STAR OF THE WEEK:
This week’s star goes to J.J. Redick! The VERY well paid free agent acquisition shot a blistering 65 percent (13/ 20) from three for the week. Even through struggles the former Duke Blue Devil progressed. The guard dropped 20-points (2/2 from three) in a 107 – 86 win against the Utah Jazz, but “struggled” from the field going 4-for-11 in a 101 – 81 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite those struggles the high priced marksman went 3-for-6 from the arc.
In his final curtain call of the week J.J. put on a show. Playing against his former Orlando Magic club, a team that only allows 35 percent from downtown, Redick made an astonishing eight three-pointers on 62 percent shooting from deep. The shooter finished with a game high 29 and the Sixers rolled again to a 130 – 111 victory, their third win in a row for the week.
When Philly inked Redick the organization envisioned these types of outputs. The upcoming week features a match-up against the division and conference leading Boston Celtics. The Celtics are not the only formidable opponent the squad will see, both the Cleveland Cavaliers and a surprising Detroit Pistons team come to Philly. As good as J.J. was this week, the stakes are higher and the guard will need to duplicate his play for the Sixers to have a chance t extend their current winning streak.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Not Just a Passing Fancy
It has become trendy for wordsmiths and pundits to discuss the recent passing efficiency of the Philadelphia 76ers, and rightfully so. One attribute that has gone underreported has been Philly’s rebounding dominance. The 76ers currently lead the league in rebounding with 48.8 per clip, and are averaging 51.0 boards per game for the month of November.
What makes this statistic so compelling is the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and these Philadelphia 76ers are the only teams to rank in the top ten in both total rebounds and assists. The aforementioned three teams are a combined 38 – 20, which lends credence to the belief that such production has a direct correlation to winning games.
Rebounding and ball movement are key cogs to success. Being able to not only go get the ball off the glass, but to also be effective in sharing it is consistent on winning teams. The Sixers appear to have a player who habitually plays a winning style of basketball, and that style has permeated throughout the roster.
BEN SIMMONS VS. EVERYBODY
Michael Carter-Williams and Allen Iverson are the only Philadelphia 76ers to win Rookie of the Year honors. While there is no documented rhyme or reason as to how one acquires the prestigious award, a season’s worth of statistical dominance and team success are not a bad place to begin an argument. Keeping with the dominance theme, each week we will examine the top rookie performers in the previous seven day period.
This week’s top rookie performer was Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma. The surprise and steal of the 2017 NBA draft shot 55 percent from three point land, en-route to an 18.7- points and 33.7-minutes per output for the week. The power forward’s seven day period was highlighted by a game high 22-point (4-for-7 from three) performance in a 103 – 94 win against the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers finished the week 2 – 1.
Here are some of the other top rookie performers (statistics are 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 Texas Triangle
The 76ers headed to Texas for a three game road trip and lost all three games. Nevertheless, Iverson put on a show. The trip started in San Antonio against a 2 – 13 woebegone Spurs club. The Sixers’ rookie hoisted 21 shots on his way to 26-points and 11-assists, but Philly would drop the contest 113 – 103.
24 hours later the 76ers would lost another close one, this time to the Dallas Mavericks 106 – 102. A.I. continued to pass the rock well…….too both teams. The lead guard finished up with 11-assists and seven turnovers. In true Iverson fashion, the No. 1 overall pick also netted a game high 36-points to go along with those seven giveaways. A familiar face was waiting for Philly in Houston in former Sixer Charles Barkley. The forward was not very hospitable to his old club though. The Rocket posted 21-points and 10-rebounds helping Houston to a 123 – 108 win. Iverson and crew never led in the game and were paced by the guard’s 36-points (6/13 from three).
Things looked promising prior to hitting the road and after back-to-back wins the idea of a 0 – 3 road trip did not seem possible. This was only the beginning as Philly was on the cusp of a long losing streak.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: