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April 08, 2017

What they’re saying about the Sixers: Ben Simmons is seven feet tall now?

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Thanks to the magic of the Internet, nothing seems to go by the wayside anymore. Any small sound clip can blow up and become a story, which is what happened this week when Sixers community ambassador World B. Free was honored at a Cleveland Cavaliers game and gave an interview to the Cavs broadcast team.

Thanks to the fine folks Liberty Ballers, it was revealed that Free said top-overall pick Ben Simmons has grown two inches since being drafted by the Sixers:

It seems like Ben Simmons grew about two inches since he’s been here. I told him that the other day, I said Ben, you look like you’ve grown another two inches since you’ve been here.

He’s long, he’s lean, he’s in shape. When I watch him in practice — just in practice — he’s like a baby Magic Johnson. He’s practiced with LeBron, he has worked out with LeBron, so LeBron is probably going to beat him up and make him strong.

WIP’s Jon Johnson reported that Simmons is now just under 7 feet tall. There doesn’t seem to be a major difference between 6’10” and “just under 7’0,” but hey, maybe that explains Simmons’ slow rehab this year from his broken right foot.

Injured basketball players seem to grow a couple of inches in Philadelphia, but regardless of Simmons' late growth spurt, we can confirm that he is still incredibly tall for someone with a point guard’s skillset. That hasn’t changed.

UPDATE: Brett Brown shot down the story before the Sixers game against the Bucks. "I can feel comfortable saying, no, he didn't grow to seven foot. I wished he did."

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

1.    Lottery Odds: In the words of longtime Yankees radio announcer John Sterling, “Lakers win, Lakers win, the Lakersssssss win!”

2.    Father knows best: Brett Brown’s dad, a very accomplished basketball coach in his own right, thinks Dario Saric’s jumper is a little flat. He’s not wrong.

3.    Embiid’s ROY candidacy: Embiid might have been the most impactful NBA rookie in a couple of decades, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to win Rookie of the Year.

4.    Markelle Fultz: The projected top overall pick in the NBA Draft decided to make a drive up I-95 and check out the Sixers. Considering they got blown out by the Nets, I’m going to say that they could have made a better impression.

Other Sixers news, notes and analysis from around the web

The Ringer’s Unreal NBA Ballot: Bill Simmons, The Ringer

Simmons gave the award for “the unicorn of the year,” a pretty competitive category this season, to none other than Joel Embiid:

With apologies to the Freak (don’t worry, I’m voting for him for second-team All-NBA), the Joker (a legit threat to recreate the ’77 Blazers) and the Zinger (who spent the season in Melo-Rose purgatory), I’m voting for Joel Embiid, a 7-foot-2 behemoth with 3-point range who averaged 20 and eight in 25 minutes a game, sent Sixers fans into a Process tizzy, never even cracked the 800-minute mark, then disappeared. Did we imagine it? Did Joel Embiid even exist? That’s a true unicorn — when you don’t even know if it happened.

Pelton's picks for MVP, All-NBA, ROY, DPOY, Sixth Man, more: Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider

Hot Take Alert! Pelton’s Rookie of the Year ballot didn’t include Dario Saric. Instead, he decided to go Malcolm Brogdon, Embiid, and Willy Hernangomez in that order. Here was his explanation:

I was comfortable picking Embiid as Rookie of the Year despite playing just 31 games if he was the rookie who provided the most value. At the time he was hurt, that seemed likely, but Brogdon has provided quality minutes as the Bucks have solidified their playoff spot in the second half of the season. He has doubled Embiid in RPM wins, which makes him my choice.

Nearly all ballots will surely have Embiid's teammate Dario Saric in the top three but even during his strong second half Saric has been more of a volume scorer than an efficient one.

NBA rankings: Which traded players have worked out best, worst? Micah Adams, ESPN Insider

Adams says that Nerlens Noel has basically stayed even since being traded by the Sixers:

Another player who has essentially held serve is Nerlens Noel, who is shouldering the same load in Dallas that he did with the Philadelphia 76ers. According to Basketball-Reference.com's individual offensive and defensive ratings, which estimate points produced while on the floor, Noel has an identical offensive (119) and defensive (102) rating with the Mavericks as he did with the 76ers while sporting a usage rate that has changed by only about half a point. With a calling card as a springy frontcourt player, even Noel's combined steal and block rate is the same now (7 percent) as it was in Philly.

Made-Up Awards For The 2016-17 NBA Season: Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated

Embiid was given the “Post Stalwart of the Year” award, reviving a part of the NBA game that is less and less common due to its lack of efficiency:

Embiid loves to put opponents in the torture chamber; he sells every fake like a man reaching for YouTube immortality. When they don’t bite, he cycles through moves in search of one that might entice them. According to Synergy Sports, Embiid uses more possessions in the post (including shots, turnovers, drawn fouls, and passes) than any other player in the league. He’s not exactly the most efficient (even relative to the low ceiling of post scoring in general), but Embiid’s stabilizing influence for an offense that needed him—along with Philadelphia’s clear lack of proper support and alternatives—excused the cost.

Richaun Holmes Proving He Belongs in Philadelphia 76ers’ Rotation: Bryan Toporek, BBALL BREAKDOWN

The Noel trade still doesn’t feel like the right decision to me, but Holmes’ continued play is making it less of an issue:

With Embiid’s long-term health still a giant 7’2″ question mark, having Holmes locked up through 2018-19 at a paltry $1 million per season is a godsend for the Sixers. They can allocate their copious amount of cap space elsewhere—such as extensions for Embiid and Robert Covington or free agents to help round out their backcourt depth—while banking on Holmes to serve as Embiid’s primary backup.

Though Holmes doesn’t yet profile as an everyday NBA starting center, his head coach is quickly developing faith in his ability to fill an energy role off the bench.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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