NBA Notes: Nets hire Kidd as head coach

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NBA Notes: Nets hire Kidd as head coach

Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday turned 23 years old on Wednesday and was invited to the U.S. national team's minicamp next month in Las Vegas (see story).

Now let's look at some other news from around the NBA.

Nets: Kidd hired as head coach
The Brooklyn Nets have hired Jason Kidd as their coach, bringing the former star back to the franchise.

Kidd just retired after his 19th NBA season and the Nets decided to hire him despite his lack of coaching experience.

The move reunites Kidd with the franchise he led to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002-03, when they played in New Jersey.

"Welcome home, Jason," owner Mikhail Prokhorov says Wednesday in a statement (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Spurs: Parker hopes to play in Game 4
SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker is scheduled to have an MRI on a tight hamstring on Wednesday, leaving his availability for Game 4 of the NBA Finals very much up in the air.

Parker was injured early in the second half of Game 3 against Miami on Tuesday night. He tried to play through it, but left the game early in the fourth quarter with the Spurs pulling away to an eventual 113-77 victory.

Parker had just six points and eight assists in 27 minutes, and now Spurs fans will have to hold their breath to see if their star point guard will be ready for the next game on Thursday.

"Hopefully it's nothing big and it's just cramping or got tight on me," Parker said after his Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. "I don't know. It was just a weird feeling" (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Heat: LeBron vows to be better
SAN ANTONIO -- LeBron James slung his practice jersey over his head, letting the piece of mesh fabric sway down his back much in the way that a cape would.

Fitting. In Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, he might need a hero's effort to save the Miami Heat.

James and the Heat were still steaming Wednesday from their 113-77 loss in Game 3 of the finals to the San Antonio Spurs, who lead the series 2-1 and can move one win away from ending Miami's reign atop the league with a victory in Game 4.

James was 7 of 21 from the field in Game 3 and didn't even get to the foul line. He says, "I'll be better. I'll be much better," in Game 4 (see full story).

-The Associated Press

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.