Philadelphia 76ers

Should Sixers' Jonah Bolden have been a lottery pick?

Should Sixers' Jonah Bolden have been a lottery pick?

If you were impressed with the play of Jonah Bolden during summer league, you're not the only one.

The 21-year-old Australian forward also caught the eye of the Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks. The site did an "A Way-Too-Early 2017 NBA Redraft" based on the NBA summer league. A little silly, but both Tjarks and fellow writer Kevin O'Connor acknowledged the silliness of it all. (And don't worry, they still had the Sixers snagging Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall.)

Tjarks chose Bolden, a second-round pick by the Sixers (36th overall), at No. 13 overall.

"Bigs who can switch screens, shoot threes, block shots, and make plays with the ball should not have fallen to the second round," Tjarks, who thought highly of Bolden before the draft, writes. "Bolden gave Celtics 7-footer Ante Zizic trouble out in Vegas, and if Bolden can play the 5, he opens up a lot of interesting lineup possibilities."

Bolden averaged 8.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in eight games (three starts) in the Utah and Las Vegas summer leagues combined. He shot 31 percent from three (11 of 35), which isn't eye-popping but for a 6-foot-10 player capable of playing in the post, it shows promise. He was also extremely active defensively, switching onto guard and getting deflections and blocks as Tjarks mentioned.

Bolden finished high school in the U.S. and went to UCLA. After not playing his first year for academic reasons, Bolden was unhappy with his role when he finally got to play. He decided to jump ship and play in Serbia instead of finishing out his season with the Bruins. 

In his one season with Beogard, Bolden averaged 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds a game while shooting 42 percent from three on his way to receiving the Adriatic League's Top Prospect Award. That award has gone to the likes of Denver Nuggets budding star Nikola Jokic and, of course, the Sixers' Dario Saric.

The Sixers are in an interesting spot with Bolden. Since he was a second-round pick, he's eligible to be on a two-way contract. That would allow the team to stash Bolden on their G-League affiliate the Delaware 87ers while still being available for the Sixers. 

The lure of possibly playing in the NBA this season rather than return to Serbia where he is under contract with Beogard would likely be enough for Bolden to go with a two-way deal. The Sixers would also have to buy out the rest of his deal overseas.

"I could start today," Bolden said the day after the draft of when he'd like to play for the Sixers. "But there's uncertainty with that. The organization drafted me with a plan and I'm going to stick to the plan. I'm subject to a European contract at the moment but whatever the organization wants and they say is what'll happen." 

Did Bolden do enough in summer league play to alter the Sixers' plans? Training camp will go a long way in answering that question.

Sixers to hold Blue-White Scrimmage at the Palestra on Oct. 1

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Sixers to hold Blue-White Scrimmage at the Palestra on Oct. 1

If you’re a die-hard Process believer who can’t wait for the Sixers' preseason opener, you’ll have a chance to see the team in action three days prior, albeit in a scrimmage.

The Sixers announced Thursday that they will be holding a Blue-White Scrimmage on Oct. 1 at the Palestra from 1-3:30 p.m. Tickets will be free to the public.

“The building strongly represents the toughness and perseverance of the city of Philadelphia and of the 76ers organization,” coach Brett Brown said.

While Joel Embiid likely won't play in the scrimmage (see story), the event is a good opportunity to see No. 1 picks Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons. Fultz’s summer league campaign was cut short by a sprained left ankle.

The scrimmage is also an early chance to get a sense of what Brown’s rotation may look like this year, his fifth with the Sixers and first in non-tanking mode.

The preseason will begin at Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 4, against the Memphis Grizzlies. The first game of the regular season is on Oct. 18, a nationally televised contest vs. the Wizards in Washington, D.C.

Give and Go: What is the biggest challenge for Brett Brown this season?

Give and Go: What is the biggest challenge for Brett Brown this season?

With training camp starting next week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

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

In this edition, we discuss the biggest challenge for head coach Brett Brown this season.

Camerato
For years Brett Brown has faced the challenge of piecing together a shorthanded roster to put some kind of, any kind of, rotation on the floor. This season he will have healthier players to work with, and that in itself will pose a different set of challenges.

Brown has a young roster that is eager to play. Former No. 1 pick Ben Simmons has been waiting nearly 12 months to make his NBA debut since suffering a Jones fracture on the last day of training camp. Markelle Fultz, this year’s top pick, has not played since mid-February as a student-athlete at Washington. Joel Embiid last suited up on Jan. 27 before undergoing season-ending knee surgery.

These hungry players, and it is not limited to only the three mentioned above, will want to be in the game as much as possible. Brown will be tasked with managing eagerness and anxiousness to play all while following medical guidelines and restrictions. Lineups could change from a night to night based on player availability (back-to-backs, rest, etc.). Brown will have to establish consistency and flexibility at the same time, also keeping his players on board even if they can’t be on the court as much as they would like to be.

Haughton
Brett Brown will face a whole new world as head coach of the Sixers in 2017-18. He’ll have to find a way to make a rookie backcourt work, mix contributing veterans into the fold and, for the first time in his tenure, face some semblance of pressure to win.

But Brown’s biggest obstacle next season has nothing to do with X’s and O’s or wins and losses. The coach must maintain the spirit of the process.

At first glance, you may think that has something to do with continuing to lose games for the highest possible draft pick. No, not at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

In Brown’s four years at the helm, the Sixers have lost a combined 253 games. Some close, some by a wide margin and far too many of the nightmarish variety.

But no matter the previous game’s score, Brown always had his players on the court for the next matchup ready to give their max effort. His ability to stay positive amid the mounting losses and still push his guys to play all out every single night is somewhat remarkable (see story). It’s what the players love about him the most.

The egos that go along with high-level talent and the pressure of playoff aspirations mean Brown is sure to encounter some new challenges. However, it may just be that process mentality that gets the Sixers fully over the process.

Hudrick
For the last four years, Brown has barely had enough healthy players to form an entire team. And even when he had healthy players, most of them were borderline D-Leaguers (now G-Leaguers, of course).

The blessing and the curse for Brown this season is having real, NBA talent up and down his roster.

Nerlens Noel is gone so the logjam at center is over, right? Nope. Embiid is your starting center and franchise cornerstone. Richaun Holmes proved last year that he is a capable backup at the pro level. Jahlil Okafor is still here and needs to prove he's healthy if the Sixers hope to move him. Oh yeah, the team also went out and signed veteran Amir Johnson away from the Celtics. The uncertainty behind Embiid's status means there will be minutes available, but how many? Bottom line: This team still has four NBA-caliber centers.

The newest challenge for Brown is an overabundance of guards/wings. With Fultz, JJ Redick and a now healthy Jerryd Bayless added to the mix, where does that leave T.J. McConnell, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Nik Stauskas, Justin Anderson and Furkan Korkmaz?

Sure, it's a nice problem to have, but figuring out the rotation on an improving roster will be the biggest challenge for Brett Brown this season.