- Sixers forward Mike Scott said some advice from Clippers coach Doc Rivers helped him after he was dealt to Philadelphia last season, Kevin Murphy of The Athletic writes. Scott emerged as a key reserve after he was included in the Tobias Harris blockbuster and earned a two-year, $9.8MM contract in free agency. “I feel I didn’t play well in L.A., and I think for the most part it was on me,” Scott said. “I was still trying to figure it out. When I got here, I said, ‘[The heck with it], I am going to ball-out and try to do what Doc says.’ Do the little things and see what happens.”
Top pick Zion Williamson of the Pelicans is considered the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award by his peers, but he’s not a clear-cut choice. The second pick in the draft, point guard Ja Morant of the Grizzlies, finished a close second in the voting. However, that might not be such a good thing for either player.
For the 11th time in 13 years, John Schuhmann of NBA.com got the opportunity to ask the NBA’s incoming crop of rookies a series of questions related to their fellow draftees.
Historically, the NBA rookies haven’t been soothsayers. They haven’t accurately identified a Rookie of the Year winner since Kevin Durant in 2007/08. Last season, Deandre Ayton and Collin Sexton were considered the co-favorites. Luka Doncic ended up winning the award with Trae Young finishing a solid second.
Here’s some of the highlights from the survey:
- Williamson got 35% of the vote for the Rookie of the Year prize, while Morant received 27% backing. No one else got more than 5%.
- Nuggets second-round pick Bol Bol and Cavaliers’ late first-rounder Kevin Porter Jr. were considered the steals of the draft, with each getting 19% of the vote.
- Two players stood out to their peers as being the best defenders in the draft — the Sixers’ Matisse Thybulle and the Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter. Thybulle collected 37% of the votes in that category, while Hunter received 29% backing.
- By a wide margin, Williamson was chosen as the most athletic rookie, garnering 87% of the votes. Morant was selected as the best ball-handler, receiving 40% of those votes.
- The Heat‘s Tyler Herro (33%) edged out the Kings’ Kyle Guy (29%) as the best shooter.
- LeBron James (38%) got the highest total in the ‘Favorite player in the league’ category with Kevin Durant (20%) finishing second.
Team USA isn’t the only FIBA World Cup nation dealing with last-minute withdrawals. Sixers forward Jonah Bolden has informed the Australian squad that he won’t be participating in the tournament, which starts in 13 days, according to Olgun Uluc of Fox Sports Australia. He cited “personal reasons” for the decision.
Bolden looked good in exhibition play, posting 12 points and five rebounds in Saturday’s win over Canada. His place could be taken by Deng Adel, who signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Nets last month, or Brock Motum, according to Uluc. The Australians are already playing without Ben Simmons, Thon Maker, Ryan Broekhoff and Dante Exum.
“My first thought is always with the player in these situations — having to withdraw from the national team is tough for anyone,” Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis said. “From a team perspective, the timing is sub-optimal, but again, we are very fortunate to have the depth of talent we have in this country available to take up this opportunity. Whilst it can feel like we need to make a quick decision, the most important thing is to bring in the player that best complements the other skill sets we have on the team.”
There’s more World Cup news to pass along:
- Germany has cut Wizards center Moritz Wagner, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. The Germans, whose preliminary roster includes Maxi Kleber, Dennis Schroder, Daniel Theis and Isaac Bonga, still have to get rid of one more player before the tournament begins. Wagner was sent to Washington last month as part of the Anthony Davis trade.
- France trimmed Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot from its World Cup squad, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The free agent forward played for the Thunder and Bulls last season.
- Gregg Popovich only has one cut to make from Team USA, but he expects it to be very difficult, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. The Americans headed to Australia yesterday for a pair of exhibition games with 13 players still on their roster. The final decision is expected to come around August 27. “When you cut people from your regular NBA team, it’s difficult,” Popovich said. “We’re going to have to do that. And it’s going to be even more so. I’m dreading having to do that. But it’s got to get done.”
- Derek Bodner of The Athletic examines the expected battle for backup point guard minutes between Sixers newcomers Raul Neto and Trey Burke. Both veterans signed minimum salary contracts this summer and both will try to fill the void created when T.J. McConnell left for the Pacers. Bodner notes that Burke has received more playing time than Neto over his career, but he has also been on worse teams that offered greater opportunity. He adds that Neto prefers to read the defense on any given play, while Burke tends to seek his own shots.
- Malachi Richardson, who saw infrequent playing time for the Raptors last season, has signed with Hapoel Holon in Israel, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Richardson appeared in 22 games for Toronto before being traded at the deadline to the Sixers, who waived him.
After four seasons in Miami, Josh Richardson finds himself on a new team. The shooting guard was shocked when he first heard about the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade that sent him to Philadelphia. However, after digesting the news, he became excited for the new opportunity, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.
“I mean once it happened and I started looking at everything, it was smooth,” Richardson said. “I got excited once I saw our roster that we’re going to be working with, and I think we’ve got a good chance to come out of the East. And I’m excited to be able to go and play for a contender.”
While Miami appears to be a lock for the playoffs this upcoming season, the Sixers have positioned themselves to make the NBA Finals. Adding Richardson and Al Horford to go with incumbent starters Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris arguably gives Philadelphia the best starting five in the league.
Richardson saw an increase in field goal attempts in each of his four seasons in Miami with last year’s 14.1 shots per game representing his career high. The shooting guard understands that he may see fewer attempts on his new team, but he’s not worried about being deemed the fifth option in Philadelphia.
“It’s not really like that — one through five — that makes no sense,” Richardson said. “It’s not like a certain amount of touches every game. But being able to play with so much talent, it’s exciting. You can’t give one guy too much attention because you have four other guys that can hurt you just as much. Being able to play with guys like Ben and Jo, Tobias, Al is just, I don’t know, I’m excited.”
The signing of Kawhi Leonard and the trade for Paul George helped the Clippers have the league’s best offseason, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic. L.A. added two potential MVP candidates while keeping the core of last year’s playoff team intact and acquiring another rotation piece by trading for Maurice Harkless.
The Nets, who also hit the jackpot in free agency by signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, finished second on Aldridge’s list, followed by the Jazz, Lakers and Sixers. At the bottom are the Hornets, who lost Kemba Walker and replaced him with Terry Rozier, and the Warriors, who not only saw Durant leave, but also parted with Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, two key components of their championship teams.
There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:
- Tony Wroten, whose journey to the EuroLeague we profiled earlier this week, has decided to sign with Anwil Wloclawek in Poland rather than KK Zadar in Croatia, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Wroten, 26, attended a mini-camp with the Wizards in June.
- Lithuanian swingman Rokas Giedraitis turned down multiple opportunities to play in Summer League this year, according to international basketball writer Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link). A few teams considered offering him a two-way deal last year, but he remains “under the NBA radar.” Giedraitis is considered a late bloomer at 27 and is under contract with Alba Berlin for the upcoming season.
- Jason Caffey admits he embraced an irresponsible lifestyle during his time in the NBA, and now he is trying to warn younger athletes not to make the same mistakes, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Caffey believes the choices he made, along with an undiagnosed mental illness, prevented him from having a longer career. Caffey had 10 children with eight women and says watching their success inspired him to change. “When I saw them doing so well — got a son at Alabama and a daughter at Missouri, D1 schools,” he said. “I knew then if I could help my own kids — kids who were pegged to be kids of a guy who’s a deadbeat dad, a guy who’s never going to be anything again — when I overcame that stigma, I knew it was time for me to step out and help other children.”
Former NBA big man Roy Hibbert is transitioning into coaching, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the Sixers have hired Hibbert in a player development coaching role.
A two-time All-Star as a player, Hibbert looked like a franchise cornerstone for the Pacers in the early 2010s, but his production and effectiveness fell off a cliff several years ago. After making stops with the Lakers, Hornets, and Nuggets during his final two NBA seasons, the 7’2″ center hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2016/17 season.
Although he’s still only 32 years old, Hibbert has seemingly given up on the idea of making an NBA comeback, and is now looking to begin his coaching career. He’ll get his start on Brett Brown‘s staff in Philadelphia, which is headlined by assistants Ime Udoka and Jim O’Brien.
The O’Brien connection is worth noting — the current 76ers assistant was Hibbert’s head coach in Indiana during the center’s first three years in the league.
The Sixers have officially signed free agent forward Isaiah Miles to a contract, the team announced today in a press release. While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, it’ll be an Exhibit 10 contract, per Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice (Twitter link).
Miles, who went undrafted out of St. Joe’s in 2016, has played professionally overseas of the last three years. He has spent time with teams in France and Turkey, having played for Limoges CSP in 2018/19. In 50 games (22.9 MPG) for the French club, he averaged 9.6 PPG and 3.7 RPG, knocking down 41.4% of his three-point attempts.
The Sixers have a bit of history with Miles, having added him to their Summer League roster in 2017 and 2018. He played for the Magic’s Summer League team this year, but is now on track to head to camp with Philadelphia.
After signing Miles, the 76ers have just one spot left on their 20-man offseason roster. They have 14 players on guaranteed deals, a pair on two-way contracts, and three on non-guaranteed pacts. As noted above, Miles – the 19th man under contract – will join Trey Burke and Christ Koumadje as players without fully guaranteed salaries.
Team Australia has formally announced its 12-man roster for the 2019 World Cup, and the group features six NBA players.
Aron Baynes (Suns), Joe Ingles (Jazz), Patty Mills (Spurs), Matthew Dellavedova (Cavaliers), and Jonah Bolden (Sixers) are part of the 12-man squad. So is former No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut, who is technically back under contract with the NBL’s Sydney Kings, but was part of the Warriors team that appeared in the NBA Finals this spring.
Australia’s roster is rounded out by NBL players Cameron Gliddon, Chris Goulding, Nathan Sobey, and Nicholas Kay, along with Jock Landale and Xavier Cooks. Landale currently plays for Lithuanian club Zalgiris Kaunas, while Cooks is a member of SIG Strasbourg in France.
Although Team Australia has a strong roster, there are no guarantees that the squad will make a deep run in next month’s event. The Boomers finds themselves in Group H, which features a handful of tough competitors — Lithuania, Canada, and Senegal. Only the top two teams will advance to the second round.