Harden, Rockets bad matchup for Sixers

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Harden, Rockets bad matchup for Sixers

Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets looks like the classic bad matchup for the Sixers. It’s one thing to have All-Star Dwight Howard on the roster, but to have him playing power forward alongside center Omer Asik is sure to create a size disadvantage.

Who guards Howard? Thad Young?

As if handling the Rockets’ size won’t be difficult enough, the Sixers have to contend with All-Star James Harden, who is averaging nearly 25 points per game and leading the league in three-point attempts.

Sixers coach Brett Brown is all too familiar with Harden’s game from his days as an assistant coach for San Antonio when he had to scout Harden’s teams.

“I had Oklahoma City when I was with San Antonio, so I was always watching them and James coming off the bench. Then you see the evolution of him as a starter and we coached him in All-Star Games, so we’ve seen him,” Brown said. “You’re always amazed at how big he is -- physically and height wise. He's such a force downhill -- he gets to the rim and he draws fouls and he’s always coming at you. He also has the ability to rise up and make threes or duck his head and bait fouls. He’s just a really hard guard.”

Where the Sixers might run into the most trouble against Houston is on the perimeter. Not only will Harden fire it up from outside, but Chandler Parsons also can light it up, averaging 19 points and shooting 22 for 42 over his last three games.

The Sixers have allowed the opposition to hit 13 three-pointers in five games and 15 three-pointers in three games already this season. The Rockets are second in the league in three-pointers attempted, averaging more than 25 per game.

Now with Big3, Rashard Lewis praises Sixers' signing of former teammate JJ Redick

Now with Big3, Rashard Lewis praises Sixers' signing of former teammate JJ Redick

How time flies.

JJ Redick first played with Rashard Lewis on the Magic in 2007, Redick’s second season in the NBA. Ten years later, the 33-year-old Redick has signed a massive one-year, $23 million contract to be one of the Sixers’ leaders. Lewis, 37, is currently competing in the BIG3 league. 

Both Redick and Lewis are in different places in their careers than when they were teammates. Lewis sees Redick excelling in this new chapter. 

“He’s the veteran player here, but when I played with him in Orlando he was a young fella,” Lewis said. “He’s learned a lot playing with Orlando as well as the Clippers. I’m sure he’ll share a lot of his knowledge with these guys because they’ve got a very young team.”

Redick’s NBA insight came from doing a lot of observing early on. He didn’t start off as the main offensive option. Instead, he was a student of the game in his early days with the Magic while Lewis was one of the go-to players. 

Redick averaged just 6.0 points as a rookie and 4.1 points in 8.1 minutes per game during his second season. He clocked a total of 10 minutes during a 2008 postseason in which the Magic reached the Eastern Conference semifinals. The following season in 2009, though, Redick averaged over 20 minutes during their NBA Finals run. The Magic also made it to the Eastern Conference finals the next year.

“The chemistry we had was great,” Lewis said. “I think he’s going to bring that here to Philly.”

Over time, Redick developed into one of the best long-range threats in the league. He holds a 41.5 percent career three-point shooting percentage, sixth among all active players. The Sixers have been in need of go-to scorers, especially from beyond the arc. 

“He’s going to help this team,” Lewis said. “He’s going to open it up because he’s a shooter.”

The Sixers are entering an important phase this coming season. They finally have a foundation in place and a core to build upon for years down the road, not just the time being. The younger players will benefit from listening to Redick during practices, games, team flights, and all the other scenarios in which they can soak up his experiences. That could include the playoffs, too, in the suddenly wide-open Eastern Conference. 

“The way he played the game, he’s not only a good shooter but he’s a smart player,” Lewis said. “He has a high basketball IQ. That’s why he’s still playing in the league. A lot of teams have a lot of respect for him.”

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden signs 3-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden signs 3-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden is officially headed back overseas.

Bolden, the 36th overall selection in last month’s draft, signed a three-year contract to play in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team announced. The deal does contain opt-out clauses for the NBA.

“Jonah is a very talented young player with great potential, an athletic forward who knows how to shoot the ball and a great guy who likes to work hard,” Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach Neven Spahija said, per the EuroLeague's official website. “We believe he will develop into a great player.”

Bolden had hoped to join the Sixers for next season after spending summer league with the squad. The 6-10, 227-pound forward averaged 8.7 points on 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 31.4 percent from three-point range between the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues. He also put up 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in 23.4 minutes a game.

Bolden entered the draft after putting up 12.1 points (59.7 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from three-point range), 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game for KK FMP Beograd of Serbia last season. Those numbers earned him the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect award, previously won by Dario Saric and Nikola Jokic.

Bolden won’t be the only player on Maccabi Tel Aviv’s roster with Sixers/Philly ties. Former 2013 Sixers second-round pick Pierre Jackson and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, native Jake Cohen are both members of the team.