Boos greet Hawes in return to Sacramento

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Boos greet Hawes in return to Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Spencer Hawes was met with resounding boos from the Kings’ crowd when he was introduced with the Sixers’ starting lineup on Thursday night.

Not the kind of reception you would expect for a player that was selected 10th overall by the franchise in the 2007 draft and played the first three seasons of his NBA career here.

However, Hawes became public enemy No. 1 to Kings fans when he spoke out last year about wanting the team to relocate to his hometown of Seattle.

“I won't make any qualms about where I stand,” Hawes said at the time, via the Sacramento Bee. “I want to see my hometown get a franchise. There is some confliction, but I'm not going to beat around the bush about what my stance is.”

In the end, the Kings were purchased by a new ownership group and ended up staying put in Sacramento.

Either way, Hawes says no hard feelings.

“This has always been a great place to play, a great building with great fan support,” Hawes said prior to the Sixers' 113-104 win over the Kings (see Instant Replay). “The fans were phenomenal through the ups and downs, so it is fun to come back here.”

Hawes finished the game with 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Four years have passed since Hawes last wore a Kings uniform. He is now putting up career numbers in a contract year with the Sixers and his head coach is hoping to find ways to squeeze even more out of the 25-year-old.

“Offensively we need to tap into what he can do in relation to his ability to stretch the floor and his ability to run,” Brett Brown said.

Hawes has definitely showcased his ability to be a deep threat this season. He is averaging 14.8 points per game and shooting 44.1 percent from three-point range.

That percentage from long range is tops among all NBA centers and 10th in the league overall. Hawes has attempted 118 three-pointers; his nearest competitor at the position is Charlotte’s Anthony Tolliver, who has attempted 78 shots from behind the arc.

For Hawes, who at 7-1 and 245 pounds still manages to run the floor well as Brown pointed out, experience has taught him how to move around the court consistently.

“As you get on with your years in the NBA you realize it's not as much what you do on a daily basis during the season but it is the preparation beforehand that really leads to staying injury-free and being out there,” Hawes said. “When Coach came in guys took his message to heart and it is paying dividends now as we get on in the season.”

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid trusts the Process, more so than anyone — the process of patience.

After sitting out two whole seasons because of foot injuries, Embiid learned the importance of patience the hard way.

Appearing on NBA TV's Open Court, Joel Embiid opened up about how he reaggravated the fracture in his foot that cost him the 2015-16 season.

"I didn't know how to deal with patience," Embiid said on the roundtable discussion. "I just wanted to do stuff, that's why I think I needed a second surgery, because after my first one, I just wanted to play basketball again. I just wanted to be on the court and I pushed through what I wasn't supposed to.

"At one point I thought about quitting. I just wanted to come back home and just forget everything."

Embiid goes on to discuss the Sixers' turnaround this season and his mindset during his recovery. Watch the full clip below. 

Embiid also said he models his game after Hakeem Olajuwon. 

 

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

With the NBA's glorified exhibition in the rearview mirror, we reenter reality of the remaining NBA season. The Sixers still are looking for suitors for Jahlil Okafor while questions swirl around about the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

Some claim they are tanking still, and if those people are talking about the recent NBA power rankings then they would be right. 

Games before the All-Star break
Last Monday and Wednesday the Sixers split their two games before the break, beating the Hornets and losing to the Celtics. 

Dario Saric continues to be the Sixers' most productive player in the absence of Embiid. In the short week, he averaged 19 points (a team leader in that category both games) and 11 rebounds. 

T.J. McConnell continues to control the floor at the point, dishing out seven assists against the Hornets and eight against the Celtics. 

An inability to finish has been the story for the Sixers without Embiid. The Sixers led by one at the half against the Hornets and were tied with the Celtics at the midway point. These are good signs, but these guys are far from being contenders in the east. The experts agree. 

What's next
Only two games this week for the 76ers: Friday at home against the Wizards (7 p.m./CSN) and on the road on Sunday to play the Knicks (7:30 p.m./CSN).

What the experts say
ESPN’s Marc Stein had some fun with his rankings this week using tweets and memes to describe a team’s current situation. The Sixers dropped from 20 to 23 in his rankings — not a significant drop but a drop nonetheless. 

He used this one in his evaluation of the Sixers:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumped the Sixers up from 22 to 21 this week. He sees great improvement in Saric’s game stating: “Saric has already shown a lot of improvement and TLC, with his length on the perimeter, could prove to be a great fit next to the other core pieces if he can knock down shots.”

He added a positive thought on the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Sixers still made out well even though they were not able to ship Okafor to the Pelicans. 

“The Sixers lost a potential trading partner with the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, but still came out a winner in the deal, because they can swap first round picks with the Kings this year and own Sacramento's pick (with no protections) in 2019.”

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes did not move the 76ers from the 21 spot on his list last week. He writes that he is intrigued with this processing team: “Sorry, but I'm never going to stop being delighted by the Sixers finding ways to win.”

He made his prediction for games won by the Sixers if they get Embiid back on the court: “It's hard to know what Simmons might bring, but Embiid's contributions are well understood. If he makes it back and looks healthy, Philly could easily win 30-plus games.”

Finally, Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch dropped the Sixers from 27 to 28 – yikes! His outlook is very pessimistic as he looks exclusively at the injuries of Embiid and Simmons. He writes that a complete shutdown of Simmons would make sense as the season’s end gets closer by the day.