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.

Are we there yet? Philly Sports Talk examines the state of the Sixers

Are we there yet? Philly Sports Talk examines the state of the Sixers

All week on Philly Sports Talk on CSN, we examine how our teams got to this point and where they are in the rebuilding process. 

On Tuesday, Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato takes a look at the state of the Sixers

How did we get here?
By now, you all know about “The Process.” The Sixers' last competitive season was five years ago when they reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals. 

Then came the disastrous Andrew Bynum trade. The Sixers, as part of a blockbuster four-team deal, lost Andre Iguodala, Nik Vucevic and a first-round pick, and they received Bynum, who because of knee problems never played for them. But he did, lest you have forgotten, bowl.

In the meantime, the Sixers went 34-48 in Doug Collins' final season as head coach.

Enter Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown and start The Process.

The Sixers entered a three-year period of dismal basketball with a revolving door of players coached by Brett Brown that culminated in a 47-199 record. During that time, they stockpiled injured players, draft-and-stash prospects and a handful of future picks through transactions made by Hinkie.

Hinkie stepped down from his role with a memorable 13-page resignation letter last April. The Sixers hired Bryan Colangelo as president of basketball operations, marking a new chapter in the organization. 

The 2016-17 season was the first glimpse into the potential of The Process. They finished 28-54, including a 10-5 month of January. Joel Embiid made his NBA debut after two years. While he was limited to 31 games because of (another) injury, he quickly proved he can dominate when healthy. Dario Saric came to the NBA two years after being drafted in 2014 and emerged as a Rookie of the Year candidate after Embiid was shut down for the season. The Sixers landed the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft and are waiting on the debut of Ben Simmons, who suffered a Jones fracture in training camp. This season, the Sixers established legitimate pieces for their future, rather than players who could be on the summer league team. 

Are the Sixers on the right path back to prosperity?
The Sixers are on the right path back to prosperity, and it starts this offseason. They have the third pick in the 2017 draft, with the possibilities of adding another young talent or packaging the pick to land a more established player. The Sixers have flexibility with plenty of cap space — which they could use to acquire a key free agent. The team has maintained they will not rush into making a trade just for the sake of it  — Jahlil Okafor’s future with the Sixers is still uncertain — or spend money just because it’s available. The Sixers showed flashes of potential last season. If they gather the right pieces this summer and — a big “and” — they stay healthy, they will continue to move toward an upward trend of rebuilding with the longer-term goals (this isn't happening overnight) of becoming a contender again. 

Coming Wednesday: A look at the Phillies' rebuild

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals

NBA Playoffs: Warriors sweep their way to 3rd straight NBA Finals

BOX SCORE

SAN ANTONIO -- Stephen Curry scored 36 points as the Golden State Warriors closed out the Western Conference Final against the injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs with a 129-115 victory Monday night, becoming the first team in league history to start the playoffs 12-0.

Golden State led by as many as 22 points in cruising to its third straight NBA Finals. The Warriors await a possible third straight championship matchup with Cleveland, which leads Boston 2-1 in the East finals.

"It's great to be one of the last two teams standing, we'll see how it goes," said Kevin Durant, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds.

San Antonio's only lead came on the opening possession when Manu Ginobili tossed in a left-handed scoop shot. The Spurs started Ginobili in what could be his final game with the team. The 39-year-old had maintained he will not ponder whether to retire or return until after the season.

Unsure if the beloved veteran will return, the crowd serenaded Ginobili with "Manu, Manu" chants as the game came to a close.

"An amazing competitor, even more fun playing against him," Durant said of Ginobili. "He was phenomenal this series."

Kyle Anderson scored 20 points to lead the Spurs, who were without Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and David Lee. San Antonio didn't go down without a fight despite the injuries.

Anderson dove on the court for a loose ball that the Spurs had tipped away defensively, pushing the ball upcourt to Patty Mills who fed Ginobili for a 3-pointer that pulled San Antonio to 108-94 with 7 minutes remaining.

The effort made Spurs coach Gregg Popovich smile and clap at times, but the Warriors' depth and talent proved too much for short-handed San Antonio.

Golden State shot 56 percent and were 14 for 39 on 3-pointers.

Draymond Green had 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors.

Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge closed out a disappointing series with his second eight-point effort against the Warriors.

Ginobili finished with 15 points in 32 minutes.