Four-for-Four: The Broad Street Bullies Edition-A week in Philadelphia

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Jan 24, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown talks with guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. The Raptors defeated the Sixers 104-95. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports


Watching 76ers games, despite the team’s miserable record, has become a more enjoyable experience than it was last year. With a few promising young pieces all under the lead of an exciting new coach, the 76ers as a product are far beyond the meddling club that took the floor last season.

Still, no matter how much one wills him or herself to cheer for the 76ers to win, the focus of this franchise is NOT the current. Philadelphia hasn’t exactly made it a secret that they are gearing their efforts toward competing next year, at the earliest. The biggest indicator of this was their draft-night strategy, which yielded them a pair of first round picks while trading away their only potential impact player.

At their original slot, the 76ers may have won the lottery a year earlier than expected. Michael Carter-Williams is the clear frontrunner for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. He leads all rookies in points, assists, rebounds, and steals per game. The 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft may go down as the piece that expedited the 76ers path to contention.

Yet, it is their first pick in the 2013 lottery that has so much of his development affecting how the team continues to build. Nerlens Noel, once widely considered the top prospect in 2013, had his only season at Kentucky cut short by a brutal knee injury. Despite Noel being in physical rehab, he was a tantalizing enough prospect to warrant being the centerpiece of the Jrue Holiday trade with the Pelicans.

It has been well-documented that the lanky center from Kentucky has been working one-on-one with head coach Brett Brown to rebuild his game from the ground up. Thursday afternoon, the 76ers unsheathed a little more of what they up to unleash on the NBA in the not-so-distant future.

I’d suggest a timecode to jump to, but it’s all lethal. Watch. Wait. Drool. #FeartheFlatTop


One of the few ‘promising, young talents’ to keep an eye on with this years 76ers team has to be Tony Wroten. The bouncy, explosive southpaw, acquired this past offseason, has been a delightful surprise for the 76ers and looks as if he could be a fixture on the team moving forward.

The past week Wroten, who is a career 23.5% 3-point shooter, has apparently also been working with coaches on how to best help the team from beyond the arc. Given the last two contests, one would think the coaching is starting to take effect.

And from tonight’s game against the Lakers…


Feb 4, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jabari Parker (1) dunks against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Just to preface this entry, I personally think a lot of the talk surrounding this topic is just that: talk. That said, some of the stories surrounding a few of the names we’ve had penciled in at the top of the 2014 Draft class are starting to put up some very convincing smoke-screens. released an article yesterday documenting the possibilities of Duke’s Jabari Parker & Kansas’ Joel Embiid returning to school for their Sophomore seasons. Depending on what type of sports fan you are, the impact of this possibly happening ranges from both ends of the spectrum.

Parker and Embiid (along with Embiid’s teammate Andrew Wiggins) have started to separate from the pack as far as collegiate players vying for the top spot in the 2014 Draft. Parker has shaken off a slump that occurred during his first few ACC games and has returned to a front-runner for NCAA Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Embiid’s combination of athleticism, grace, and room to grow has made him one of the most sought after prospects in the past decade.

Both players have factors tugging at them to return to their school. Aside from Duke and Kansas being among the premiere programs in the NCAA, both Parker and Embiid have embraced the college atmosphere and appear in no rush to head to the NBA.

As far as Parker goes, the polished scorer from Chicago has two fellow Chicago-ans as reasons to return to Duke. For one, Mike Krzyzewski is the best coach in college basketball and arguably in either level of the sport. Parker with two years under Coach K is a tantalizing possibility. The other thing tugging at Parker from his hometown is incoming Duke freshman center, Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is the crowned jewel of Duke’s latest top class and he and Parker had their fair share of duels in the ultra-competitive high school basketball circuit in Chicago. The two young stars swear they have not discussed the possibility yet, but one cannot discount the effect of a good friend and one of the best coaches in this generation as a nudge back to Durham.

Embiid is being drawn back to Kansas more for the possibility of continuing to refine his craft. The native of Cameroon has only played basketball since 2011 and, for how impressive he has been, still has lapses where further seasoning could help him dominate even further. Sports Illustrated’s Jeff Goodman spoke to Embiid regarding his future.

"“I’m not even thinking about it right now, I’ll make a decision after the season, but I’m definitely considering coming back to school.”"

I’m all for young men trying to get an education…but the NBA is a flawed league. If they’re going to force players to go to college at least one year, make them stay for at least three like the NFL. While it would be comical, from a big picture standpoint, to see the ‘tank’ plan being used by various teams around the league to blow up in their face; as a 76ers fan, it would be devastating if Philadelphia’s forward-thinking efforts yielded them anything but an impact, franchise player.