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February 10, 2017

Sixers Mailbag: Who is going to be Philly’s biggest celebrity fan?

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Another week, another great batch of questions that I really, really appreciate. 

Let’s get to the hard-hitting ones first…


No, and I’d like to emphasize that Blake Griffin is an incredible player. The Sixers front office is probably looking for more of an off-ball wing/guard threat next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but more importantly, this core is probably a few years away from trying to win big.

Sure, but things have changed a bit. Rest and rehab are now treated much more carefully, and the news cycle is a wee little bit faster (“BRETT BROWN SAYS SIMMONS IS 70 PERCENT OF THE WAY THERE, UP FROM 67”).

It’s a difficult balancing act. Remember how many “non-update updates” Tony DiLeo gave during that disastrous Andrew Bynum season? That sure didn’t help. The Sixers are clearly being cautious with Embiid (with the one misstep against Houston) and Simmons, which obviously means more time to explain away. Brown did give detailed updates on progress Simmons was making until a few weeks ago.

I’m not saying that you’re wrong, either. And while we’re going to keep asking plenty questions about Simmons and Embiid’s health, the Sixers’ unique situation does put them in a position to look worse than the average team when we do get these clumsy answers.

By the way, here is what Bryan Colangelo said on the radio yesterday about this question:

Good question, and for the record, I was thinking about this months ago. What M. Night is doing, staking out his claim on the exact Jack Nicholson seats while the Sixers are still losing a bunch of games, is flat-out genius:

The good thing about Shyamalan is that he seems like a real fan, and more importantly, I believe he lives in the area. Availability is one of the most important factors at play because Los Angeles is so far away. If M. Night can keep this up, I feel like those seats should be his.

As long as he isn’t working, you would have to imagine Kevin Hart is going to be a major part of finals games, too. He could even have a Spike Lee impact in terms of jawing with opposing players:

Meek Mill has been to a bunch of Sixers games, although Nicki Minaj is now out of the picture. You know that Allen Iverson will be there. Questlove (all of The Roots, actually) and Bradley Cooper are some other names that could pop up.

And, you know, Will Smith owns a little bit of the team and has a nice little baseline seat whenever he wants it. He’ll probably bring Jazzy Jeff with him, too.

Well, he has said multiple times, “I’m not going to make a bad trade.”

I guess my question to that line of thinking is this: What if a “bad trade” is the best you can do? What if taking a loss on one deal allows you the flexibility to win much larger on a more important transaction? I have no idea if Colangelo is aware of the fan base, but he shouldn’t care about anything but doing the moves he feels are necessary to make this team a title contender for multiple years down the road.

Yep. The shot still needs a ton of work (even though he’s quietly up to 36 percent on 3s), but give me this defense and everything else he does:

I envision Saric more as a playmaking-4 that runs pick-and-pops at the top of the key and then shoots the three or keeps the ball moving. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a more positionless pairing with Simmons where he’d technically be the 3.

Per 82 Games, Saric has played over 80 percent of his minutes at 4 this season. The team has actually performed better in the few minutes he’s played small forward. I don’t know if it’s best for his development, but a few minutes here and there at 3 doesn’t strike me as a huge deal. Remember that while Saric is making an adjustment, a player with so much professional basketball experience should theoretically need to develop less as an individual player than a one-and-done college guy.

Hard to say when you don’t know what is available, but moving Jahlil Okafor for the best offer makes a lot of sense to me.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann