Tyreek Duren taking lessons from vet to Sixers

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Tyreek Duren taking lessons from vet to Sixers

There are only four players in the history of the Big 5 to score 1,500 points, dish out 450 assists and get 200 steals in their collegiate careers.

Of that four, Jameer Nelson, the former St. Joe’s star and 10-year veteran with Orlando and Tyreek Duren from La Salle, work out together. Moreover, both players are hoping to land with a new team in the NBA sometime soon.

Nelson, of course, should have little problem latching on with a team. Testing the free-agent waters for the first time in his NBA career, the former All-Star and rock steady point guard has drawn the interest of New Orleans, Brooklyn, Detroit, Miami and New York.

Duren, on the other hand, is looking for opportunities. Not selected in last month’s NBA draft, Duren, a four-year starter at La Salle and star with Neumann-Goretti in South Philly, will play for the Sixers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m trying to make the best of it,” Duren said. “It’s big to be here. Growing up I looked up to a lot of the Sixers like [Allen Iverson] and then to be in this gym, it’s kind of unbelievable.”

A 6-foot point guard, Duren may have to be very impressive to grab a spot with the Sixers. After all, the team has reigning Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, at point guard, along with third-year player Tony Wroten. Plus, 5-foot-10 point guard Casper Ware performed well with two 10-day contracts at the end of last season and has stood out on defense in Orlando.

Where Duren may stand out is with his three-point shooting. At La Salle he shot 40.8 percent from deep in his senior year and went 105 for 264 (39.8 percent) in 65 games over his last two seasons.

Defense could be Duren’s ticket, though. Averaging nearly two steals per game at La Salle, Duren’s quickness will help him during the next two weeks with the Sixers. If Duren can stand out in the team’s up-tempo style, he has a chance.

And that’s where the workouts with Nelson come in. If there is one thing Duren has learned from the NBA vet, it’s there are no easy days. Every play matters, Duren said.

“Just the work ethic and how NBA players take everything serious,” Duren said of the lessons learned from Nelson. “Every rep, every drill you just have to max out.”

There’s more, too. At 6-foot and a bit under 200 pounds, Duren will be going up against a lot of bigger point guards.

“The main thing with him and the biggest difference in the both of us is that he’s a lot leaner than me,” Duren said. “He’s very muscular and that’s one thing I want to pick up -- I want to get my body right.”

Otherwise, Duren says he and Nelson have “completely different games.” Except for the fact that Duren, Nelson, Scottie Reynolds and Doug Overton are the only Big 5 players to get 1,500 points, 450 assists and 200 steals in their collegiate careers.

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Ben Simmons rolled his right ankle during scrimmage on the final day of training camp. He was taken for precautionary imaging. The results have not yet been completed.

Jerryd Bayless did not scrimmage because of a sore left wrist, which the team continues to monitor. He sat out of Thursday's scrimmage for the same reason.

Jahlil Okafor participated in Friday's scrimmage in accordance to his load management. The Sixers are being cautious with players as they return from injury. Okafor underwent right knee surgery last season. 

Sergio Rodriguez ready for 'opportunity' of 2nd NBA stint

Sergio Rodriguez ready for 'opportunity' of 2nd NBA stint

GALLOWAY, N.J. — It’s Round 2 for Sergio Rodriguez.

Ten years after beginning his first stint in the NBA, he is back as a veteran point guard on the Sixers. The green 20-year-old is now 30, with European and Olympic experience behind him. Rodriguez is looking to build upon his previous four NBA seasons, which culminated in 2010, in a leadership role in Philadelphia.

“It feels great,” Rodriguez said Thursday after the training camp morning session at Stockton University. “It’s a second opportunity for me.”

Rodriguez played three seasons for the Trail Blazers from 2009-10 and split his fourth year with the Kings and Knicks. He averaged a quiet 4.3 points, 2.9 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 13.2 minutes per game. Rodriguez returned to his native Spain and found a higher level of success, including winning the EuroLeague title with Real Madrid, being named EuroLeague MVP, and competing in the Olympics. Last season Rodriguez averaged 10.9 points (40.9 percent from three), 6.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 24 minutes for Real Madrid. 

Head coach Brett Brown considers Rodriguez one of the top point guards that had played in Europe. 

“He just has a real gift for understanding, especially offensive tempo,” Brown said. “I think that his ability to run a pick-and-roll and figure out how teams are playing it and where they’re rotating from about a pass sooner, one dribble sooner so he can pick off rotations. He’s very gifted in that environment. I think he’s got a bounce to his game and a pace to his game that he will be absorbed in how I want to play well.”

Both Brown and Rodriguez anticipate challenges on the defensive end as Rodriguez re-acclimates himself in the NBA. He will be tasked with guarding some of the league’s toughest point guards, and will also be involved in numerous pick-and-rolls each game. 

After years of playing in Spain, Rodriguez has to get to know a new group of players. He considers the responsibility of a point guard to be getting his entire team involved, particularly with all the youth on the SIxers.

“I will try to feel comfortable for my teammates. For a point guard, you need to have the confidence that everybody is happy playing with you,” Rodriguez said, also noting, “Always the point guard has to run the show. Especially for this team, we have so many young players that need to develop and need to know how to win.” 

So far that is working.

“Sergio’s great,” Nerlens Noel said. “He’s a real vocal leader, even with that little accent he’s got. He makes it work. I think as the season goes along, we’ll continue to get on the same page and really start to mesh a little better.” 

Rodriguez left the NBA as a young guard and is now ready to make a comeback with years of experience. 

"I’m very excited to have this upcoming season and to be successful for my team, my teammates, the organization," he said.