Iguodala reaches new level of contentment in Philly

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Iguodala reaches new level of contentment in Philly

Andre Iguodala looked happy, relaxed and content, and yes, he was in Philadelphia. It seems like it would be hard for him to be happy in Philly.

He said the contrary.

I definitely enjoy being here, Iguodala said at a local basketball camp on Saturday. Evan Turner and I were speaking late last night. We had a really good conversation about how we can really play well together, how we can make each other better so we are looking forward to next year. We even talked about what we were going to do after practice next year. So I am definitely looking forward to improving myself and playing ball.

After Game 5 of the series against the Heat, Iguodala responded to the question: Do you expect to be a Sixer next year? with I expect to be in the NBA, followed by a missed exit interview with his coach and front office brass and lots of trade talk on draft day. It seemed like Iguodala was on his way out.

But the seven-year Sixers veteran has arrived at a place where he believes the important thing is to not let anything affect him in a negative way.

Whatever happens will happen, thats why I made the statement I did right when the season was over, Iguodala said. I am just happy to be playing basketball in the NBA. Thats my childhood dream and then it kind of got taken out of context but who wouldnt want to be living that dream? I am living the dream so why worry about things I cant control.

I am just happy to be in this position that when the season starts back up to be on a roster. Where do I want to be? It would be great to be back with the young guys along with Elton Brand and I think we have room to pick up a free agent, so it will be an exciting next year.

Trade rumors about Iguodala have become common place for the past couple years but he no longer believes that he is going to be moved.

I cant say I would be surprised, because I wouldnt be surprised, but I am not expecting it to happen, he said.

His actions would also suggest he believes he will remain a Sixer. He met with head coach Doug Collins the week leading up to the lockout.

We met for about ten minutes going back and forth on how the team can improve, he said. You know Doug is a really good seller, so he did a good job on telling me where we are going to next and his vision for where the team will be next year.

Iguodala will make his annual trip to Atlanta, where he attends Lou Williams basketball camp for kids, and then when he goes back to Los Angeles, where he has a home, he hopes to catch up Jrue Holiday.

Jrue is right down the street from me in LA but he never answers his phone, so he is hard to catch up with, Iguodala said laughing. He has been travelling a lot. His marketers push him a lot because like I have been telling people for the last two years he is going to be one of the top five point guards in this league so he has a lot going on but Im sure I will catch up with him.

Reaching out to teammates and enjoying conversations; summer vacation clearly suits the 27 year old Iguodala. In addition to his travels, Iguodala is spending time tackling his list of good summer reads.

I just read Malcom Xs new book. I got through that in China. Now I am reading Law of Attraction and I am about to start my own company so I got The Art of Start. Its on the New York Times best seller list, Iguodala said. I am about to start reading that in hopes it will help with this company I want to start. I am hiding it right now but hopefully it ends up like Facebook or something like that and when I am done playing basketball this will seem like minimum wage compared to what I make with that.

Showing a sense of humor? This is a changed man or one who has arrived at a new destination of contentment.

Iguodala was in Philadelphia this weekend to support his college friend and fellow NBA player Mustafa Shakur, who was hosting an event called Part of the Solution Community Day. Shakur grew up in Philadelphia before attending the University of Arizona and decided to start his event because he grew up always able to attend Rasheed Wallaces basketball camp. Wallace no longer runs his camp, so Shakur decided it was his turn to give back to the younger generation.

Iguodala hopes in addition to developing good basketball players, events like Shakurs stresses to youth the importance of being good people.

Growing up, Michael Jordan was the guy I looked up to, and Penny Hardaway, and both those guys were well spoken. Both those guys have the presence on the court but also off, he said. I dont want to get caught up in the how do I say this basketball players arent the brightest and they dont speak well you want to get out of that stereotype. So it has always been important to me. I think it came from my as well.

Aaron McKie was definitely a guy who always handled himself well on and off the court. I always get on him though for giving the politically correct answer. I say give me the truth, dont give me the politically correct answer. He says thats how you have to do it, sometimes it calls for that. And I am trying to understand that as I get older in this league and trying to make the most of my last seven, eight years.
E-mail Dei Lynam at dlynam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow her on Twitter @DLynamCSN.

Related: Sixers' Iguodala thoughtful in address to local youth Source: Sixers 'very close' to being sold

LSU PG Tim Quarterman on Ben Simmons: 'He's a great teammate'

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LSU PG Tim Quarterman on Ben Simmons: 'He's a great teammate'

By now, Tim Quarterman is used to being asked about Ben Simmons.

The former LSU point guard declared for the NBA draft following his junior season and enter the same draft in which Simmons, the freshman phenom, is projected to be the No. 1 or No. 2 pick.

As Quarterman goes through his own pre-draft process, it's inevitable he'll have to field questions about his former teammate he calls “his little brother” along the way.

“He’s a great passer, he can handle the ball and he’s always there to cheer you on,” Quarterman said Monday following a workout with the Sixers on Monday. “He likes for other people to accomplish great accomplishments. He’s a great teammate.”

Simmons came under criticism during his freshman year for “quitting” on the Tigers. The team went 19-14 and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. They also chose not to participate in any other postseason tournaments. Even though Simmons averaged a team-high 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game, there was question over his effort.

Quarterman said that wasn’t the case.

"Ben is a great person, a great player and he's a great competitor, so I don't think throughout the season he ever quit on us," Quarterman said. “I think he continued to play hard. I think us losing frustrated a lot of  us as competitors because we always wanted to win.”

The Sixers have an edge evaluating Simmons. While he grew up thousands of miles from Philadelphia in Australia, it just so happens Brett Brown coached Simmons' father David during his extensive coaching career in Australia. Not only does Brown know Simmons’ family, he still is closely connected to those involved in his basketball career.

“I know the people that have worked with him all across the board,” Brown said. “That’s just one of the benefits of living in the country and 20 minutes from where he grew up for 17 years, short of my Sydney days where it makes it 12 years.”

Of course Quarterman didn't work out with the Sixers just to speak on Simmons. He is also fighting for a place in the NBA as well.

"Tim did a very good job creating for others," Brandon Williams, Sixers vice president of basketball administration, said. "What I'm impressed by is he's such a nuisance defensively, his length and athleticism. Then he showed his ability to create off the bounce."

NBA draft profile: Oklahoma G Buddy Hield

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NBA draft profile: Oklahoma G Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield

Position: Guard

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 214 pounds

School: Oklahoma

It seems rare these days for juniors considering the NBA draft to return to school. It's even more unique for those players to take a leap from likely draft picks to lottery locks.

But that's exactly what Buddy Hield did during his dazzling senior season at Oklahoma. The guard demanded the country's attention as he shot his way to 25.0 points per game (second in the nation) and helped the Sooners reach the Final Four as he racked up both the prestigious Wooden and Naismith Awards in the process.

While the scoring was certainly worthy of praise, Hield's efficiency was even more impressive. Despite attempting career highs in field goals (16.2), three-pointers (8.7) and free throws per game (5.4), the sharpshooter increased his percentages across the board. Hield connected on 50.1 percent from the field, 45.7 percent from three-point range and 88.0 percent from the line.

Even though Hield capped off his decorated career with a dud in Oklahoma's Final Four loss to eventual national champion Villanova (nine points on 4 of 12 shooting), he proved throughout the course of the season that his ceiling is higher than expected and that he belongs among the top tier of this year's draft class.

Strengths
All of those days practicing on a milk crate back in the Bahamas paid off because Hield can flat-out shoot the ball. His 147 threes led the nation last season and were tied for the most by any college player since some guy named Stephen Curry drained 162 in 2008.

But Hield isn't just a standstill shooter by any means. Yes, he can catch and shoot, but he also has the ability to fire off screens, pull up off the dribble and get to the rim at times.

Hield also showed he wasn't afraid to stick his nose into the trees by pulling down 5.7 rebounds per game a season ago and 4.9 a night during his time at Oklahoma.

Weaknesses
There is some concern about whether Hield will be able to get that silky shot off the way he wants to at the next level. His jumper does have a lower release point than usual, and at 6-foot-4, he won't be able to just rise up to shoot over smaller defenders in the NBA. That means to get open he will have to rely more on his ball handling, which could use some work and helped lend itself to Hield's 3.1 turnovers per game as a senior. Hield will also have to improve his defense, which has never been a strong suit.

How he'd fit with the Sixers
Seamlessly. In case you haven't heard, the Sixers can use all of the outside shooting help they can get. With so many big bodies doing their work down in the paint, Hield would be able to spot up for one open jumper after another.

However, with the two perceived transcendent talents at the top of the draft, the only way we would be able to see how Hield looks in a Sixers jersey would be if Bryan Colangelo pulls the trigger on a trade to acquire another high draft pick.

NBA comparison
Sure, Hield's game has some similarities to Curry and he received a co-sign from Kobe Bryant during the NCAA Tournament, but let's not get too carried away. A more accurate comparison would be Portland guard and Lehigh product C.J. McCollum. Like McCollum, Hield is a natural shooter who can score from just about anywhere on the floor. Hield also has the drive to get even better, just like McCollum, who walked away with the NBA's Most Improved Player Award this season.

Draft projection
Hield is an early- to mid-lottery selection. Look for him to go somewhere between the fifth and ninth picks.

Warriors complete comeback, oust Thunder in Game 7

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The Associated Press

Warriors complete comeback, oust Thunder in Game 7

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry knocked down yet another 3-pointer in the waning moments, pulled his jersey up into his mouth and yelled to the rafters in triumph once more.

A special, record-setting season saved for the defending champs, with a memorable comeback added to the long list of accomplishments.

Splash Brothers Curry and Klay Thompson carried the 73-win Warriors right back to the NBA Finals, as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 on Monday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

Now, Curry and Co. are playing for another NBA title -- just as they planned since Day 1 of training camp in September.

Bring on LeBron James again.

"You appreciate how tough it is to get back here," Curry said. "You've got to be appreciative of this accomplishment, and look forward to getting four more wins."

The MVP scored 36 points with seven 3-pointers to finish with an NBA-record 32 in a seven-game series, and also had eight assists. Thompson added 21 points and six 3s, two days after his record 11 3-pointers led a Game 6 comeback that sent the series home to raucous Oracle Arena for one more.

The Warriors became the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win a postseason series. They return to the NBA Finals for a rematch with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost the 2015 title in six games as Golden State captured its first championship in 40 years.

Game 1 is Thursday night in Oakland.

"We survived by the skin of our teeth," coach Steve Kerr said. "We were able to pull it out, and we're moving on."

His signature mouthpiece dangling out and the game ball cradled in his left hand, Curry pumped his right arm as yellow confetti fell through Oracle Arena once the final buzzer sounded.

With the Thunder trailing 90-86, Serge Ibaka fouled Curry on a 3-point try with 1:18 to go and the shot clock running out. Curry made all three free throws, then that 3-pointer to seal it.

"This is who he is. Having a clutch performance in a Game 7, that's Steph Curry," Kerr said.

And Golden State's beloved "Strength In Numbers" catchphrase coined by Coach of the Year Kerr was needed in every way.

"No one ever had any doubt that we could get this done," Draymond Green said. "People have seen teams down 3-1 before but they ain't seen many. They've definitely never seen a 73-win team down 3-1."

Andre Iguodala joined the starting lineup for just the second time all season and the 2015 NBA Finals MVP hung tough against Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Shaun Livingston's breakaway, one-handed dunk late in the third provided a big lift off the Warriors bench.

Oklahoma City won Game 1 108-102 at deafening Oracle Arena, so Golden State never envisioned this one coming easily. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder.

"It hurts losing, especially being up 3 games to 1," Durant said.

It took a quarter and a half for Thompson to warm up after his 41-point performance in a 108-101 win Saturday at Oklahoma City that sent the series back to the East Bay.

He missed his initial seven shots before hitting a 3 6:02 before halftime, energizing the Warriors in their first Game 7 at home in 40 years.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Thompson and Iguodala pulled the Warriors within 54-51 with 7:57 left in the third. They tied it on Curry's 3 at 7:21 and he followed with another 3 to give his team the lead.

Curry and Thompson each topped the previous record for 3s in a seven-game series, 28 by Dennis Scott and Ray Allen. Curry hit one over 7-foot Steven Adams in the third, and Thompson wound up with 30 3s.

Iguodala replaced Harrison Barnes in the starting lineup and what a move by Kerr, who did the same thing last year in crunch time. Iguodala made a pretty bounce pass through the paint to Green for Golden State's first basket, and his smothering defense on Durant kept the Thunder star without a shot until his 3 at the 5:45 mark in the first. Durant had just nine points on five shots in the first half.

But Oklahoma City dictated the tempo with snappy passes and the hard, aggressive rebounding that had been such a part of its success this season. The Thunder couldn't sustain it.

"They won a world championship last year, and they've broken an NBA record, and people are already talking about it before the playoffs started, this may be the greatest team to ever lace them up in the history of the NBA," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.

The Warriors, who fell behind 35-22, lost their last Game 7 at home: 94-86 to Phoenix in the Western Conference finals on May 16, 1976.

Tip-ins
Thunder: The Thunder's 12 third-quarter points were the fewest allowed by Golden State in a playoff third quarter during the shot clock era. ... Durant took nine shots in the first 33:25. ... Oklahoma City led by as many as 13 in the first half. ... Donovan celebrated his 51st birthday. ... The Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State's opponent the previous round, are the only teams to beat the Warriors twice this season.

Warriors: The Warriors are 4-4 all-time in Game 7s -- 3-1 at home. ... Iguodala earned his first since Jan. 2 against Denver. ... Golden State wasn't whistled for its first foul until 2:34 in the first. ... The Warriors' 42 first-half points were their fewest at home this season. ... Curry hit a 3 in his 51st straight playoff game.