You can feel the excitement surrounding 76ers basketball as Monday's regular season tip-off approaches. Seriously! The fans who follow the team closest sense the franchise is finally moving in the right direction. There is an improving, young core, and new ownership is revamping the entire product. In another year or two, they will even have the cash to land a prime free agent. If you're not on board right now, you should be.
Nobody could be more thrilled with the direction the Sixers are headed than Doug Collins, who has already played such a huge role in the club's turnaround. The head coach spoke to Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow of WIP on Thursday afternoon, and he left listeners with little doubt that a bright future is right around the corner -- then revealed his top priority is to make the people of Philadelphia proud of their NBA team.
[Listen to the interview below]
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The style of basketball Collins has his guys playing is fun to watch. They give maximum effort, play defense, and get everybody involved in the offense, with a nice rotation of players seeing meaningful minutes. His intelligence and passion for the game, the city, and life always come through in interviews, so give this a listen, and let Doug wish you happy holidays.
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.