Sixers can learn from growth of Wall, Wizards


Sixers can learn from growth of Wall, Wizards

It has been more than two weeks since the Sixers ended their 19-win season, the third-fewest win total in franchise history.

As difficult as it was at times to watch the Sixers this past season, viewing the current NBA playoffs should give plenty of hope for what Brett Brown’s team can do in the future with more talent and development.

The Sixers can only hope it won’t take them as long as it took Washington to start enjoying postseason success again. The Wizards won just 19 games in the 2008-09 season, tied for the second-worst mark in the league.

The Wizards did improve to 26 victories the following season and then landed point guard John Wall with the No. 1 overall pick in the ensuing NBA draft.

They actually took some steps backward to 23 and 20 wins in Wall’s first two years. The Wiz recorded 29 wins in 2012-13 before they jumped to 44 this season as Wall blossomed into an All-Star and led the club to a first-round playoff win over the Chicago Bulls.

Wall played in all 82 games this season for the first time in his career. He also averaged 19.3 points and 8.8 assists per game, both career highs.

However, it’s Wall’s numbers as a rookie that are interesting as he laid the groundwork for the player he is now. Wall averaged 16.4 points, 8.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds during his first professional season.

Those numbers are very similar to Michael Carter-Williams’ stats from this season. Carter-Williams put up 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds a night for the Sixers.

The Wizards added pieces through the draft (Bradley Beal and Trevor Booker) along with players via trade (Nene and Marcin Gortat) to get them back in the playoff mix. Still, it all starts with Wall’s development into a franchise player.

The NBA is a point guard’s league these days. The game is run by elite PGs such as Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Stephen Curry.

Three of the last five Rookie of the Year winners have been point guards in Damian Lillard (2012-13), Kyrie Irving (2011-12) and Derrick Rose (2008-09).

When it becomes official that Carter-Williams wins the 2014 ROY award -- which we fully expect to happen -- it will mark a great accomplishment for him.

If MCW continues to progress in the right direction, he might just lead his team to a postseason meeting with Wall’s Wizards in the near future.

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?

Reports: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans

Reports: Kings trade DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS -- The Sacramento Kings have agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Tyreke Evans, 2016 first-round draft pick Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round draft picks this summer, a person familiar with the situation said Sunday night.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade is not official and has not been announced by either team.

The deal pairs the 6-foot-11 Cousins, a frontcourt All-Star from nearby Mobile, Alabama, with the 6-11 Anthony Davis, who on Sunday night was the All-Star Game MVP after scoring 52 points, breaking Wilt Chamberlain's 1962 record of 42.

The move also sends a message that the Pelicans are committed to a push for a playoff spot.

New Orleans (23-34) went into the All-Star break 2 games behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff seeding in the Western Conference.

Cousins, like Davis a former collegiate star at Kentucky, is averaging 27.8 points and 10.6 rebounds this season. But he is due to become a free agent in 2018 unless the Pelicans can sign him to an All-Star caliber extension.

The Kings get a player with a lot of potential in Hield, although he has been inconsistent during his rookie season out of Oklahoma, where as a senior he was one of the best players in the nation.

Hield is averaging 8.6 points but has been explosive at times, with a season high of 21 points. The 6-6 Evans, who can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward, will be entering a second stint in Sacramento, where he was drafted in 2009 and went on to be Rookie of the Year. Galloway has been a solid reserve, providing scoring punch from the perimeter.

The 6-9 Casspi has been playing about 19 minutes per game for the Kings this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.