Philadelphia 76ers

Are Sixers too far gone for even Bynum to save?

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Are Sixers too far gone for even Bynum to save?

The Sixers are a mess.

Thats the easy part identifying what they are at the moment. The hard part is figuring out whether theyre capable of something more.

The San Antonio Spurs were in town on Monday. That was unfortunate for the Sixers. The other night, the Sixers pulled out an improbable victory against the Raptors. Some people were encouraged by that result. Doug Collins was one of them.

They showed a lot of resolve against the Raptors, Collins said before the Spurs game. They showed they can do it. But can we do it against a team of this caliber?

Nope.

The Spurs beat the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center, 90-85. Right now, there arent many teams of any caliber that the Sixers can handle. Maybe the Washington Generals. Maybe not.

The Sixers went on a 24-3 run in the second half. They even took the lead and were up seven points with under four minutes left. They looked like they might shock San Antonio. Then the Spurs remembered they were the Spurs and they were playing the Sixers and that was that.

Tuesday marked the halfway point of the season. The Sixers have played 41 games. They have won just 17 of those. They are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division. They are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. They are not having a good season not by any reasonable metric.

To put some perspective on how bad theyve been, the Sixers havent won back-to-back games since Nov. 30. That was so far in the past that its hard to remember if we were all wearing tri-corner hats and breeches.

They are 16th in points allowed per game. They are 23rd in rebounds. They are 26th in scoring. They are last in free throws.

Jrue Holiday has been excellent this year. If the NBA was a meritocracy (it isnt), he would be an All-Star. Thaddeus Young has been pretty good. Evan Turner has been inconsistent. Everyone else has fallen somewhere between mediocre and Kwame Brown.

The Sixers are a mess. It is worth repeating.

Well, were very concerned, Collins said. Were seven games below .500. Youre going to have to play over .500 basketball to make the playoffs. So, sure Im concerned.

How do you fix a team largely comprised of malfunctioning or entirely broken parts? Is it possible to get the Sixers operational, or should they be dismantled and swapped for basketball scrap metal?

The easy answer, the one the Sixers keep pushing as part of their unified talking points, is that everything will be fine when Andrew Bynum stops playing pop-a-shot and starts playing big-boy basketball against real competition. Adding Bynum certainly couldnt hurt, but you wonder whether the season will be too far gone to salvage by then.

Bynum talked to the media on Tuesday. For the first time all season, he participated in the morning shootaround before a game.

My knees feel good, Bynum insisted. Im not feeling any pain. Its just all good.

The center reiterated that he hopes to return around the All-Star Break. That will depend on the doctors. Before they clear him, Bynum will have to show that he can move laterally. As he admitted, that will be the biggest test.

For now, hes studying for the final exam, working on his shot -- post moves, hooks, that kind of thing. He said the touch is there. But what about his conditioning?

Obviously, its going to be bad, Bynum said.

Everyone laughed when he said it. Bynum laughed a little, too. It probably wont be as amusing if hes wheezing and they still arent winning.

Thats the thing. The Sixers have to worry about surviving until he returns, and they also have to worry about what kind of player hell be when he does. Hes already missed 50 percent of the year. Hes going to miss more games. When he finally takes off his street clothes and puts on his uniform, how long will it take him to scrub away all the rust? Can a guy with two bad knees parachute into a frightful situation at the last moment and save the entire season from going splat?

The Sixers are halfway through the season. They are a bad basketball team. Tony DiLeo and Rod Thorn should be on the phone every day shopping everyone not named Holiday to anyone even remotely interested.

But Collins promised they wont panic.

I always say this: Every team in this league is one day away from a crisis except the Spurs, Collins said.

One day away from a crisis? If only the Sixers were so lucky.

E-mail John Gonzalez at jgonzalez@comcastsportsnet.com

JJ Redick: Being anti-Trump 'is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning'

JJ Redick: Being anti-Trump 'is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning'

For a few of the Sixers players on media day Monday, sticking to sports was not an option.

To recap, first President Donald Trump during a rally on Friday in Alabama called protesting NFL players "sons of bitches," saying the owners should "fire" any player that protests. Trump on Saturday then went to his familiar realm, tweeting that he was uninviting Stephen Curry and the NBA-champion Warriors to the White House.

Of all the players speaking at Sixers media day Monday,  the team's marquee free-agent signing, JJ Redick, had the most to say about the situation.

"I'm about as anti-Trump as you can get and I've been that way since the election," Redick said. And he was just getting started. 

But he wasn't the only one to speak about the president's comments.

Here are the full quotes from media day.

Redick 

To CSNPhilly's Amy Fadool and Marshall Harris on Trump's social media and tweets directed at Curry:
"It’s very interesting how [Trump] uses social media. I would say this weekend, it was almost surreal. As an NBA player, you’re kind of taking the big picture view and going, ‘what’s going on here?’ 

"Our active, sitting president is calling NFL players ‘sons of bitches’ and is going after Steph Curry and Lebron (James), who have done more for sports and culture and African-American communities than anyone; it’s surreal. I agree with what Lebron said; his use of the presidency and what it represents is not what it represented to me a year ago. It’s not what it represented to me with Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. Those are the presidents that I knew as a young person and as an adult, and his presidency doesn’t represent that, the White House doesn’t represent that. So of course I agree with Lebron, I agree with what the Warriors are doing by not going to the White House. I don’t think any team should go to the White House; you’re actively saying, ‘I support this guy.’ 

"The other thing, too, is to speak out against Trump at this point is almost like eating breakfast. It’s what’s you should do – you should eat breakfast because it’s part of a daily, balanced diet. On the list of things that he’s done to offend me, his comments this week were like 87th. There’s more important things going on like North Korea and flood and disaster relief that we’re dealing with right now in Puerto Rico, Florida and Houston; those are the things that are important. So it’s mind-boggling that that’s what he’s spending his time on.”

On what he feels is his responsibility as an American and an NBA player:
“I think you should take an active role in your own education. No one is going to educate you – life will educate you, of course. But just take an active role in your education, that’s the biggest thing. The second biggest thing is just love other people, that’s all we’re supposed to do. Just be kind and love other people.”

To reporters on if he feels more responsibility as a white player to step up:
"I don't think it has anything to do with being white. I've certainly never been oppressed because of the color of my skin. I'm a human and can certainly relate to any emotion that humans have felt. I'm about as anti-Trump as you can get and I've been that way since the election. I think being anti-Trump at this point is sort of like eating breakfast in the morning. It's just something that you do during your day. I mean how often do you go through a day and not be offended by the guy?"

On if he would support his teammates protesting:
"In terms of doing something to protest, I think it's best that those things are done as a team. That's just me. But if guys want to do something, I'm all for it and of course I would stand with anyone regardless of the color of their skin or their background or anything like that."

Jerryd Bayless

On Trump and on the NFL protests:
"I think what he's done in dividing us and his narrow-minded views are obviously not a good thing for the country. I think we all know and we've seen his comments from immigration to climate change to 'sons of bitches' to 'fine people' that are part of a rally [in Charlottesville] and what not. So I think what he's done is self-explanatory, but now is the time to kind of see how we're all going to come back from this and how we move forward. 

"The protests are great. I think everybody has the right to do whatever they want to do but now it's time to figure out as a whole -- black, white, Mexican, Asian, whatever -- how are we going to move forward? How are we going to come together so we can make him feel what he's doing is wrong? We can go back and forth about this. I don't know if this is really the appropriate time to do this but... it's disappointing. But hopefully from this everybody will be able to move forward and figure out the way to make him go a different direction."

Justin Anderson, a Virginia native and University of Virginia alumnus 

On the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, recent NFL protests and if the Sixers are planning a protest:
"Obviously the Charlottesville situation hit home. It was very relevant to me in my life. Fortunately we just had a concert last night to help promote unity through music. It was something beautiful to see at our university. But as far as the protesting things that we've seen as of late, we've been talking through group texts, we've been sending the same messages and screen shots of things that have been said. Just continue to talk to each other about it. 

"Fortunately we have about 10 days until we play our first game so far as what we're going to do to I guess physically try to show something or send a message, we haven't spoke about that yet and we have time and we'll figure it out. But I think we're all in agreement, on the same page. We're all in agreement in that locker room on the things that are going on. We're all working to do our part to help shed light in the right direction and that's to help build unity. To help lift up people in a time when people are being pushed down. We just want to make sure that we have each other's backs and I think that's something that's bringing us together even closer.

James-Michael McAdoo, who signed a two-way deal with the Sixers after spending the last three years in Golden State

On the situation involving the Warriors and the president:
"Obviously that's not something that we necessarily broadcast too loudly. But you can see it and hear those guy's sound bites out there on the West Coast. It's obviously something that needs to be addressed. I think my ex-teammates are doing a wonderful job in addressing that in the political climate being what it is right now. "

Sixers sign veterans Kris Humpries, Emeka Okafor

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Sixers sign veterans Kris Humpries, Emeka Okafor

Just about 24 hours before the start of the most anticipated training camp in years, the Sixers have brought two veterans into the fold.

The Sixers on Monday morning announced the signings of forward Kris Humphries and center Emeka Okafor.

Humphries, the 14th overall pick by Utah in 2004, is entering his 14th season in the league and the Sixers will be the ninth team he's played for after the Jazz, Raptors, Mavericks, Nets, Celtics, Wizards, Suns and Hawks. The University of Minnesota product and former Mr. Kim Kardashian's best season came in 2011-2012 in New Jersey when he averaged 13.8 points and 11.0 boards a night.

Okafor was the second overall pick by the then expansion Charlotte Bobcats in the same 2004 NBA draft following a studded career at the University of Connecticut that included the 2004 national championship.

While he's averaged 12.3 points per game in his NBA career, he hasn't quite lived up to the billing that comes with being the No. 2 pick. In fact, after spending 2012-13 with the Wizards, Okafor hasn't played an NBA game since. That's because Okafor suffered a severe herniated disc in his neck that has required time and patience in recovery. Now feeling comfortable enough to play again, the 6-foot-10 Okafor, who's played for the Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets and Wizards in his career, is getting his next chance with the Sixers.

Okafor's best season was his rookie year in Charlotte when he averaged 15.1 points and 10.9 points per game.

Sixers training camp opens Tuesday while the annual media day takes place on Monday.


Sixers' complete training camp roster:

Guards
No. 00 Jacob Pullen
No. 0 Jerryd Bayless
No. 1 Justin Anderson
No. 7 Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
No. 11 Nik Stauskas
No. 12 T.J. McConnell
No. 17 JJ Reddick
No. 20 Markelle Fultz
No. 23 James Blackmon, Jr.
No. 30 Furkan Korkmaz

Forwards
No. 5 Amir Johnson
No. 9 Dario Saric
No. 14 James Michael McAdoo
No. 22 Richaun Holmes
No. 25 Ben Simmons
No. 33 Robert Covington
No. 43 Kris Humphries

Centers
No. 8 Jahlil Okafor
No. 21 Joel Embiid
No. 50 Emeka Okafor