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Sixers sign guard Scottie Wilbekin

Sixers sign guard Scottie Wilbekin

The Philadelphia 76ers have signed guard Scottie Wilbekin.

Wilbekin was eligible for the 2014 NBA Draft following a standout career at Florida. As a senior, he was named SEC Player of the Year and earned Third Team All-America by the Associated Press. Wilbekin was also a two-time SEC All-Defensive selection and finished his career with 167 steals.

Last season, Wilbekin played 32 games for Cairns Taipans of the Australian National Basketball League and was named the club’s MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named First Team All-NBL after averaging 15 points, four assists, four rebounds and one steal per game with the Taipans. He later joined AEK Athens of the Greek Basket League, averaging eight points and four assists in nine games played.

Wilbekin competed for the Sixers in the 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League and the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, where he finished second on the team in scoring with 14 points per game and averaged three 3-pointers made per game.

Sixers sign guard Pierre Jackson

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced they have signed guard Pierre Jackson.

Jackson (5-10, 180) was originally the 42nd overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2013 NBA Draft before his rights were traded to New Orleans along with Jrue Holiday in exchange for the rights to Nerlens Noel and what turned out to be the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. During the 2014 NBA Draft, Jackson’s rights were traded back to the Sixers in exchange for the rights to Russ Smith, who was the 47th overall pick that year.

The Las Vegas native returned to action this summer, playing for Philadelphia in the NBA Summer League and is currently averaging 12 points while shooting 50% from 3-point range.

During the 2013-14 season, Jackson played for the Idaho Stampede in the NBA Development League and averaged 29.1 points, 6.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals. He was named a D-League All-Star and scored a league-record 58 points against Texas on Feb. 4, 2014.

Jackson spent his final two collegiate seasons at Baylor, after beginning his career at the College of Southern Idaho. He was named First Team All-Big-12 as a junior and a senior and set a school record with 712 total points in his final season.

Joel Embiid injury run continues: out for 2015-16 NBA season

The following is a statement from Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie:

“As we previously communicated, we have spent the last several weeks working closely with Joel and his representatives to further evaluate Joel’s foot following the results of the most recent CT scan. This included conference calls and in-person visits with renowned foot and ankle specialists from the United States (New York, North Carolina, Colorado, California and Pennsylvania) and internationally (Australia, the Netherlands and Qatar). This group of experts unanimously agreed that the routine CT scan in June did reveal less healing than anticipated, an unexpected result since Joel was not experiencing any foot pain.

“We have been consistent in our philosophy that our focus will be Joel’s long-term health and wellness to ensure he will have a long and impactful career in the NBA. After receiving the input of the aforementioned medical experts, as well as conversations with Joel and his representatives, there was careful consideration given to a number of options related to this particular situation. A collective decision has been made that the best approach to promote full healing would be to proceed with a bone graft of the fracture site. We anticipate the procedure will take place in the next 7-10 days and result in Joel missing the upcoming season.

“We are still in the process of determining the doctor who will perform the procedure, which should be finalized in the coming days. Sixers Director of Performance Research and Development Dr. David T. Martin will outline and lead Joel’s rehab and recovery plan, in collaboration with a worldwide network of experts and specialists.”

Joel Embiid may miss the 2015-16 season

The Philadelphia 76ers are on a pretty in-depth rebuilding plan, to the point of drafting a successful point guard in Michael Carter-Williams, only to trade him away because he was good and often very good but not definitely a great. But now there’s another setback. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer blog reporting:

Report: Joel Embiid may miss the 2015-16 season

The 7-footer will have a second surgery after the latest setback in the healing of his right foot, according to several NBA sources. The team will decide whether to have it in North Carolina or at the New York Hospital of Special Surgery

“I would say there’s a great possibility that Embiid won’t play next year,” the source said. “Just think how long they sat him when they thought he was healthy.”

The Sixers are planning as if Embiid won’t play this season, sources say. Another source said the franchise is concerned that this setback could be career-threatening.

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that the team has hired Todd Wright as Assistant Coach, Head of Strength and Conditioning. Wright brings with him 21 years of experience and is widely recognized within the field for his ability to develop players using innovative basketball-specific strength and conditioning techniques.

“We feel fortunate to now call Todd Wright a Sixer,” said President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie. “His reputation as a trainer of basketball players is second to none. His values and his ability to form genuine, lasting relationships with athletes to help them achieve their goals are both heavily aligned with our organization and with our player development in Philadelphia. When it became clear that the University of Texas was to make a change in their men’s basketball program, I booked a flight to Austin within 10 minutes.”

Prior to joining the Sixers, Wright was the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team for 14 seasons, during which time he supervised the development of 16 players selected in the NBA Draft, six All-Americans and two recipients of the prestigious Wooden Award as the national player of the year. During his 21 years at the collegiate level with the University of Texas and Clemson University, Wright participated in 19 NCAA tournaments, including 17 consecutive appearances between the two schools.

Wright is also a well-respected speaker in the field of strength and conditioning, having presented on the subject of “Vertical Core Training,” which he developed. Many of Wright’s unique training methodologies have been nationally recognized in numerous publications. He is also a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a Fellow of Applied Functional Science.

“Our additions of Dr. David T. Martin and Todd Wright are further evidence of our desire to be considered world class in the fields of sport science and athletic performance. Our players invest enormous amounts of time into their individual games and their bodies, and we hope to provide them every opportunity to become strong and resilient, to maximize their playing potential, and to lengthen their careers,” Hinkie said.

Jesse Wright, the Sixers previous Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, was integral in the worldwide search and recruitment of Martin and the recruitment of Todd Wright to join the Sixers. Jesse Wright has been elevated to a newly created performance science position. In his new role, he will work closely with Martin and Todd Wright, with a focus on implementing the newest training, fitness, and recovery initiatives.

Sixers second-rounders hope to prove they belong

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the life of players who have been drafted but must still prove themselves worthy of being kept around:

For Richaun Holmes and Jean-Pierre Tokoto, being second-round selections of the 76ers translates to great opportunities.

That’s because the duo realize they could get meaningful minutes in what will be the franchise’s third consecutive rebuilding season.

Since Sam Hinkie was hired as general manager in May 2013, the Sixers have been focused on player development, evaluating talent and developing a culture. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a lottery pick, second-rounder or undrafted rookie free agent. If you secure a roster spot, you’re mostly going to play.

“I know, personally, I’m thankful for the opportunity the Sixers are giving me to play,” said Tokoto, who was selected 58th out of North Carolina in Thursday night’s draft in Brooklyn. “They’re very big on development. Coming into the league, you know rookies are trying to prove themselves. Coming in as a second-round pick, I have a lot to prove and a lot to work on.

“It’s the perfect situation to be in as far as that’s concerned.”

Sixers 2015 draft results

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today the team has selected the following players in the 2015 NBA Draft: Jahlil Okafor with the 3rd overall pick, Richaun Holmes with the 37th overall pick, Arturas Gudaitis with the 47th overall pick, J.P. Tokoto with the 58th overall pick and Luka Mitrovic with the 60th overall pick. Additionally, the Sixers acquired the rights to the New York Knicks two future second round picks in exchange for the rights to the 35th pick.

The 6′11″, 272 pound Okafor was an early entry candidate for the NBA Draft following a standout freshman season at Duke, during which he helped lead the Blue Devils to a 35-4 mark and the NCAA Championship. The 19-year-old Okafor averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 blocks, and was selected as a consensus First Team All-American. Additionally, he was named the 2015 ACC Player of the Year and the USBWA 2015 National Freshman of the year, while also being selected as a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith National Player of the Year awards. Okafor is also a three-time gold medal winner while playing for Team USA during the 2011 Under 16 FIBA Americas, the 2012 Under 17 World Championships and the 2013 Under 19 World Championships.

Holmes was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year for Bowling Green after the 2014-15 season, in addition to a First Team All-MAC selection. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks as a senior and recorded 244 career blocks to top the Falcons’ all-time list.

Gudaitis played for Zalgiris in Lithuania’s LKL league in 2014-15, where he averaged 8.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 57 total games, which included 21 starts. The 6’10” forward has spent the past three seasons in the Zalgiris organization.

Tokoto spent three seasons at North Carolina, where he averaged 8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game as a junior in 2014-15. The 6-foot-6 wing was selected First Team All-ACC Defensive Team for two consecutive seasons.

Mitrovic averaged 9.7 points and 5.7 rebounds for Crvena Zvezda during the 2014-15 season, where the team won the Adriatic ABA League title. The 6-foot-8 forward spent three seasons with Crvena Zvezda, where he played in 75 games in 2014-15, which included 60 starts.

Sixers draft Jahlil Okafor No. 2 overall

Sixers draft Jahlil Okafor No. 2 overall

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the 2015 NBA Draft:

Sixers draft Jahlil Okafor No. 2 overall

The 76ers took the best available player, who just happens to be another towering post player.

The team selected Duke center Jahlil Okafor with the third pick in the NBA draft Thursday night at the Barclays Center at Brooklyn.

The Sixers were expected to take Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell in that spot. But they settled on Okafor after Russell went second overall to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Okafor is a 7-foot, 275-pound man-child with an imposing presence on the blocks.

Joel Embiid health update on his injured foot

Joel Embiid health update

Bad Philadelphia 76ers news has emerged tonight. The team, which openly spent the past few seasons rebuilding, has a lot of hopes and dreams resting on the shoulders of Nerlens Noel (seems good but not great just yet), Joel Embiid (has not played yet and spent entire rookie season injured) and other players that don’t exist yet because they’re in the form of draft picks. And now a key member of that list is not healing as quickly as hoped.

The following is a statement from Sixers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie, regarding center Joel Embiid:

“As part of the conservative approach focused on the long-term health, recovery and care of Joel, we have been closely monitoring his progress, regularly evaluating his status and adjusting our plans accordingly.

“Recently, Joel and Sixers personnel traveled to Los Angeles for a series of routine exams with a number of physicians who have been actively involved throughout this process. During his visit with Dr. Richard Ferkel, a standard CT scan on Joel’s right foot revealed less healing than anticipated at this point.

“Our priority remains providing Joel with every opportunity to ensure he has a long and successful NBA career, and as such, these findings cause us to pause and reassess his current activities. Together with Joel and his representatives, we will continue to consult with the experienced team of doctors who have been an integral part of his evaluations, while also engaging in dialogue with a broader set of experts and specialists.

“Discussions regarding the appropriate next steps are currently ongoing and we will share an update once it becomes available.”

It’s always a huge deal when a team changes their uniform design. It’s a huge part of a team’s identity. It affects fan mood, and in the case of more fair-weather fans can affect loyalty to a certain degree. And then of course there’s that whole marketing and sales thing. Every fan wants their squad’s uniform to look cool. Sponsors who support the team or arena in some way presumably feel the same way.

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced details for the public reveal of the team’s new uniforms on Thursday, June 18 at a special event held at the Sixers’ home arena (3601 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148) beginning at 7:00pm, with free admission for all fans. The uniform will make its in-game debut at the beginning of the 2015-16 season.

“In creating a new uniform, we wanted a clean, modern style that would also honor our past,” said Sixers Chief Executive Officer Scott O’Neil. “These designs integrate key elements of uniforms worn by legends Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and Billy Cunningham, and bring them together in one seamless presentation. The uniform reflects another key element of our updated brand identity reflecting a spirit of strength and patriotism which we cannot wait to share with our fans.”

The event’s guest list includes Sixers legends Billy Cunningham, Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones and Allen Iverson and special guest Barbara Chamberlain-Lewis, sister of the late Wilt Chamberlain, in addition to current Sixers players and staff.

**QUOTES FROM SIXERS LEGENDS ON THE SIXERS’ NEW UNIFORMS**

Julius “Dr. J” Erving: “When I joined the Sixers in 1976, we were the marquee team in the league, the one fans around the league wanted to see in person. It’s great seeing this new generation of Sixers come together, and I hope they will be as inspired and proud to wear this new uniform – which shares elements from my first year as well as the ’83 championship team – as I was during my time in the wonderful city of Philadelphia.”

Billy Cunningham: “These will be special uniforms that honor three specific time periods in Sixers history. As someone who helped design the 76-77 uniforms, I am excited that there will be hallmark elements from that era incorporated in the 2015 uniforms. Fans will love how they pay homage to the past while celebrating a new era of Sixers basketball.”

With the NBA Draft around one month away, teams are conducting pre-draft workouts as they evaluate who to select. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer blog reporting:

Former Delaware State post player Kendall Gray and former Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell are working out for the 76ers on Friday.

Gray and Alan Williams of UC Santa Barbara were the NCAA Division I rebounding co-leaders (11.8 per game) in the NCAA Division I. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Gray also averaged 11.7 points, 2.8 blocks and 1 assist en route to being named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference player of the year.

New Philadelphia 76ers team logo

The Philadelphia 76ers today unveiled an updated brand identity, which includes a redesigned primary logo and a series of partial and secondary logo variations in advance of the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 19 and the introduction of new uniforms on Thursday, June 18.

The logo set is effective immediately and updates the iconic Sixers design through the incorporation of new and traditionally significant elements:

New Philadelphia 76ers team logo

The team’s new primary logo is a modern interpretation of the classic Sixers insignia, stylistically redeveloped to include a patriotic blue border with six white stars and “PHILADELPHIA” adorned across the heading. The familiar white basketball has been visually updated with a positional rotation of the seams. The emblematic ring of 13 stars present in the primary, partial and secondary logos continues to represent the original American Colonies.

Fan discussion here: New Sixers logo

Brett Brown thinks Joel Embiid will play in 2015 summer league

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the Sixers, who are hoping to eventually get big things from center Joel Embiid once he’s healthy enough to begin his pro basketball career. But first, summer league action would be a nice start:

Brett Brown thinks Joel Embiid will play in 2015 summer league

Brett Brown said he “personally” would be disappointed if Joel Embiid didn’t play in the summer league.

“Personally, I expect him to play in the summer league,” Brown said. “But if I guessed any of this wrong, I want to make sure that the club is on record not being definitive. We are not in the position to say that now.”

Brown raised a few eyebrows Wednesday when he would not commit on whether the 7-foot rookie center would play this summer.

Sixers putting up some wins lately

Sixers putting up some wins lately

The Philadelphia 76ers are 18-54 in this season of rebuild, but have played decent basketball lately and put up some wins. But challenging opponents are ahead. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting:

The 76ers know the real tests are coming.

They’ve won five of their last 10 games, but one of those wins came against an Atlanta Hawks squad that rested three starters. The other four victories were vs. opponents that had a combined winning percentage of .328 heading into Thursday’s games.

The Sixers (18-54) have made dramatic improvements since opening the season with 17 consecutive losses. But the upcoming games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers will be a true barometer of how far they’ve come.

The Clippers (47-25), who have won five straight and come to the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night, might be the Sixers’ easier matchup. On Sunday, they’ll face a Cavaliers squad (47-26) than has won 10 of its last 12 games.

Joel Embiid is wearing a walking boot again

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on injured 76ers rookie Joel Embiid:

Joel Embiid is wearing a walking boot again

Brett Brown wants folks to relax.

The 76ers coach confirmed Tuesday that Joel Embiid is once again in a walking boot. Brown added that the rookie center is just experiencing “soreness” in his right foot, and that Embiid’s doctor’s visit Tuesday in Los Angeles was long scheduled.

“People shouldn’t overreact,” Brown said after practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I get why we all can. But it’s not a situation all the people need to overact to.”

A report Monday stated that Embiid had a “minor setback” and apparently was wearing a walking boot. The rookie, who has yet to play, was in California on Tuesday for the doctor’s appointment.

Sixers waive JaVale McGee

Sixers waive JaVale McGee

Sixers waive JaVale McGee

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today the team waived JaVale McGee prior to midnight on Mar. 1, making him eligible to join a postseason roster.

The Sixers originally acquired McGee and Oklahoma City’s protected 2015 first-round pick from Denver on Feb. 19, 2015.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “JaVale McGee was able to keep all of his money. The former 76ers big man was opposed to being bought out, because that wouldn’t enable him to receive his full salary. So the Sixers agreed to waive the 7-footer Sunday night after a 94-74 setback to the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldnouse.”

Wizards keep struggling, fall to Sixers

Wizards keep struggling, fall to Sixers

Here’s the Washington Post reporting on the Wizards, who are dropping games left and right these days and are 33-26 for the season and losers of six games in a row:

No, the Washington Wizards had not reached their lowest possible point Wednesday, when they lost by 20 to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the worst team in the Western Conference.

On Friday night, the Wizards sank even more with an 89-81 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, a franchise constructed to lose to land the best draft pick possible.

The loss, the Wizards’ sixth straight, earned Washington its longest losing streak in more than two seasons and was a full face plant into misery, code red for a team that just a month ago harbored title aspirations.

The defeat came on the heels of a team dinner Thursday, when all 14 players dined together at a Brazilian steakhouse. It was captured in an Instagram post by Marcin Gortat with the caption “Team dinner….Staying together!”

A night later, they were dreadful in a loss to a team they dismantled by 35 points in their previous meeting. The loss was Wizards’ 11th in 13 games and 13th in 17.

Sixers add Thomas Robinson, release Tim Frazier

Sixers add Thomas Robinson, release Tim Frazier

The Brooklyn Nets had reportedly planned to sign forward Thomas Robinson once he cleared waivers. But the Philadelphia 76ers decided not to let that happen.

The Sixers announced today the team has claimed forward Thomas Robinson off of waivers.

Robinson has appeared in 172 career games in three NBA seasons and has posted averages of five points and four rebounds in 14 minutes per game. He was selected fifth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft after a junior season in which he was named Big 12 Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All-American.

In a related move, the team has released Tim Frazier from his second 10-day contract.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “the Sixers picked Robinson up as a way to get an up-close look at him to see if he fits in their long-term plans The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder out of Kansas was the fifth overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2012 NBA draft. Robinson was traded to the Houston Rockets on Feb. 20, 2013 and then to the Blazers on July 10, 2013. He averaged 4.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 172 games played.”

JaVale McGee hopes to stay with Sixers

JaVale McGee hopes to stay with Sixers

New Philadelphia 76ers center JaVale McGee has averaged 8.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game over his NBA career, though he’s received little playing time this season and hasn’t contributed much. But that was on the Denver Nuggets. There’s room for him to step up at least a little on the very-rebuilding Sixers, if given a shot. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting:

JaVale McGee hopes to stay with Sixers

Center JaVale McGee wants to remain with the 76ers for the rest of the season and beyond.

The Sixers, at least for the time being, are committed to giving him every opportunity to do just that.

“We are coming into this whole thing with an open mind,” coach Brett Brown said Sunday after the team’s morning shootaround at the Amway Center. “He is around a bunch of genuine people, coaches that care. That will give him every chance to keep moving and to be as good as he can be.

“And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But it’s not going to be on us.”

Sixers sign Ish Smith, waive Malcolm Thomas

Sixers sign Ish Smith, waive Malcolm Thomas

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that the team has signed guard Ishmael “Ish” Smith.

Smith has appeared in 221 career NBA games and owns career averages of three points, two assists and over one rebound per game. He was selected by the Delaware 87ers during the team’s expansion draft in August, 2013.

Smith finished at Wake Forest as the first player in school history to record 1,000 points, 500 assists and 400 rebounds in a career.

In a related move, the Sixers have waived forward Malcolm Thomas.

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