Summer Madness

Summer Madness

The summer is here and the Phillies don't completely suck, which is nice.  They salvaged a win yesterday in New York to keep themselves within striking distance of the Mets.  Cole Hamels health isn't exactly promising, but beggars can't be choosers.  They have a solid nucleus in their lineup which Pat Gillick can work with.

What I'm saying here is: its Memorial Day weekend and the Phillies are still watchable, so enjoy it.  Go to a game this weekend (tonight if you want a Chase doll) and enjoy some baseball in South Philly.

Things you should do this weekend:
-Attend a Phillies game or two and while there walk up to the second level of Harry the K's, get a beverage and enjoy the view.  Try not to boo too much, unless of course Bobby starts doing his Todd Pinkston impersonation.
-Eat some funnel cake.  (other things that would also work well depending on your locale: water ice, Johnson's popcorn, Kohr Bros. ice cream, Lime Ricky, whatever)
-Listen to Bob Marley, preferably Soul Rebels or Natty Dread.
-Throw something.  A baseball, a football, a frisbee, some dice at the Borgata in Atlantic City, just throw something.
-Don't drink any Corona.  I don't know what it tastes like but it sure doesn't taste like beer.  If you need to resort to a themed beverage at least get something tasty like a pina colada.
-Maybe tailgate for Lax at the Linc.
-BBQ something, anything, just make sure there is lots of red meat involved, preferably bloody.
-Listen to Kool & the Gang (Download mp3) and some Seals and Crofts (myspace).

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."