The Evster Breaks Down the NBA Lottery

The Evster Breaks Down the NBA Lottery

Little known fact: every blog post on this website must be about Philadelphia. I once failed to mention Thaddeus Young in a post about who has the smoothest calves in the NBA (it's Udonis Haslem) and Enrico banned me from the site for three months. I wasn't even sure what he meant -- was I banned from writing? banned from reading? -- I think he just wanted to ban someone. It's amazing what a little power can do to a person. So in order to keep everything copacetic with my dictator boss (HAIL ENRICO), I've decided to take a look at the 12 other teams who picked in last night's lottery and determine whether or not they'll have more ping pong balls than us next year.

Cliff's Notes version: NO ONE WILL HAVE MORE PING PONG BALLS THAN US NEXT YEAR

1. Cleveland - Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV

On a night filled with great uncertainty, you gotta hand it to the Cavs for taking a guy who no one has ever seen play basketball. Sure, NBA experts will tell you about his ability to create his own shot and his NBA-READY SMOOTH CHOCOLATEY SHOULDERS, but they simply watched the same three-minute YouTube mix that you did. Three weeks ago, no one even knew that UNLV still had a basketball program. But after they saw Bennett's monster dunks and gigantic butt set to HOT RHYMES AND SWIFT BEATS, why not take him at #1? Personally, I love the pick, love his butt and thought JR Rider was the greatest player of our generation.

Are the Cavs better than the Sixers? They have Kyrie Irving.

2. Orlando - Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana

Tremendous athlete, hard worker, high flyer, just not that good at basketball. Don't get me wrong, you'll love watching Victor finish on the break (in the Rookie Game), it's just the whole dribbling, passing, shooting thing he's not that great at. Still, when you're building a team around Nik Vucevic and Tobias Harris, you want to get the guy who has the most potential to dunk a basketball with his mouth. And I think Magic got their man here. He'll be a mega fan favorite in Orlando for the simple reason that people who live in Florida are complete and total lunatics.

Are the Magic better than the Sixers? Probably.

3. Washington - Otto Porter Jr., F, Georgetown

This pick will work out for the Wizards only if they give their 12th and final roster spot to Otto Porter Sr. Think about it: late in the 4th Quarter, Wizards down 15 at home, fans starting to grumble and pack up their things, when Head Coach Randy Wittman points down the bench for Otto Sr -- or "Pops'o" as his teammates call him -- to check in. Pops'o rises slowly, unbuttons his warm-ups, takes them off and folds them neatly on his chair, a buzz fills the arena, and the Wizards spend the final three minutes trying to run Pops'o off downscreens to get him an open jumper. The Wizards could even offer a free bag of popcorn to every ticket holder when Pops'o scores. This is a brilliant marketing maneuver that has zero chance of failure. Think about how excited you get for the Sixers to hit the century-mark and earn you that disgusting/amazing Big Mac that you never end up redeeming. Now think about what a 55-year-old would look like draining a jumper in Evan Turner's eye. Thank you.

Are the Wizards better than the Sixers? Yes, they have John Wall and he's the greatest player I've ever seen. Watch his top ten plays from last year and try to tell me otherwise.

TRY TO TELL ME OTHERWISE.

4. Charlotte - Cody Zeller, F, Indiana

Thank GAWD the Sixers didn't get him.

Are the Bobcats better than the Sixers? No.

5. Phoenix - Alex Len, F/C, Maryland

TV show pitch for NBATV: Phoenix Suns reality show called "Phoenix Sons." Alex Len (Ukraine), Marcin Gortat (Poland), Luis Scola (Argentina), Goran Dragic (Slovenia), Michael Beasley (Neptune) and the Morris Bros (Illadelph) travel around the country trying to impregnate as many women as possible. The winner gets a new Subaru.

Also, how 'bout the fact that the Suns are coached by our old pal Jeff Hornacek?!?! And how 'bout the fact that old Horny made the most shocking move of anyone before the draft by getting a semi-decent haircut?!?!

Are the Suns better than the Sixers? Jeff Hornacek is better than the Sixers.

6. Philadelphia - Nerlens Noel, F/C, Kentucky

Besides the hair, the mega-rams and the fact that Nerlens will SHOVE A BASKETBALL DOWN YOUR STUPID THROAT, here's another reason why this was a fantastic pick for the Sixers: THIS GUY WILL SHOVE A BASKETBALL DOWN YOUR STUPID THROAT. He's an old fashioned high flying mega ram jam throat stuffer, which is something the Sixers have been sorely lacking ever since Sharone Wright died when he accidentally shoved a basketball down his own stupid throat.

Also, yeah, Jrue Holiday was good, he was fine, but he is the TENTH best point guard in the ligg behind CP3, Rondo, Tony Parker, D-Will, Derrick Rose, Russel Westbreezy, Steph, Uncle Drew and Damien Lillard. Nerlens on the other hand is already the best center in the East even though he has pretty much no offensive skills whatsoever.

Are the Pelicans better than the Sixers? Who cares look how amazing this hat is.


7. Sacramento - Ben McLemore, G, Kansas

"Two-dribble max guy" according to Jay Bilas, which for those of you who haven't quite wrapped your head around that phrase, means that Ben McLemore is only capable of dribbling a basketball twice before he has to stop dribbling.

Are the Kings better than the Sixers? The Kings are absolutely terrible. But yeah, they're prolly better than the Sixers.

8. Detroit - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G, Georgia

Doesn't matter. The Pistons selected Peyton Siva with their second round pick, who if you've ever seen PLAY BASKETBALL, is every bit as good as all of these dudes in the lottery. Siva only led his team to THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in a tournament in which HE PLAYED BASKETBALL MUCH BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE.

Are the Pistons better than the Sixers? Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?

(That means yes. The answer is yes.)

9. Utah - Trey Burke, G, Michigan

Poor Trey. Wooden and Naismith player of the year, led his team to the NCAA Final, and now he has to live in Utah. I guess if there's a silver lining to living in Snoozeville, USA, Trey will get to make millions of dollars playing a game where he tries to take a round orange bouncey thing and put it in a hoop.

Are the Jazz better than the Sixers? Yeah, the Jazz are better than the Sixers.

10. Portland - CJ McCollum, G, Lehigh

Whatever, I'm over him.

Are the Blazers better than the Sixers? Obvs, and also I saw a guy in Fairmount Park last weekend selling bean pies in a Sebastian Telfair Blazers jersey and I can't believe I didn't snap his picture I'm so sorry everybody I've let you down I'm so very very sorry.

11. Philadelphia - Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse

This guy stinks. Saw him play countless times at Syracuse and not once did he ever take over a game like a LOTTERY PICK SHOULD. "But Ev, he's got good size for a PG and great court vision!" Yeah? Then why did Utah and Portland, two teams who also took point guards, pass on him in favor of Burke and McCollum? He's a poor man's Shaun Livington, who's not even good, also look at this picture from his Twitter page.

UNACCEPTABLE.

12. Oklahoma City - Steven Adams, C, Pitt

Because 7-foot white guys from New Zealand always pan out well in the NBA.

Are the Thunder better than the Sixers? Good time to talk about Shane Battier's television debut: Terrible. He pretty much only had two questions in his arsenal: "Talk about how much ______ influenced you," and "Who are you most looking forward to playing against?" And only one of those were actual questions. Still, I much preferred him to Stuart Scott who I sort of hope dies?

13. Boston - Kelly Olynyk, F/C, Gonzaga

I can't wait 'til Nerlens shoves a basketball down this guy's throat.

Are the Celtics better than the Sixers? Kris Humphries!

Follow the Evster on Twitter @TVMWW and read his blog.

Give and Go: How much credit does Brett Brown deserve for Sixers' improvement?

Give and Go: How much credit does Brett Brown deserve for Sixers' improvement?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we analyze the job head coach Brett Brown has done this season.

Haughton
Brown's performance has already resulted in more wins than any other season under his leadership, but it continues to be a complex judgment.

He's still tied to an extremely young roster, which lends itself to the high number of turnovers, mistakes coming out of timeouts and defensive breakdowns. 

However, he has managed to get several players to show growth in their games and make sure the Sixers remain balanced even with Joel Embiid's emergence. That can also be attributed to Brown's emphasis on state of play and not state of pay.

He turned to T.J. McConnell ($874,636 salary) at starting point guard over Sergio Rodriguez ($8 million) because the second-year pro has proven to be a better fit and has routinely moved Gerald Henderson ($9 million) from starter to reserve.

Then of course, there has been Brown's handling of the Sixers' mashup at center. The coach has found each guy minutes when he can and, according to the players, been up front about all potential minutes and trade scenarios.

Perhaps Brown's finest job this season has come in a role he thought was over: team delegate. Once Sam Hinkie exited and Bryan Colangelo proclaimed he would be more open with information, Brown certainly had to think his days of standing in front of the media to explain every single thing going on with the franchise were over. Think again. 

Still, Brown's been there each day, answering just about every question thrown his way from injuries to trade rumors. If nothing else, he deserves to be commended for dealing with that ... again.

Hudrick
It's amazing what a few NBA-caliber players can do.

After accumulating a 47-199 record over his first three seasons, Brown has led the Sixers to a 21-35 mark so far this season. Sure, much of the credit for the team's success has to do with adding legitimate NBA talent (and a legitimate NBA star in Embiid). With that said, you're finally starting to see Brown's fingerprints on the Sixers.

A protégé of Gregg Popovich's with the Spurs, Brown preaches defense and ball movement. The Sixers' defense has been a catalyst for their success this season. As Brown says in his Bostralian accent, the defensive end is where the Sixers' "bread is buttered." 

With unselfish players with decent court vision like Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson added to the mix, the Sixers don't look like a total disaster in the half court. They're ninth in the NBA at 23.5 assists per game. They haven't finished higher than 15th in the league in any of Brown's three seasons. 

When you consider what Brown has gone through and how he's managed to keep everything positive, it's incredible. Hinkie pegged Brown as his guy, knowing that Brown was an excellent teacher and had the right attitude to deal with losing. You have to be encouraged by what you've seen out of Brown and the Sixers this season.

Flyers Skate Update: Power play shakeup seems to be working

Flyers Skate Update: Power play shakeup seems to be working

VOORHEES, N.J. — They had taken another “0-for” on the power play on the road and lost a game in which they deserved to at least get a point.

Dave Hakstol had seen enough. Numbers don’t always tell a story. Yet, in the Flyers' case, they did: 4 for 42 on the power play over 12 games, including that 3-1 loss at Calgary.

The next morning in Edmonton, Hakstol met privately with Jakub Voracek to discuss, among other things, the power play. That night, Hakstol moved Voracek off the first unit power play and replaced him with Ivan Provorov.

He then told Shayne Gostisbehere to change his location on the power play on the half wall and let Provorov, the Russian rookie, worry about the blue line.

In the two games since, the power play is 3 for 6 and has the Flyers back up to ninth in the NHL after falling to 13th during that 12-game span of utter futility.

How the power play goes tonight against the Washington Capitals is critical if the Flyers have any shot of taking points away from the top club in the league.

“It’s a little bit different look,” Hakstol said. “We’re comfortable with either of the setups we have there. Whether it’s with Jake on the flank of the [Claude] Giroux unit or having Ghost there.

“Both are effective. Within the game, we can go back and forth with the other. We’ve had some pretty good play out of the other unit, regardless of the setup.”

Provorov has a very accurate point shot. Gostisbehere has the hardest shot of any on the top unit. The rest of the first unit – Giroux, Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds – hasn’t changed.

“We can’t score,” Provorov said bluntly. “We needed to change something up to spark the scoring. It definitely helped us. Now the two units have a different setup in the zone.

“Just a little different. It took us first game to get used to. We did pretty good in the second game [Vancouver].”

Ghost has never played the half-wall. He thinks this will help him snap a 32-game goal drought. He had three assists – two on the power play – against the Canucks on Sunday.

“It’s completely different,” Gostisbehere said. “I’ve always been at the top [blue line]. It’s definitely a different perspective from that view. I think I’ll get a lot more shots and plays that can be made.”

Voracek watches him when that unit is on the ice and offers advice after the shift.

“I have been talking to Jake a ton for pointers,” Gostisbehere said. “When I am out there, if you see something I could have done, please tell me. He is such an easy guy to talk to. He will give you the pointers right away.”

Hakstol said moving Ghost closer to the net has a payoff.

“He is in a pure one-timer side there if he gets himself in the right position,” Hakstol said. “But there is still some work we have to do there in terms of his overall positioning in that spot.

“He brings a different element than Jake does in that spot. Both of them were very, very effective in that spot. They just have different weapons.”

Even though there have been changes, Voracek still rotates back to the first unit if Provorov is on the ice the previous shift before the power play begins.

Because of Travis Konecny’s knee and ankle injuries, Sean Couturier’s second unit has changed the most. Mark Streit anchors from the point with Coots, Nick Cousins and Matt Read below the blue line and Voracek on the right-wall.

That unit has more player rotation on the ice than the top unit.

Hakstol doesn’t buy the argument the Flyers' power play crashed because it became too predictable. 

“In the game now, there’s not much hidden,” Hakstol said. “Everyone knows what the other team is trying to do, regardless of 5-on-5 or special teams.

“For us, it was a good time to make a small change that changes the look for our guys on the ice.”

Loose pucks
• A dozen players showed up for the optional morning skate at Skate Zone, more than half of what was expected. 

• Michal Neuvirth will start in goal tonight against Washington. 

• On Tuesday, Voracek got hit with a puck below the belt, during a tip drill in which Voracek tipped a shot into himself. “Feeling better,” he said today. 

• This morning was goalie Steve Mason’s turn to get hit. He took a point shot from Andrew MacDonald in the mask. Mason was temporarily shaken but no damage to either him or his mask.  

Lineup
F:
Schenn-Giroux-Simmonds
Weise-Couturier-Voracek
Raffl-Cousins-Read
VandeVelde-Bellemare-Lyubimov

D: Provorov-Manning
Gostisbehere-Streit
Del Zotto-Gudas

G: Neuvirth