STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week’s star goes to three point specialist J.J. Redick. The free agent acquisition put on a show in the first half of Philadelphia’s only game of the week. Redick scored 13 of his 22 points in the first quarter of Philly’s 114 – 103 “L” at the hands of the Boston Celtics. Known as one of the game’s premier shooters, Redick did not miss in the first quarter going 5-for-5.
The London crowd witnessed, at least for a quarter, the 76ers at their very best. As a unit the Sixers shot 57 percent from three in the first quarter and moved the ball to the tune of 66 percent of their made baskets. The second quarter saw similar precision minus the team execution.
The upcoming week features three playoff teams, Redick’s hot hand is a necessity if they plan to compete. With the first half of the season in the rearview mirror growing pains can no longer be the norm for this group. Veterans like J.J. need to be more than shooters if this team is to make the postseason.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
The 76ers are fifth in the league in field goal attempts with 86.8 and 29.5 of those attempts come from the three-point line. That is 34 percent of their shots come from beyond, for those of you keeping score at home. In the offseason the team made a splash by signing former Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick to a lucrative deal. Now is the time for the guard to pay dividends beyond the .500 record the team is currently sporting with him in the line-up.
The 76ers currently rest in ninth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race and as an organization believe they are playoff ready. Such a belief stems from the addition of Redick, among other things. To date Redick has given Philadelphia exactly what they desired. A consistent outside shooter, who is good for two 3-pointers a night on roughly 41 percent totaling 17 points per. What more could anyone expect from a thirty plus guard, playing for his fourth franchise.
The question is will that be enough. As well as the former Duke Blue Devil has played the team is 5 – 9 against the top eight squads in the Eastern Conference. So maybe……………just maybe…………..the organization overvalued the need for shooters and undervalued the need for basketball players.
BEN SIMMONS VS. EVERYBODY
This week’s top rookie performer is Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz! The 13th overall pick continues to be a force for the Utah Jazz. Mitchell erupted for a 35 point performance on the road in Charlotte against the Hornets. The Jazz would lose the contest 99 – 88, but not before No. 45 put on a show netting 22 first half points. For the week the guard went for 24.7 points and shot 93.8 percent from the freethrow line.
Here are some of the other top rookie performers for the week:
ANSWERING THE CALL – A.I.’s ROOKIE YEAR
It has been exactly 20 seasons since Hall-of-Fame guard Allen Iverson first blessed the NBA hardwood and ignited the city of Philadelphia. From the moment the Virginia native donned a Philadelphia 76ers uniform fans everywhere had a feeling Iverson was special and their basketball prayers were finally answered.
The organization struggled mightily through five consecutive losing seasons before selecting the six foot powerhouse out of Georgetown, first overall. It appears the franchise has found another transcendent player, in first year “guard” Ben Simmons. Oddly enough this year’s prized rookie guard hits the court after yet another five consecutive losing seasons.
As spectators enjoy the greatness and infancy stages of Simmons’ career, it is hard to forget the last time Philly had something (or someone) this special to root for. So while we partake in the now, it is impossible to not reminisce the before.
The First and the Fifth
The fifth pick in the 1996 draft, Ray Allen, would square off against Allen Iverson for the second time this season. Unfortunately the results remained the same, as Philly lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 114 – 104. Allen, Ray that is, struggled in the game of rookies shooting 3-for-8 and scoring a pedestrian nine points. Meanwhile A.I. as always was a different story.
Iverson never met a struggle he couldn’t overcome, in life or on the court. A.I. struggled in this game shooting 11-for-29, but overcame that poor shooting to score 31 points. The 76ers never led in this game despite the rookie’s ferocity. It was clear that in order for the first overall selection to get his due respect, he would need to overcome his team’s deficiencies. Something No. 3 was all to equip and eager to do.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: