Sam Hinkie pleased with Sixers' draft positioning

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Sam Hinkie pleased with Sixers' draft positioning

The Sixers will not be on the clock first when the NBA draft rolls around on June 26 at the Barclays Center.

However, they will get two cracks early in the first round after landing the No. 3 and No. 10 picks in Tuesday’s draft lottery (see story).

While fans might have been pushing for the Sixers to secure the No. 1 overall pick -- which went to Cleveland for the third time in four years -- team president and general manager Sam Hinkie came into the night with a realistic outlook.

“I am afraid it makes me boring,” Hinkie said. “I came in knowing what the odds are. You hope for good luck. I am not under any illusions that my hope really helps. So you say what scenarios can you live with? I can get really comfortable one through five. We could find players that can help us in all those spots.”

“The fact that we ended up with the third pick and the 10th pick in a draft like this is reason to be excited.”

Of course, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid have been tabbed as the consensus top three players in the upcoming NBA draft. With the Cavs at No. 1 and the Milwaukee Bucks picking second, the Sixers are at those teams' mercy.

Just don’t expect to hear about which player Hinkie favors over the others.

“Now we are back to my stone face because this is the time of the year where there is a lot of information to be gained and a lot to be lost the more you say,” Hinkie said. “We are likely to be active all around the draft. That is not unusual for us. But you have to be pretty careful that people don’t know what it is you are going to do.”

One thing Hinkie is willing to share is that the Sixers franchise is an appealing destination for young players.

“Most of the top players in this draft find Philadelphia a really attractive place because they want to be in a place where they have opportunity,” Hinkie said. “They want to play in a big market and they recognize what a platform it is in Philadelphia. They want to get better and they realize that Philadelphia, with our coaching staff and with our roster, you can come and play and get better.”

Hinkie and the Sixers will spend the next month watching prospects work out as they prep for the draft. Given that the Sixers have those two lottery picks and a handful of second-round selections, the front office must be knowledgeable about all of the players available.

After all of the Sixers' wheeling and dealing during last season’s draft, be prepared for anything on June 26.

“I think you have to be open to whatever may come along the transit,” Hinkie said. “But if you ask me today on a night like this in New York, we are excited about the players we might get and being able to add them into our program.”

Joel Embiid officially out for rest of season

Joel Embiid officially out for rest of season

MIAMI -- In the end, he played 31 games.

Joel Embiid's rookie season is officially over, the Sixers announced on Wednesday. Embiid has not suited up since Jan. 27 and has missed 17 of the Sixers' last 18 games because of a left knee injury. An MRI taken Monday revealed a bigger meniscus tear than initially diagnosed but significant healing in the bone bruise.

The Sixers have only 23 games remaining and are not in playoff contention, lessening the urgency of Embiid’s return this season. Embiid concludes his rookie season averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.45 blocks in just 25.4 minutes per game.

"The assessment of Monday's follow-up MRI of Joel Embiid's left knee appears to reveal that the area affected by the bone bruise has improved significantly, while the previously identified meniscus tear appears more pronounced in this most recent scan," Sixers chief medical director Dr. Jonathan Glashow said in statement released by the team.

Embiid suffered the injury on Jan. 20 against the Trail Blazers, played one game against the Rockets, and has not suited up since then. Last week the Sixers had targeted a return date of March 3 but changed that status changed to "out indefinitely" after Embiid still was experiencing swelling. 

During an MRI taken the night of the injury, the results also revealed Embiid had a slight meniscus tear which the team did not believe was related to the contusion. 

Prior to the announcement, there was a strong reaction from the fans who were looking for transparency on the big man's status. Embiid expressed his displeasure last Thursday with the way the Sixers managed after he was informed he would miss multiple weeks. 

"I wasn’t too happy with the way it was kind of handled before," Embiid said at the time. "I saw the day-to-day part. I was told that I was going to miss at least two or three weeks. So I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled."  

The following day, president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said he would have done things differently. 

"We should have just said 'out indefinitely,' even though the treatment was still day to day," Colangelo said. "But the fact that there was uncertainty, I'll own that." 

Embiid's short NBA career has been marked by injuries from the very start until now. He sat out his first two seasons with foot injuries. This year the Sixers took an ultra-cautious approach to their starred big man. He was placed under a carefully monitored minute restriction (capped at 28) and did not play on both nights of back-to-back games. Embiid reiterated throughout the season that after missing two years, he was exercising patience to benefit his long-term health.

When Embiid was on the court, though, he shined. He made NBA basketball look easy and he had his way at and away from the basket. Embiid did not appear in enough games to qualify him on the leaders' charts, but based on his raw stats he led all rookies in scoring and in rebounds. Teammate Dario Saric is second in both categories but still trailed Embiid by 8.9 points and 1.6 rebounds. 

Embid ranks second among all players in blocks behind Jazz big man Rudy Gobert. In his first 31 games, he recorded nine double-doubles, which is first among rookies even though he has not played in over a month. 

Embiid scored a career-high 33 points on Dec. 18 against the Nets and 14 rebounds on Jan. 14 against the Knicks. He dished five assists in three games and swatted five blocks in two contests. 

The announcement of Embiid's status comes less than one week after Ben Simmons was ruled out for the season. Like Embiid did, Simmons will miss his entire first year with the Sixers. He suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot during training camp. Simmons received a bone marrow injection on Monday speed up the healing. Both Embiid and Simmons are projected to be the centerpieces of the Sixers' future when they return next season. 

Embiid is with the Sixers in Miami. Expect to see him around the team for the remainder of the season as he stays involved to further their team chemistry for the 2017-18 campaign.

While he works toward his return to the court and eyes his next official game months down the road, he will embrace his mantra. 

As he's always done, Embiid will trust the process.

Sixers-Heat 5 things: Waiters welcomes the Sixers to Miami

Sixers-Heat 5 things: Waiters welcomes the Sixers to Miami

The Sixers (22-37) open March against the Miami Heat (27-33) at American Airlines Arena (7:30 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Gold rush
If you would have told the Sixers beforehand that they would limit the Golden State Warriors to 44.9 percent shooting from the field and 20.7 percent from three-point range that included Stephen Curry going 0 for 11 from deep, they might have expected to win the game.

Instead, the Sixers suffered a 119-108 loss on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

While the defeat had a lot to do with the team's turnover problem rearing its head yet again (23 turnovers that led to 23 points), a bigger reason was the Warriors' ability to turn to their multiple stars when things got tense.

"That's the holy grail, what they have. That is the king, in my opinion, in our league as we speak," Brett Brown said.

2. Chasing revenge
The Heat may not be on a likely track for the NBA Finals like the Warriors, but they still have postseason aspirations. They are currently two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

If continuing their pursuit of the playoffs wasn't enough reason to be on their game, the Heat will also be out for a little payback against the Sixers.

In the last meeting between these two teams on Feb. 11, the Sixers snapped Miami's 13-game win streak. The Sixers had seven players score in double figures while they limited Hassan Whiteside to 12 points in 34 minutes during the 117-109 victory.

"They were relentless," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after that game. "They had us on our heels from the tip all the way to the end. They never let up."

3. Welcome to my house
One factor behind the Sixers' ability to knock off the Heat that night and snap their streak at 13 was the absence of Dion Waiters. The Philly native missed the game for the Heat with an ankle sprain.

Now Waiters welcomes the Sixers to Miami, where the shooting guard is enjoying the best season of his career. Waiters is averaging career highs in points (15.9, tied with his second season), assists (4.5), rebounds (3.5) and three-point percentage (38.9).

Waiters' scoring has been even better since returning from his ankle injury. He's reached the 20-point mark in three of the five games he has played since getting back on the court.

4. Injuries
Joel Embiid (knee), Tiago Splitter (calf), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Willie Reed (calf), Josh McRoberts (foot), Justise Winslow (shoulder) and Chris Bosh (calf) are out for the Heat.

5. This and that
• This is the fourth and final matchup between the Sixers and Heat this season. Each team has protected home court with the Sixers winning in Philadelphia on Nov. 21 and Feb. 11 and Heat victorious in Miami on Feb. 4.

• Whiteside has averaged 24.7 points and 17.3 boards a game against the Sixers this season.

• The Sixers scored 50 points in the paint during their last matchup with the Heat.