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SHOULD THE SIXERS KEEP J.J. REDICK?

 

J.J. Redick is having the best year of his career. He has been everything the Sixers hoped when they signed him to a 1-year $23 million dollar salary. Redick is averaging more points, rebounds and assists than his careers stats, and having a guy who shoots over 41% from 3-point range, and the best free-throw shooter in the league is quite a luxury. Redick has also provided some leadership and stability to a young team on the threshold of a playoff run, and his signing added credibility to “The Process”, as the first legitimate free-agent to sign on. By all accounts, the Sixers love having Redick on the team, and Redick has repeatedly said he’d like to stay with the Sixers. But is he worth keeping?

If the Sixers sign him to a market value contract, say a 3-year, $25-million dollar contract. Is that worth it? The Sixers have Max deals on the horizon coming with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and are hoping to get a Max-deal free agent in the offseason. Maybe LeBron James? Is it worth signing J.J.? Take Marco Belinelli, for instance. He is not the player J.J. Redick is. Is he close enough if he could be kept on the cheap? Consider the fact that Markelle Fultz will hopefully be back in the fold next year. Consider the Sixers are likely to have two draft picks in the top 20 next year, and could certainly take a shooter. Is it worth bringing him back?

 

BRETT BROWN CRITICS ARE WAY OFF BASE

 

The Sixers have had their share of blown leads this year. Is that the coach’s fault or is it due to young players that have had to learn how to win? Brown sticks to the same substitution patterns no matter what the circumstance. You know Belinelli comes in for Redick about eight minutes in. You know Amir Johnson comes in for Embiid next. Simmons is out with a few minutes left in the first, and back about halfway though the second. Same types of patterns in the second half. Has it been looking at the bigger picture by Brown to define roles or stubbornness? Is it guiding the players to understand how to deliver in situations, or lack of in-game adjustment? Social media goes crazy whenever it happens, and if the Sixers lose, the “Fire Brown” trolls come out in full force. The “Fire Brown” tweets even fly during wins. But is it fair?

The Sixers are on the cusp of the playoffs, and they might have a seed that leads to home-court advanatage in the first round. That’s impressive after four years of embarrassment. The players love playing for him, and he’s created a culture that balances fun and development. Make no mistake, he coaches with the bigger picture in mind. Perhaps the best barometer, when was the last time the Sixers got blown out? When was the last time a Sixers game was over at halftime? This team competes every night. To me, that’s the definition of a good basketball coach.  The opinion here is that Brett Brown can coach, can lead, and Philly is lucky to have him.

 

ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR: SIMMONS OR MITCHELL?

The arguements have been strong for both. Donovan Mitchell has been incredibly impressive. He’s flashy, won the dunk contest, and continues to get better as a player. He’s had the 4th-most 25-point games by a rookie in the last 20 seasons, trailing just Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin and LeBron James. He may be number one by the end of the year. The Utah Jazz were have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season, and Mitchell has been one of the main reasons why they are competing for a playoffs spot in the Western Conference after losing their best player, Gordon Hayward, to free agency. Give Mitchell all the credit.

Ben Simmons, coming off his ninth triple double, third in the last four games. He also is the first rookie in NBA history to record a triple double without a turnover-ever. He had the most triple doubles by any player in their first 68 games-ever. His numbers match the great Magic Johnson’s rookie year. Could he score more? Could he shoot better? Yes. But he doesn’t care right now.

“I think people get caught up in how many points I score every game,” Simmons said. “It’s not about that. It’s a matter of points that we’re getting as a team and how many stops we get. People are always going to say I need to do certain things but I know what I’m capable of and I know what I’m really good at.”

Socrates said, “know thyself.” It appears Simmons does.

So who should win? My opinion is that what Simmons has done as a 6-10 point guard, who can do so many things is history in the making. He will be an all-time great. It’s not something we’ve seen much, and he hasn’t scratched the surface of his greatness. The arguement isn’t who will be the better player in 10 years, but who should win it now. I think the answer is clearly Simmons on both accounts.

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About Mike Small

Married for 23 years, and a father of four. Currently a Pharmaceutical Sales Leader, and contributor for TLSportsMedia, covering the Philadelphia 76ers and other relevant NBA topics. Previously worked as a television sports anchor in Eastern North Carolina, radio talk show host in Charlotte, North Carolina. Also served as the producer of "The Dean Smith Show", a weekly television show on The University of North Carolina basketball team, and "The Mack Brown Show", a weekly television show on the UNC football team-while doing all of the player features. Wrote a weekly column and articles for Carolina Blue Newspaper. Was also a contributor to, "A Season of Dreams", a book on the 1993 National Champion North Carolina Basketball Team.

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