Philly March Madness: (2) Allen Iverson vs. (15) Jeremiah Trotter

Philly March Madness: (2) Allen Iverson vs. (15) Jeremiah Trotter

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.


(2) Allen Iverson

"A six-... foot... guard... from Georgetown," Allen Iverson is without a doubt one of the most exciting athletes to watch in the history of sport. It didn't matter that everybody on the court was bigger than him, A.I. was going to the bucket. The first overall pick of the NBA Draft in 1996 went on to win four scoring titles with the Sixers. While, yes, that was a big part of his game, his tenacity and desire were what made him so dangerous. Iverson took a beating as a result of his diminutive size and attacking style of play, but he showed up every night, often going the full 48. His career peaked during the 2000-01 season, winning the league's Most Valuable Player Award while carrying a cast of role players into the NBA Finals. Despite all his success, the front office never managed to surround him with quite enough talent, and eventually attitude problems took their toll on coaches and the fanbase, so the club shipped the 11-time All Star off to Denver. Iverson would make his triumphant return to Philadelphia last season, joining the team mid-season and appearing in 25 games. Though clearly not the same player, it was good to have him home. -Kulp


(15) Jeremiah Trotter

If there was a protypical middle linebacker for a Jim Johnson defense, it was Jeremiah Trotter. That's probably how the Axe Man wound up spending three stints with the Eagles. Trot was a third round pick from little Stephen F. Austin in 1998. When Andy Reid brought Johnson in to run the defense the following year, Trotter was installed as the starter. His aggressive, downhill style was a perfect fit, and was crucial to building one of the most stifling defenses in the last decade. After a pair of Pro Bowl seasons, the front office couldn't reach an accord with 54, and he departed to Washington for a huge contract. While it soon became evident he wasn't ideal for their system, it turned out the Birds needed him just as much as he needed them, and he returned to Philly two years later. He wasn't instantly given his job back though. A true professional, Trotter played special teams for half the 2004 season before replacing Mark Simoneau in the middle. The switch paid off, and the defense once again became a strength for the eventual NFC Champions. He was released prior to the '07 season, and would only play in three games over the next two years before once again rejoining the team as a stopgap in '09. -Kulp

Who should advance to the next round?online survey

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."