Opening Statements: Wizards at 76ers, Game 59
Tonight is the final meeting between Washington and their closest-in-proximity NBA foe, the Atlantic Division’s Philadelphia 76ers. It also happens to be the night of Allen Iverson’s jersey retirement. As CSN’s Chris Miller points out on Twitter, both John Wall and Bradley Beal will be hype to play in front of their childhood basketball idol this evening… Let’s hope that they both don’t try to channel Iverson’s basketball spirit too much.
After embarrassingly losing to Philly in their home opener, the Wizards have owned the last two meetings. Washington has also allowed the Sixers to score 103.3 points per game over the three contests, while allowing all opponents to score 99.7 points per game. Defending without Nene matters as much as ever.
Teams: Wizards at 76ers
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Radio: WFED-AM 1500/THE FAN-FM 106.7
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 11.5 points.
Wizards tickets … anyone?
Click to get them served up for cheap via TiqIQ and TAI.
Q #1: Clean slate experience, tell us about #MaynorTime.
@ericgoldwein: So far, so good. He went 0-for-5 with three turnovers in his debut against the Bucks, then followed that up with a 5-for-6 night against the Magic. NBA Twitter has me convinced that Maynor is the NBA’s worst point guard, so this seems like a win-win for the tanking Sixers. If he pans out, great. If not, even better.
Q #2: Earl Clark, Henry Sims, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens, six second-round picks, and a bought-out Danny Granger… Is that the most active but disappointing trade deadline ever for the Sixers (or any team)? (And am I getting all that right?)
@ericgoldwein: Active-but-disappointing is an apt description. There were a ton of moving parts, and on paper/in reality, the Sixers gave up more than they received. Though Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes are far from All-Star caliber players, they’re both (Turner, arguably) rotation-level NBA players that could swing a game in the postseason. Second-round picks are better than nothing, but let’s not kid ourselves; they’re second-round picks. They rarely pan out.
Not that they could have gotten much more.
Q #3: Your favorite Allen Iverson memory.
@ericgoldwein: His step over Tyrone Lue in the 2001 finals. He scored seven of his 48 points in overtime that night as the Sixers went on to steal Game 1 against the Lakers. That was Allen Iverson at his best.
Q #4: What is your percentage of optimism for the Sixers’ future?
(100 percent being the most optimistic and factoring current players, future players (draft picks), player development and coaching, front office/ownership, and fans/arena/atmosphere.)
For reference, the TAI staff ran an optimism index in mid-February across those categories, and collectively, we were 51 percent optimistic about the current state of the franchise—I somehow turned out the most optimistic at 64 percent.
@ericgoldwein: Seventy-six percent. With Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, a couple sweet 2014 draft picks (Philly gets New Orleans’ pick if it lands outside the top five), and about seven third-tier prospects, the Sixers have a solid foundation. They’re in good hands with Sam Hinkie sitting in the GM chair. And cap-wise, they’re in fantastic shape.
That said, there’s still a great deal of uncertainty. Can Michael Carter-Williams learn how to shoot? Is Nerlens Noel for real? Will next year’s picks pan out? The Sixers successfully completed step one of the rebuild: tearing it down. Now comes the hard part.