Quotebook | Players at Media Day
The Complex in Camden is buzzing -- media day is upon us.
As the team cycles through media availability, check back in here for live updates.
First up at the podium, Tobias Harris said he’s looking forward to building team chemistry on and away from the court. Harris said he spent the offseason developing his defense, and that he’s ready to take a step up on both ends of the floor:
“What I try to bring to the table is an even-keeled balance. Especially this year, someone who;s looked to as a leader on the team. I’m a scorer, I’ve been scoring my whole career. I space the floor, I shoot the ball, you can put me in different slots in different positions. I worked really hard this summer on my defense, to improve that, to make that a focal point of my game as a whole, and you’ll see that this year.”
Mike Scott, who returns to Philadelphia after becoming a quick local hero in the latter half of last season, discussed why he thinks his personality is so compatible with his new city:
"I’ve always tried to keep it real, try to keep it one hundred. I just feel like I’m a blue-collar role player for this team and I’ve always been. So, Philly kind of related to it, you know, that grittiness. Diving on the floor and getting your hands dirty. I have always been that kind of player."
In his first season as a Sixer, Raul Neto says he’s ready to embrace any opportunity he’s given. Neto is no stranger to pressure -- having made multiple playoff appearances during his time with the Utah Jazz and playing for Brazil in the Olympic Games, Neto says it’s all about channeling pressure for good:
“It’s all about embracing the pressure. When I got here, the first thing everybody said is the fans are very intense and they like to win. It’s a big team. Now here, before the training camp starts I can feel the difference (between Philadelphia and Salt Lake City). Everybody here is happy that we’re here. We know we have a great team, we know we can do great things. It’s all about embracing that pressure.”
In his first media day as a Sixer, Al Horford says he’s looking forward to the defensive prowess of his new team:
“As long as everybody’s on the same page on the defensive end, we’re going to be trouble. The good thing about our group is that we’re versatile. Guys can play multiple positions. That’s a strength… Our strength is going to be being able to adapt and do multiple things as a defensive unit.”
Fellow new Sixer Kyle O’Quinn echoed Horford’s sentiments.
“Defense is something we have to do. We’re just so big, so long. When we played pickup the other day, the paint was clogged. We just have so much length. We’re just such a big team, and I think guys really want to play defense.”
James Ennis III has developed a strong relationship with his new city. At the podium, he described what he’s looking to give back to Philadelphia:
"I love Philly. I feel like last year we had a good chance, but we lost on an unlucky bounce. I know we can win, and that’s why I came back to Philly... I feel like our chemistry will be really good. I’m going to do what I do. Come here and play hard, crash the offensive glass, things like that."
Jonah Bolden likes his team’s chances in his sophomore season:
“[What are we] capable of accomplishing? I think a championship. I know that. For me personally, expectations are always high for myself. Same as last year, knowing my role -- whatever it takes to win. Season two, expectations are higher… you’re expected to know the ropes now.”
In his return to Philadelphia, Furkan Korkmaz says he’s looking forward to expanding his role on offense and defense.
“I know the expectations from the shooting side. I need to help the team, especially with the 3-pointers. Also on the defensive side, I’ve got to guard. When you get older, you learn the game more. Especially defensively — it doesn’t matter how strong you are, you need to be smart too."
Known for his energy and commitment on defense, Josh Richardson is sure to become a fast favorite in Philadelphia:
"One thing you’ll get out of me every night is intensity. I always play every play like it’s my last. I always try to do whatever I can to help the team win. I’m kind of a guy that can morph into any role that I need to on any nightly basis to give us the best chance to win."
Richardson added that respect among the group is high:
“I think our chemistry is going to be good because we have guys who genuinely like each other… Going in, I’m confident.”
When asked about which of his new teammates Shake Milton looks up to, he had an easy answer:
"J-Rich. We’ve got that Oklahoma connection, that’s always cool. We worked out together a couple times, he always pulls me aside, we’re always talking about things. That’s a cool connection to have."
Zhaire Smith developed an early kinship with rookie Matisse Thybulle, and said on media day that the pair continues to learn from one another. Sidelined for the majority of his rookie season, Smith says he can’t wait to get back on the court:
“I feel like a rookie all over again, because now I’m really playing instead of watching... I feel more confident, especially from all the work I put in. I’ve just got the feel of the game.”
After facing off over the past few years, Joel Embiid and Horford are now united by a common goal. Embiid expressed his excitement to play alongside his fellow big man:
“I think about it team-success wise… I feel like he brings something different, especially if I go on the bench…. I’m excited for what he can bring, obviously we had some great battles, and it was fun. Now we’re on the same team. I look up to him.”
Embiid said that personally, he has the goal of winning the Defensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. When it comes to his team -- his goals are just as lofty:
“[The goal is] winning a championship, obviously. Championship and more. We have that opportunity. Going into this year, one of the things we have to focus on is winning that no. 1 seed... My whole mindset is focused on winning. I’ve got to win at least 60 games and I know it's going to put me in a better situation when it comes to other things, so that's what I’m focused on. We’ve got a championship caliber team, we have a chance to win it, so it's all about building that team chemistry and making sure everybody stays on the same page."
Going into his first training camp, Marial Shayok says he’s looking forward to absorbing as much as he can from the players around him:
“I’m definitely excited to learn from a lot of the vets, and embrace this whole journey.”
Matisse Thybulle said he’s been constantly impressed by his teammates as they’ve returned to Philadelphia. As his rookie season approaches, he said he’s ready to use his skills to help the team:
“I think it’s pretty simple -- just play defense and hit threes. That's what they've been telling me since Summer League and I'm excited for that because I feel like that's something I’ve been made for and I fit that mold pretty well... I’m really excited to step into that role, and do the best I can.”
Trey Burke said he’s honored to wear the same jersey that one of his idols, Allen Iverson, once wore. Burke says he’s excited to be a spark off the bench for his new team:
“I can come in, be a spark off the bench, both ends of the court. Being a smaller guard, I always play with a chip on my shoulder. And I think that’s the mentality I’ve got to bring to this team.”
After signing a multi-year extension with the team, Ben Simmons said his utmost goal is bringing a championship to the city of Philadelphia -- and he thinks the team has the pieces to do it:
“I’m happy to be here another five years -- I don’t really want to be anywhere else. I think we have a really special opportunity to do something major here…. We’re starting fresh. It’s kind of like a fresh slate where we can start from scratch, find our identity, and really build something special with these guys.”
Simmons added that defensive intensity will rule the day -- and he hopes to lead that charge.
"I want to be the best defensive player on the team -- so hopefully everybody on my team hears that and they strive to do the same thing. I know we have a great defensive team and everyone that we have acquired, obviously Joel, and you even hear Tobias, he wants to take pride in defense. Just hearing that is huge because you weren't hearing that at the start of the year last season. So, I think it's an exciting time for us."