition. The latter seemed it could have been a particular worry for our fed-up power forward Thaddeus Young, who reportedly asked for a trade several weeks ago, and was included in talks of an Omer Asik deal with Houston that never materialized before the Rockets' self-imposed Dec. 19th deadline came and went.

All credit to Thad, though, since rather thank going in the tank post-Asik deadline, the no-deal appears to have had the exact opposite effect on him. In the four games since Dec. 19th, Thaddeus Young has simply been one of the best frontcourt players in basketball, with numbers that are almost beyond belief: 27.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.5 SPG, and all on 55% shooting and 65% from three. The numbers of his last four performances--in which the Sixers went 2-2, by the way--have raised his season averages to about his career norms, nullifying the uncharacteristically slow start he was off to this season.

The most staggering part, of course, is the three-point shooting. Thad has never shot over 35% for a season, and has generally been seen as a subpar outside shooter for his career, but he's been so friggin' hot these last four games that he actually hit ten three-pointers in a row at one point. Ten in a row! That's two more total than he made the last three seasons combined! In a season of super-unlikely happenings...well, it still might not crack top five for this dumbstriking Sixers team, but it's probably top ten at least.

Perhaps just as incredible for Thaddeus, though, were the back-to-back 30-point, ten-rebound games in road losses to the Bucks and Suns. Not only were they the very first two 30-point, ten-rebound games of Thad's six-plus-season NBA career, but they mark the first time that a Sixer has had back-to-back 30-point/ten-board games since Charles Barkley back in 1992, and only the second time that any player has had two such consecutive games this NBA season. (Though remarkably, both Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant have done it in the handful of days since--good players.)

It would appear that rather than sulk his way through what might be his final days as a 76er, Thaddeus Young has instead decided to force the Sixers' hand by raising his trade value to unforeseen heights with his super-awesome play of late. Don't think I can be a stretch four? Fine, Thad says, HERE'S TEN GODDAMN THREE-POINTERS IN A ROW I'M EVEN BANKING 'EM IN I CAN'T EVEN MISS WHEN I WANT TO. Production slipping a bit? Fine, Thad says, HERE'S ALL OF THE POINTS AND REBOUNDS TAKE 'EM I DON'T EVEN WANT 'EM ANYMORE. If he really wants to be traded, this is just about the constructive way Thaddeus could hit us over the head with that point.

So, who wants to leak the reports that Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes have demanded to be packaged together in a trade? We could use some ET hot shooting streaks and weird big-man triple-doubles.

Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Between recent wins and Joel Embiid’s All-Star push, fans are buying their Sixers gear.

According to Fanatics.com, a sports apparel website partnered with the four major sports, the Sixers rank fourth among all NBA teams in total merchandise sales over the past seven days. The Warriors, Cavaliers and Bulls are ahead of them.

Joel Embiid was the fifth-best selling player over that period. His popularity has risen during his enthusiastic All-Star campaign, which included celebrity shoutouts and an outpour of social media activity. Embiid is now up to 553,000 Twitter followers.

The Sixers have ranked in the league’s top 10 of merchandise sales since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. They hold the largest year-over-year increase during that time frame in the NBA this season.

In September, Ben Simmons ranked in the top 10 of NBA players in merchandise sales since draft night.

Sales from the Sixers' and NBA's official online stores are included in these statistics.

Sixers clicking just in time to face surging Raptors on Wednesday

Sixers clicking just in time to face surging Raptors on Wednesday

The Sixers are clicking just in time to face their toughest competition in over a month. The Raptors (28-13) come to Philadelphia as the Sixers have won six of their last eight games by holding one another accountable and taking each outing step-by-step.

“You feel like the group is coming together,” Brett Brown said. “You feel like all the work that we have put in is starting to pay dividends in relation to a solid foundation.”

The Raptors sit second in the Eastern Conference, just one and a half games behind the Cavaliers. The last time they met, the Raptors beat the Sixers 123-114 on Dec. 14 at the Wells Fargo Center.

A lot has changed since then, especially the rotations. Brown started Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor together against the Raptors, an experiment that waned out after six games. The Sixers have found a formula to winning with an established starting lineup and a consistent second unit, with the added experience of Gerald Henderson and Nerlens Noel. They will be tested Wednesday as both Joel Embiid (illness) and T.J. McConnell (wrist) are questionable.

“When you look at this team, it’s a lot of talent but we didn’t play as a team,” Ilyasova said of the start of the season. “Now we come together. I think it’s all about the chemistry, we trust each other.”

The Sixers are looking to carry over the momentum of a 113-104 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday. They got a test of All-Star caliber talent against Giannis Antetokounmpo, whom they held to two points in the second half. The Sixers will have their hands full with the backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry (22.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists) and DeMar DeRozan (28.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists).

One key to countering talent like that placing an importance on accountability. The players are not letting each other off the hook for mistakes on the court, regardless of who the opponent is.

“I could see it over the past couple weeks, guys coming out here and being more vocal on both ends of the court,” Noel said. “If one guy messes up, you’ve got to let him know so it won’t be a recurring thing. With that, guys are taking steps in the right direction, both leadership roles because everybody on this team can be a leader in their own way.”

The Raptors come in on a four-game winning streak.