Tim Legler 'wouldn’t hesitate' to draft Josh Jackson with Sixers' pick

Tim Legler 'wouldn’t hesitate' to draft Josh Jackson with Sixers' pick

If Tim Legler was running the Sixers, there is no question who the club would choose with the third-overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. In fact, Legler would take Kansas guard Josh Jackson second if it had come to that.

“I draft Josh Jackson,” Legler told Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes for 97.5 The Fanatic on Wednesday. “I wouldn’t hesitate. I would draft Josh Jackson at two if I got two.”

The Sixers wound up with No. 3 in the draft lottery on Tuesday, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Yet Legler -- a former NBA player and ESPN analyst for nearly two decades -- believes missing out on the second pick and UCLA guard Lonzo Ball might’ve been the best thing.

That’s a strong statement, considering there isn’t even a consensus on Jackson at three. De’Aaron Fox or Malik Monk out of Kentucky are also getting quite a bit of love there, as is Duke’s Jayson Tatum.

There’s no question the Sixers have options with the pick. Legler insists Jackson is not only the best fit for the team in the immediate future but also, over time, will develop into the perfect complement to Sixers bigs Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

“There’s no question in my mind he’s going to he’s going to develop into a guy that can consistently make shots, even at the NBA three-point line. Maybe not right away, but down the road, he will do that because he’s that hard of a worker.

“I don’t think there’s anybody that wants it more in this draft to be great than Josh Jackson, and he’s a game-changing player defensively. From day one, you’re better if he’s on the floor, because he’s that competitive defensively.”

Legler compares Jackson’s skill set to that of San Antonio Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard. While Leonard didn’t necessarily have a great shot coming out of San Diego State, either -- currently the knock on Jackson – he became a high-percentage mid- and long-range shooter over time.

Jackson not only has the desire to improve and a decent mechanical foundation to work with, but he’s also actually a superior prospect than Leonard was in several other areas.

“He just has that street-fight mentality that the Sixers really need, could use, and he can make shots playing off of Embiid and Simmons, and he’s going to get better as a shooter over the next couple years,” Legler said. “He’s the guy, to me, that is the closest thing that I’ve seen to a Kawhi Leonard-type of player coming into the league because of his two-mentality about the game. He’s not Kawhi offensively now, but if you look at Kawhi offensively his rookie year, you’re going to see a lot of similarities this year, because he’s a phenomenal ball handler and he’s a great passer.

“I’m telling you, Josh Jackson handles the ball and passes the ball right now at a higher level than Kawhi Leonard did coming into the league. There’s no question about it.”

There’s going to be a great deal of debate between now and the draft on June 22, but Jackson should certainly be in the mix. A tireless worker who can already handle the rock, play at both ends and possesses a high basketball IQ is exactly what the Sixers need on the wing right now.

That’s probably not going to convince many people the Sixers are better off picking three than two, but they could do a lot worse than landing the next Kawhi Leonard.

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Even on honeymoon, Jon Dorenbos performs wild magic trick with coin

Magic never stops.

Not even on Jon Dorenbos' honeymoon.

The Eagles' long snapper and magic enthusiast is enjoying picturesque Bora Bora with his wife Annalise.

Still, fresh off his wedding and surrounded by water way too blue, Dorenbos wasn't about to stop entertaining us as he posted this crazy coin trick on his Instagram account.

Bora Bora Magic - I love this move. @apollorobbins showed me this 15 years ago. #honeymoon

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Pretty darn cool — and, seriously, how does he do it?

And don't worry, Dorenbos is clearly having a great time on the honeymoon, not just blowing our minds with cool magic.

Amazing. #honeymoon #paradise

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How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

How Jim Thome got his batting stance thanks to Charlie Manuel and 'The Natural'

If there's anyone in the world I could sit next to for hours and listen to talk about baseball it would be former Phillies manager and World Champion of baseball Charlie Manuel.

Charlie is still very involved in the Phillies organization to this day and we're lucky enough to have 45 minutes of his time talking ball with longtime Phillies scribe Jim Salisbury.

Those two know the Phillies just about as well as anybody, so there's plenty of meat on the bone to chew on. The duo chatted for a recent episode of Sully's "At The Yard" podcast.

The story that caught my ear the most was Charlie's telling of how Jim Thome came to have that somewhat-goofy stance before he hits. It was a timing mechanism that Manuel stumbled upon in the strangest of ways.

This was when both Charlie and Jim were working for a Cleveland Indians' affiliate in the minors. 

"We were playing in Scranton and it was a Phillies triple-A team at the time. I kept thinking of a timing mechanism of some kind, a waggle or something, what Thome could do with his bat where he wouldn't tense up, where it would help him to relax and everything."

"I came into our locker room early," Manuel said. "I didn't let my players turn the TV on after a certain time. I came through the clubhouse that day, they had 'The Natural' on. I told 'em to turn it off. Some of the players said, 'Hey, Charlie, we're watching The Natural can we watch the end of The Natural? I said, 'Not really, what's the rule?'

"I saw Robert Redford standing there pointing the bat with one hand, bringing it back. I looked over at Thome, I said, 'you can finish watching the movie. From now on that's going to be your load.' I took him down in the cage and worked with him. The game started and the Phillies had a left-handed pitcher named [Kyle] Abbott. He was pitching that day. I told Jimmy, 'From now on that's your stance.' He gets up there the first time up, Abbott throws him a breaking ball away and he hit a home run to left center... I mean a longways. He come up the next time he hit another one to right center. I think he had three hits that day."

"That's a true story," Manuel added.

It sounds to good to be true. So we did a little research and Thome has told the same tale on a television special out in Chicago last summer.

"We were in Scranton and I was a guy who held the bat still and would go from a standstill and swing," Thome explained. "(Charlie) was watching The Natural and he saw that (Hobbs) kind of had this little wiggle to his stance, and I remember the day. We went out the next day, we worked early and he said 'Do me a favor and try holding the bat out there (pointing towards the pitcher) and get a little rhythm with your swing.' And from that day I never looked back. The following day we played a doubleheader and I hit two home runs."

You can listen to the whole podcast with Jim Salisbury and Charlie Manuel right here.