Charles Barkley on Sixers, Noel and Wiggins


Charles Barkley on Sixers, Noel and Wiggins

Charles Barkley has jumped on the Sixers bandwagon ­- the one that expects their win total to be in the teens.

In an interview with SI, Barkley gave his thoughts on where the Sixers stand heading into the season.

"Well, sitting [Nerlens] Noel for the season is probably the smart move," Barkley said. "The over-under was 21 [wins]. I'm taking the under now. If Noel was playing, I would have taken the over. But I think it's a smart move because [Noel] is not physically or offensively ready to play in the NBA."

The actual Vegas odds from have the Sixers' over/under for wins on the year at 17, so it's unclear whether Barkley would still take the under in that case, but regardless, his outlook appears to be as bleak as the general public's view.

As for his take on the presumed No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Kansas's Andrew Wiggins, Barkley needs to see him play in college before forming an opinion.

"First of all, no. Why would I watch a high school player? That's stupid," Barkley said. "I've heard all the stuff. OK, he's a great high school player. Let me see what happens when he gets to college. When people ask me who will be the Rookie of the Year, I say, 'I don't know.' The guys have played against college players. Nobody expected Damian Lillard to win Rookie of the Year. I will watch the Wiggins kid play when I start watching college basketball. I am not going to project how great he will be. I mean, Kwame Brown was a great high school player."

Though Barkley may not be sold, it appears that many teams, including the Sixers, are all-in on Wiggins. While finishing last only gives a team a 25 percent chance at obtaining the first pick, Wiggins is worth taking that risk. And for a draft class that is expected to be packed, any player in the top five will have a shot at changing a team's fortunes.

Teams are tanking, and some GMs aren't even afraid to say it.

One anonymous GM told ESPN's Jeff Goodman outright, "Our team isn't good enough to win and we know it. So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from their mistakes -- and get us in position to grab a great player."

This GM points out the Sixers as a prime example of tanking.

"We're not alone," the GM said. "Look at the 76ers. Since the draft in June, I don't think they've signed a player or made a trade to add a legitimate player."

So as the NBA season begins tonight, the race to the bottom is on. And for the first time in a while, a Philadelphia team has a chance at coming out on top ... sort of.

Sixers 2016 draft pick Furkan Korkmaz wins BCL Best Young Player honors

Sixers 2016 draft pick Furkan Korkmaz wins BCL Best Young Player honors

What has Furkan Korkmaz been up to these days? The Sixers’ 2016 26th overall pick received Best Young Player honors in the Basketball Champions League (BCL) this weekend.

Korkmaz, 19, stayed overseas after he was selected by the Sixers last year. He began the season playing for Anadolu Efes and joined Banvit on loan for the opportunity to get more playing time.

Korkmaz is averaging 11.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists over nine games with Banvit. On Friday he scored 13 points (4 for 6 from three), including a key late-game trey, in Banvit’s semifinals win over Monaco.

Korkmaz was aware of who was in attendance watching this performance: Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo.

“Of course, Colangelo’s visit brought extra motivation,” Korkmaz told “My dream is to play in NBA. It’s always on my mind. I cannot think of it in the match. It did not create much pressure anyway. I just knew I had to add something, give something. I am happy to have accomplished this.”

Korkmaz is under contract with Anadolu Efes for next season.

Watch some of the highlights that earned him the Best Young Player award here:

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Shawn Long

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Shawn Long

Shawn Long

Position: Center

Status for 2017-18: Non-guaranteed for $1,312,611

Long in 2016-17
Long went undrafted last June and signed with the Sixers for Summer League ball. He stayed with the team through camp and played in seven preseason games before he was waived.

After that, Long spent the majority of his season in Delaware with the 87ers. The Louisiana-Lafayette product made an impression with his standout play down in the D-League. He even earned himself a D-League All-Star nod and was named to the All-NBA D-League Second Team after the season. He put together consistent double-doubles for the 87ers and averaged 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds over 29.5 minutes. He even scored 45 points in a game at one point.

Still, all of this likely wouldn't have earned him a role if it weren't for injuries. Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor went down with injuries while Nerlens Noel was traded, opening a need for a third center as Tiago Splitter — acquired from Atlanta in the trade for Ersan Ilyasova — rehabbed his way back to the court. 

Making his debut on March 6, Long played in 18 games the rest of the way, putting up 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest for the Sixers. He shot 56 percent from the field while stepping out to hit 36.8 percent of his threes, helping stretch the floor for the struggling Sixers. Originally on the team on a 10-day contract, he earned himself a three-year deal that was guaranteed through the end of the 2016-17 season.

Signature game
Long earned one double-double in his 18-game stint. His 15-point, 10-rebound effort came in a loss to the Pacers in late March. His best and most efficient game came two nights earlier.

On March 24, Long needed just 19 minutes to score 18 points on 8 for 10 shooting. He grabbed seven rebounds as well as the Sixers earned a 117-107 win over the playoff-bound Chicago Bulls on the road.

Looking ahead to 2017-18
The Sixers have an offseason to get healthy and that means Long's time with the Sixers may come to at least a momentary end at the beginning of the season. Even if Okafor is traded, Embiid will return next fall alongside Richaun Holmes and the Sixers could easily bring in a veteran — possibly Splitter — to absorb the rest of the team's minutes at center. 

The 6-foot-9 Long won't necessarily be without a job. He'll have the chance to prove himself in summer league or training camp again and potentially earn a look with another team if the Sixers pass. If he does stay in Philly, expect him to be shuttled between the NBA and D-League in order to earn consistent minutes. The developing stretch-five did show something in his limited NBA minutes and likely hasn't seen the end of his NBA career.

On Long
"I think that Shawn Long has really grabbed his brief opportunities and been more than serviceable. He's shown reasons why he should be considered a genuine NBA player."

- Sixers head coach Brett Brown