Seltzer's Notebook | Simmons Gets Shoutout, Embiid Adapts Quick, Redick's Focus
Strong Bond Leads to Social Shoutout
Shortly after becoming the third player in NBA history to register a triple-double within the first four games of his career, Ben Simmons took to Instagram, where he posted the picture shown below, accompanied by a focused, forward-looking caption: #OTTNO. The acronym stands for the saying, "On to the Next One."
A little bit later in the evening, one of Simmons' most prominent hoops mentors chimed in in the comments section, offering a congratulatory message.
The strength of Simmons’ relationship with LeBron James has been well documented over the years. Tuesday, following a light practice at the Sixers’ training complex in Camden, the Aussie expressed appreciation for the King’s support.
“He’s one of the best players in the world if not the best,” said Simmons. “It just means a lot coming from him, and knowing what he’s done on the court for the game. He’s like a big brother to me. I try to learn from him. He’s always looking out for me.”
Embiid Transitions Quickly
There’s a lot about what Joel Embiid does that could be classified under the label “impressively different.”
Among the leading items on this list has to be the big man’s ability to deliver an immense impact on games on the heels of rest. How does Embiid do it, despite going through stretches of either not playing or practicing fully with the team?
“Actually, I don’t know,” the Sixers’ second-year center said Monday, after churning out 30 points and 9 rebounds in 28 minutes against the Detroit Pistons. “I honestly don’t. But when I come in, my job is to be the leader, and bring some energy, especially defensively. I want to be the best defender in the league, I want to win Defensive Player of the Year, so that’s my job - just come in, play with energy, pick up all my teammates, and play defense.”
Comments like those would probably be music to the ears of Embiid’s head coach, had he heard or read the remarks. Moments before the 23-year old gave the above quote to reporters Monday evening, Brett Brown himself spoke about how Embiid has embraced the idea of being the “anchor and voice” of the Sixers’ defense.
“He just was so committed defensively,” Brown said of Embiid’s efforts at Little Caesar’s Arena. “He lives it, he talks it, and I think that growing Joel with that mentality and focal point of him growing to be a leader in that regard, he was excellent at that tonight.”
Brown also believes Embiid’s attitude helps get him going quickly upon rejoining the team.
“He’s got a spirit about him,” said Brown. “He loves basketball, he loves playing basketball. He really loves what he does, and he’s good. He’s 7-feet, and he’s got all the skills to back up that passion, it equals the result you saw.”
Point to Point
A key sequence that ultimately positioned the Sixers to put away the Detroit Pistons Monday for their first win of the season was T.J. McConnell’s corner 3-pointer with 6 minutes to go. The timely deposit capped a mini-run that upped the Sixers’ lead from 3 to 9. Sure enough, it was Ben Simmons - en route to his first triple-double - who set up McConnell for the shot.
Afterwards, McConnell, with his point guard perspective, shared a few thoughts on why he thinks Simmons has shown so much promise as a primary ball-handler.
Point man on point man, T.J. McConnell discusses how Ben Simmons ran team down stretch. Said if Simmons is hitting pull-up, "Hard to stop." pic.twitter.com/eCbaWNVyGC — Brian Seltzer (@brianseltzer) October 24, 2017
Point man on point man, T.J. McConnell discusses how Ben Simmons ran team down stretch.
Said if Simmons is hitting pull-up, "Hard to stop." pic.twitter.com/eCbaWNVyGC
— Brian Seltzer (@brianseltzer) October 24, 2017
An Appreciation for Redick
Perhaps few people in the NBA have as deep of a first-hand perspective on the evolution of JJ Redick than Stan Van Gundy.
The elite sharpshooter and veteran head coach, now in his fourth year with the Detroit Pistons, first crossed paths in Orlando, during Redick’s second season in the league, and Van Gundy’s first with the Magic.
In five seasons he spent under Van Gundy, Redick, chosen 11th overall by Orlando in 2006, began to emerge as a key component to the franchise’s resurgence, contributing to multiple 50-win campaigns, and playoff berths.
After Van Gundy parted ways with the Magic in the spring of 2012, Redick stayed on with the club for a few more months, before he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.
In the years that have passed, Van Gundy has continued to admire the progress of the Duke product.
We’ll let the next 172 words on Redick, all taken from Van Gundy’s pre-game Media availability Monday at Little Caesar’s Arena, stand on their own:
“I’m not a big anecdote guy. Look, [Redick is] a guy that just has continued to get better every year. Even through his time with the Clippers, in his 30s, he keeps getting better all the time. His work ethic, and his ability to focus and concentrate are off the charts. I don’t know that there’s a guy in the league who focuses and concentrates better than he does. Every day he’s working, in-season and off-season, and it’s with a purpose. I mean, he’s not just going and getting shots up, ever. He’s working with a purpose. He can tell you every day what he’s working on, and what he’s trying to get better at. He’s an undersized two [guard] with average athletic ability who’s become one of the best two’s in the league because of how he works, and how he’s learned to play. He can move without the ball, and keep moving, because he’s in great condition. It’s hard to be around that guy and not develop huge respect for him.”