'Spence-er! Hawes!' Chants Did In Fact Rain Down in Philadelphia

'Spence-er! Hawes!' Chants Did In Fact Rain Down in Philadelphia

The Sixers are the new hotness, have you heard? After getting a solid win over the Pistons in their home opener on Friday night and then beating the crap out of Toronto on Saturday night, Doug Collins' squad moved to 5-2 on the season and are the talk of many NBA circles around the Internet. Other teams in the East may have more wins -- Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Orlando, for instance; or tonight's formidable opponent the Pacers -- but none of them are as efficient as the Sixers.

Nobody in the NBA is for that matter.

Right at the center of all of that amazing efficient play is Spencer Hawes. Yes, Spencer Hawes. The same guy who was used as a punchline (guilty) much of last season.

So how well has Hawes played after the first seven games of the season? Take a look at these numbers.

First, according to John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating, Hawes is the 13th most efficient player in the NBA, just a rebound or bicep curl behind the almighty Dwight Howard. (Nik Vucevic is No. 3 overall (!) behind only LeBron and Manu Ginobili)

But wait, Dave Berri of Wages of Wins Journal puts the numbers into context:

...we see that Hawes is above average with respect to shooting efficiency from the field, rebounds, assists, turnovers, blocked shots, and personal fouls. Hawes is below average at the free throw line (both in terms of getting to the line and efficiency). But his positives add up to a level of production nearly four times beyond the average NBA center.

Emphasis ours. "A level of productivity nearly four times beyond the average NBA center." How about that? From SPENCER HAWES.

Obviously, it will be tough for Spencer and the entire Sixers squad to keep up their incredibly efficient play when the schedule sees back-to-back-to-backs like this week and then later when they see tougher teams like Denver, Atlanta, and Miami later this month.

But for the time being, let the "Spence-er! Hawes!" chants rain down at the Wells Fargo Center. He's earning them.

>>The best team in the NBA is... The Sixers?? [Wages of Wins Journal]

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If you missed this weekend's action, here's what Andrew had to say about Spencer's fantastic showing in the home opener:

Again, Spencer Hawes was the best player on the court for the Sixers for most of the game. Spence notched his fourth double-double of the season—he had six all last year—with a 16-14 line that saw him scoring just about every way possible from inside the arc. After one long jumper, he even earned a "SPEN-CER HAW-WES!!!" chant from the fans, certainly a Wells Fargo Center first. He didn't score a single other point after that—though he just missed a three that would have absolutely brought the house down—but it was fantastic to see his impossibly improved play in person at the WFC, and I was proud of our fanbase for acknowledging him accordingly.

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One of the keys to Hawes' breakout start? How about working out with Shawn Kemp during the offseason?

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And here's Spencer on Lunch Break today talking about his hot start, the status of his back injury, as well as reacting to the crowd's love for him on Friday night.

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons trust the NFL draft process on the parkway

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons trust the NFL draft process on the parkway

When fans came to Philadelphia to see the future of the NFL, they got a glimpse of the Sixers’ future too.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons walked through the draft festivities on Thursday surrounded by fans. 

Embiid posted an Instagram video soaking in a -- you guessed it -- “Trust the Process” chant. Check out that video above.

That night Embiid and Simmons expressed their appreciation for the crowd's enthusiastic reaction.

Humble Eagles' 14th pick Derek Barnett ready to get to work

Humble Eagles' 14th pick Derek Barnett ready to get to work

Derek Barnett, the former Tennessee defensive end, clad in an all-red, three-piece suit, stared at the landline phone in front of him in the green room at the NFL draft on the Ben Franklin Parkway.  

It wasn't ringing.

Despite his best efforts, the 20-year-old couldn't telepathically get that phone to go off. The Eagles, who he knew had some interest in him after a top-30 visit earlier in the offseason, were on the clock. But still, that landline remained silent.

Then his cell phone rang. And it was a Philly number.

"I just got very excited and I really can't explain it because everything happened so fast," Barnett said just after 11 p.m. Thursday. "But it was like a surreal moment."

When he answered the phone, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie was on the other end. Barnett was then passed around from head coach Doug Pederson to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and likely to the Eagles' two-headed personnel czar Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas.

By the time Barnett joined a conference call with reporters an hour and change later, he had already shaken hands with the commissioner, been shuffled through various media obligations and stood in front of thousands of Eagles fans.

So by 11:05 p.m., when he talked over the phone to reporters at the NovaCare Complex, nothing from his wild night had really settled in.

Of all the players who were selected on Thursday night, he was the only one who won't have to leave the city to be with his new team.

"It's very fun," Barnett said. "That means I can get to work quicker."

The humble pass rusher, who broke Reggie White's sack record at Tennessee, is the type of player that exemplifies what the Eagles are looking for, according to Roseman.

"He stands for what we want to be and I think everyone in the city will see what kind of person he is, what kind of player he is," Roseman said. "Unbelievably high character, unbelievable worker and tremendously talented and productive."

Barnett (6-foot-3, 259 pounds) finished his college career with 32 sacks and Douglas praised the young pass-rusher for his ability to finish at the top of his rush.

The Eagles took Barnett because, they say, he was the top-rated player on their board at the time (see story). But the team still has Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry and Chris Long and Marcus Smith.

Where will Barnett figure into the rotation?

"My mindset is to help the team anyway I can," Barnett said. "I know I have to come in and work hard and earn the respect of my team first. Just because I was a first-round pick, that don't mean nothing. I have to work harder now. My plan is to come in, get around those vets, learn from them and hopefully, when the season comes around, I can be able to contribute."

While the Eagles return several pass-rushers from a year ago, the team desperately needs to find a way to sack quarterbacks, especially because Schwartz's entire defense is predicated on getting pressure with the front four and not blitzing.

Barnett is pretty excited to join the group.

"I love it," Barnett said of Schwartz's defense. "That's my style and I feel like I fit it very well and Coach Schwartz said the same thing, too. I think it's going to be a good fit."

While there was certainly some mumbling when the Barnett picked was announced on the Parkway and while plenty of fans on social media weren't thrilled with the selection (see story), the newest Eagle said he felt nothing but love.

And he can't wait to play in front of those fans on Sundays.

"Great fan base," he said. "I've been feeling the love ever since my name got called. And I was a little nervous at first, I didn't know if I was going to get the love or some boos, but I got a great welcoming and I appreciate the fans for doing that, because I had no clue where I was going to end up at."

Now, he knows. And he won't have to go far.