Weekly Sixers Roundup: Noel, Okafor, Covington Receive National Attention
Every week we’ll collect some of the national stories being written about the Philadelphia 76ers. You can check out previous roundups here.
This week contains more preseason predictions, a nice write-up about T.J. McConnell, and former guard Michael Carter-Williams chiming in on his teammates.
Let’s get started.
We mentioned this before, but NBA.com released their annual GM survey. Jahlil Okafor being the favorite to win ROY was the most interesting part of it, but Dario Saric being voted the best international player not in the NBA is noteworthy as well.
On to projections, Nylon Calculus projected out win totals. The Sixers, predictably, did not do well, coming in at 22.9 wins. The news is that would only be the third worst record in the league. Scary part? The Lakers, at 21.3 wins, are tied with the worst projection in the league. The Sixers get the Lakers pick as long as it doesn’t fall in the top 3. Other projections that impact the Sixers 2016 draft: Miami at 34.6 wins (8th worst record, Sixers have their top-10 protected pick), Kings at 35.4 wins (9th worst record, Sixers can swap picks with Sacrament0), and the Thunder at 53.8 wins (Sixers get their pick as long as it doesn’t fall in the top-15).
TeamRankings.com also released their season predictions. They have the Sixers at 21.7 wins, which would be the worst record in the NBA. The Lakers are at 24.6 wins, the second worst. They look pretty favorably on the Kings at 35.8 wins, and think the Heat (46.7 wins, 4th in Eastern Conference) make the playoffs pretty easily.
The Big Lead released their preseason predictions. Jason McIntyre has Jahlil Okafor winning Rookie of the Year and Nerlens Noel winning Defensive Player of the Year, which would be a huge accomplishment. Ty Duffy also has Noel as DPOY. Five of their eight columnists have the Sixers finishing with the worst record in the NBA.
HoopsHype released their prediction for breakout player of the year, which was none other than the Sixers own Robert Covington.
ESPN owned FiveThirtyEight released their list of the top-53 franchise players. Three Sixers players were featured on this list: Joel Embiid (#53), Jahlil Okafor (#48), and Nerlens Noel (#38). Related: 538 is extremely bullish on Marcus Smart (#13) and Elfrid Payton (#14). We’ll see.
Scott Howard-Cooper at NBA.com has Jahlil Okafor atop his rookie ladder.
“Jahlil Okafor is the preseason pick for Kia Rookie of the Year as the prime example of talent meeting opportunity, a prerequisite to winning the award. He has an NBA-ready post game and a great chance in Philadelphia to immediately become the focal point of the offense. He should score, and voters love points over all else.”
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports had a nice story on T.J. McConnell, the undrafted point guard out of Arizona who made the Sixers opening day roster.
“When he called me and told me he made it, it’s probably the greatest feeling I’ve ever had,” father Tim McConnell told Yahoo Sports. “To be able to say my son is an NBA player, it made me so proud. I was so excited for him that I actually started to cry because I saw the hard work and dedication he put in to get to this point.”
Former Sixers point guard Michael Carter-Williams went on Sirius XM Radio and had complimentary things to say about Joel Embiid and his work ethic.
Also, in terms of audio, I did a season preview podcast with Rich Hofmann (PhillyVoice.com), Kyle Neubeck (LibertyBallers.com), and Max Rappaport (LibertyBallers.com, formerly Sixers.com). You can listen to that here.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine’s new Sixers Post. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.