It's never too early in the NBA off-season for the 76ers to consider what needs to be improved upon for next year, and for the Sixers as any other team, chemistry is always an important concern. No doubt Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, two key players on the team who struggled on occasion to congeal on the court at the same time, could use some work in that department. But just as important as getting the timing down on the court is making sure that the respect and trust is there off of it. And nowhere can the strength of that relationship be better tested better than on a fake game show held by a sarcastic late-night host.
'Dre and Evan represented the Sixers in a game of the "Team-Mating Game" on Jimmy Kimmel Live earlier this week, going up against LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden of the Portland Trailblazers, in a spiritual rematch of the 1977 NBA Finals. The two Philly swingmen were quizzed on their knowledge of the other, on subjects ranging from their annoying habits, to their embarrassing on-court moments, to their taste in women. Over the course of the contest, we learned the following odd facts about the duo:
-Andre has an unhealthy obsession with Twizzlers
-Evan plays with his belly button too much in practice
-Andre has a bad habit of twisting people's words around
-Evan fancies himself a boob man, and everybody knows this
Ultimately, the two do show fairly good chemistry—up until the end, when the pair balk at chugging a ice cream soda together for fear of looking like their off-court chemistry is a little too good. Hey guys, nobody said that winning an NBA championship is easy. If that involves having to make googly eyes at each other over a tall fountain drink on occasion, that's just the price you're going to have to pay, isn't it?
The Phillies' depth at second base has taken a hit.
Jesmuel Valentin, the starter at Triple A Lehigh Valley, is headed for surgery after dislocating his left shoulder. General manager Matt Klentak indicated that it was likely Valentin would miss the remainder of the season.
Valentin, 23, made a good showing in big-league spring training camp and, in fact, was the last position player cut from the 25-man roster. He had been off to a slow start at Lehigh Valley, hitting just .229 with a .573 OPS in his first 29 games.
With Valentin out, the Phillies could promote top second base prospect Scott Kingery from Double A to Triple A. While that is likely to happen at some point, nothing is imminent, Klentak said. The IronPigs will use veteran Pedro Florimon at second for the time being.
Kingery, 23, has been on a tear at Reading. He entered Monday leading the Eastern League in homers (13), extra-base hits (25) and slugging (.651). Overall, he was hitting .289 with a 1.018 OPS.
"Not imminent," Klentak said of a possible promotion for Kingery. "Very possible down the road. We've got more than enough infield coverage (at Triple A) to be fine and Kingery is good where he is."
Kingery, a 2015 draft pick, played just 37 games at the Double A level last season. He entered Monday having played in 37 games there this season.
Kingery on Monday was named the Eastern League player of the week for May 15-21. He went 9 for 30 with five homers, six RBIs, nine runs scored and an .833 OPS.
With all the bat flips going on in Major League Baseball by the likes of Odubel Herrera and Jose Bautista, it's a good bet that kids watching the game are taking notice.
Gloucester Catholic High School's Chris Turco has apparently seen the celebration.
In a game on Sunday, Turco launched the ball high above the wall in left field. However, he may have launched the bat even higher.
Look at this ridiculous bat flip.
According to Kevin Minnick of South Jersey Sports Digest, both of the next hitters were plunked and Turco's team lost.
Despite that, Turco is giving the pros a run for their money in the bat flip department.