Everything and Also Nothing: What the Joel Embiid news changes about the Sixers' draft plans

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Everything and Also Nothing: What the Joel Embiid news changes about the Sixers' draft plans

It's amazing the swings a team like the Sixers can go through during the draft process while not actualy doing anything themselves. A couple days ago, Sam Hinkie's crew seemed like they were sitting pretty with the #3 pick, in position to potentially get the guy they wanted (Andrew Wiggins) with their own pick and the potential to move around as they saw fit with the knowledge that no matter what, they were gonna be able to get one of the guys they wanted. Today the news came out that projected #1 overall pick had recently suffered a previously undisclosed foot injury. A few hours later, we found out that it was a stress fracture in the navicular bone of his right foot--read here to find out more of what that actually means--and that he's already scheduled for surgery on it. He'll skip his remaining workouts as well as the draft, and we'll see him when we see him. This is terrible news, for Embiid more than anyone, who could lose untold millions as a result of his falling draft position, not to mention the consequences it will have for his NBA career if the issues turn out to be chronic. With a combination of back and foot concerns, it now seems like the term "injury-prone" will become a permanent fixture of Embiid's player profile, and any team that drafts him will have to spend the next several years (if not far longer) holding their breath over health concerns. But of course, we want to know how this affects the Sixers, and the answer is this: It affects them tremendously, and it also doesn't affect them at all. It affects them tremendously because there's now one fewer player at the top of this draft that teams would consider using a top pick on, which means the Sixers' options themselves are now limited as a result at #3. If not Embiid at #1 to the Cavaliers as previously projected by many, it should be Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, and then Milwaukee will be set to take the other one at #2. We thought there were at least three can't-miss dudes at the very top of this draft and at #3 we would be ensured one of them, and now there may be only two. That blows. But this line of thinking assumes a lot that, at this point, isn't really assumable. We assume that the Cavs and Bucks will take Parker and Wiggins between them, but we don't know that. Aussie point Dante Exum could be in play--the Cavs are even planning on working him out ASAP--for either team, leaving Parker or Wiggins to drop. Hell, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart could make a late rise up draft boards, or measurement marvel Noah Vonleh of Indinaa could become a consideration. We don't know. We also assume that the Sixers definitely want Wiggins, or at the very least Parker, to be there for them at #3. Maybe, maybe not. Exum has been as tied to Philly as much as anybody these last few weeks, and it's possible that he's been the target for them all along. Aaron Gordon could be in play. A trade up or down might have been in the cards all along. We don't know nearly as much as we think we do about the Hinkie's intentions, or his ongoing machinations. It also assumes that Embiid is now a 100% dead issue for all teams discussed. That, I truly believe, could not be much further from the truth. Foot injuries are severe and extremely concerning, but they are not a death sentence. Embiid could still end up being the best, most valuable player in this class, and trust me when I say that no team has or will completely write off the possibility of still taking him, regardless of draft position. And that's the Sixers least of all. You're going to see a lot of people over the next week saying things like "The Sixers can't take a guy who might not ever be healthy at #3." They're going to mention names like Greg Oden and (of course) Andrew Bynum. They're going to insist that the Sixers need to get something out of this pick, out of this draft, and that the fanbase won't stand for drafting a player who, like Nerlens Noel this year, probably won't end up playing a second his rookie season. Sam Hinkie will read these statements, and he will laugh. Actually, that's a lie--he won't be reading them at all. He'll be busy doing risk analysis, watching video, consulting medical experts, putting spy cameras in hospital rooms, figuring out what the f--- this team is gonna do if Joel Embiid is available for drafting at #3. He will not be considering the fans' patience in this. He will not be considering how it might look if the Sixers take an injury-prone big man after getting burned so badly by another one two seasons ago. He will not just be shrugging off a guy with Hall-of-Fame potential because "nah, don't wanna risk it." He'll make a decision based on what he sees as best for the long-term health of this franchise, and whatever it ends up, we are just gonna have to deal. Will it be a bummer if, again, we land a high-upside big man in the draft and have to wait another year to actually watch him play? Of course, but it won't be a tragedy. We'll still have MCW, the first year of Noel, whoever we get at #10, and lord even knows who else--Adrian Wojnarowski reported today that the Sixers are looking to add a third lottery pick, surprise surprise. We'll live. If Joel Embiid ends up being half as good as he could end up being, we'll live. We're not definitely going to draft Embiid. We're not definitely not going to draft Embiid. Embiid won't definitely fall to us. As much as things appear to have changed in this draft in the last 24 hours, the central tenet remains true: Nobody knows f---ing anything. All we can do is wait until next Thursday, have our brains blown by the proceedings, and spend the four months until the season starts again trying to piece together what the hell happened.

Phillies to host Grateful Dead Tribute Night in August with sweet tie-dye T-shirt giveaway

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Phillies to host Grateful Dead Tribute Night in August with sweet tie-dye T-shirt giveaway

The 2016 Philadelphia Phillies season has felt a bit like they're just going down the road feeling bad and when they're at home, Citizens Bank Park has felt a bit like a brokedown palace, so it's fitting they're hosting a Grateful Dead Tribute Night in August.

Not sure what kind of antics are planned for the night but I'm hopping it includes a skit where the Phanatic dances on top of the dugout with his new best friend Lucifer. 

Grateful Dead night at CBP will take place on Tuesday, August 2nd when the Phils host the San Francisco Giants.

"The first 1,500 fans who purchase tickets through this promotion will receive a coupon for an exclusive Phillies Grateful Dead T-shirt giveaway," says the Phillies website. "In addition, $4 from each ticket sold for this event will benefit the Rex Foundation."

The Phillies have struggled heading into the July trade deadline, but hopefully help is on the way in the form of young prospects like Jake Thompson and J.P. Crawford.

Dion Waiters signed elsewhere, Sixers fans almost out of bullets to dodge

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Dion Waiters signed elsewhere, Sixers fans almost out of bullets to dodge

Ah, was it only a month ago that we feared signing up for $60-$80 million worth of Dion Waiters, a player who has barely (and rarely) scraped the surface of "good" over his four-year NBA career? A classic "Philly Guy" — which really makes you hope for an eventual reevaluation of our home city's cultural priorities — the perennially over-confident Syracuse swingman had been regularly (if erroneously) linked to the Sixers for the majority of his pro career, and the rumor mill began churning again this offseason, with the Sixers one of several teams linked to the free agent. Chances seemed at least decent that we would wake up to an Instagram of Waiters at Geno's signing his new contract in cheese wiz — one of those four-year, $70 million-type deals NBA teams seem to be giving out to middling players like complementary after-dinner mints this summer. 

Well, turns out the Sixers didn't have any interest in giving Dion Waiters that kind of money, and neither did anybody else. Neon Dion ended up signing with the Miami Heat for a blockbusting two years and $6 million dollars, and Sixers nation breathed a collective typhoon of relief. Short of trading Jahlil Okafor for every Boston Celtic under the age of 25, this was just about the best news the Colangelos could offer us at this point in the offseason. 

And speaking of: It might — might — now finally be safe to say that the Colangelos aren't as dumb as we feared. With Dion off the board, there just aren't any free agents left to worry about the Sixers overpaying. Well, J.R. Smith technically, but the chances of him leaving Cleveland for Philadelphia under any circumstances are even worse than him being the starting two-guard on a championship team to begin with. (And technically of technicalliest, LeBron James too, but we could give him all our remaining cap space and half the Liberty Bell to boot and he'd still be dramatically underpaid.) 

Anyway, point is: We've worried since the Colangelo clan took over that they would make one dramatically dumb move to hamstring this team in the name of Winning Now-ish, and it would look silly in the short term and be absolutely befuddling in the long-term. The Sixers have even been attached to a couple such deals in reports from NBA experts, deals that had them offering Nerlens Noel and further bounty for the No. 5 pick, or offering absurd free-agent dollars to Jamal Crawford, or being in the mix for ol' DW. Maybe there was truth to some or all of it, but the more rumored deals that sizzle-then-fizzle, the less likely it seems that any of them were ever actually going to come to fruition. 

Dion may represent the smoking gun. Here's a player, that as final evidence would suggest, the Sixers could have had virtually uncontested at any point this offseason — a player that ended up signing a two-year make-good deal for what essentially amounts to the veteran's minimum. Forget four years, $80 million, the Sixers could've offered eight mil for one and Dion probably woulda lunged at the opportunity. (Sure, there are market benefits that might've given Miami a competitive edge, but South Beach ain't what it used to be: With Dwyane Wade gone to Chicago and Chris Bosh unsure to ever even play again, the Heat are only predicted by ESPN to finish two spots ahead of Philly in the East next season.) There's really no conclusion to be reached except that the Sixers were never actually that interested in signing Waiters in the first place. 

So, offseason crisis averted, time to rest easy as we count the days to most exciting Sixers training camp in franchise history? Perhaps, but there is still one shoe left to drop: The Sixers are all but pot-committed to trading one of Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor before the season proper finally tips off. It's mostly encouraging that the Colangelos have waited this long; they said that they weren't going to jump at an early deal that wasn't the right deal, and so far their patience has borne their words out. But as the summer begins to peter out and teams begin talking themselves into the roster they already have — while urgency increases for Philly to make a deal before their opening-night lineup is bottlenecked with blue-chip bigs — a desperation trade certainly isn't out of the question just yet. 

Still, after a month of respectable draft choices, measured free-agent signings, and zero totally thoughtless panic moves (even if they tried unsuccessfully to make one or two) it's getting on time to start giving the Sixers' new front office the benefit of the doubt. It'll never feel quite as safe as we did with Our Once and Future Dark Lord — and the overflow of assets Hinkie equipped Jerry and Bryan with will be all the body armor they really need anyway — but we need no longer fear for our lives with every passing Woj Bomb, and we just might be able to root for the Sons of Sam next year without being constantly interrupted by pangs of crippling regret. Not having to watch Dion Waiters jump and shout for the ball so he can jack a contested 20-foot fadeaway is a pretty good start.

The Daily Show has a weird obsession with the Phillie Phanatic

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Daily Show Instagram

The Daily Show has a weird obsession with the Phillie Phanatic

Welcome America! The 2016 Democratic National Convention rolls into Philadelphia today and that means the national media's spotlight is squarely on our beautiful and angry city.

It also means thousands of media types will descend onto Philadelphia to sample our cheesesteaks and ... I'm not sure what else, maybe check out Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

The Daily Show took this opportunity to show their love -- and totally normal obsession - with the Phillie Phanatic.

So kudos to the Daily Show for being the leader in the clubhouse of DNC peeps pandering to Philadelphians. This is solid.

Watch out, Philadelphia. @desilydic has a dark secret... #DNCinPHI #Phanatic

A video posted by The Daily Show (@thedailyshow) on