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Eastern Conference

76ers’ Ben Simmons Says He’s ‘Ready to go’

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The Philadelphia 76ers have plenty to be excited about for this upcoming NBA regular season and Ben Simmons, who will be finally embarking on his rookie season, is adding more fuel to that fire.

During the Sixers media day on Monday, Simmons stated emphatically that he is “100 percent” while also stating that he is ready to become a leader this season.

In fact, Simmons said he is “ready to go” with no restrictions adding that missing all of last season due to injury “was frustrating to start, but it was a great opportunity for me to learn.”

“One hundred percent, cleared to play and I’ve just been working out, playing five-on-five pickup. So just back to where I was before and a whole lot better now” Simmons said.

76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo said Simmons “has all the tools to be a great player in this game.”

Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown said that he plans to play Simmons at point guard this season.

“It feels normal to me,” Simmons said about the team’s plans for him.

“He’s the first coach to finally give me the opportunity. He obviously sees something in me. I believe in myself and I believe I can do it. There’s not many people who can really guard me off the dribble, the full length of the court. It’s going to be a mismatch problem a lot of the time.”

Colangelo said that having this year’s No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz and Simmons “in the same boat” this season is “not dissimilar to what we had last year.”

“Multiple candidates for Rookie of the Year, finding a balance to all of that. I’ve said it before, it’s almost unfair to load up a coach with those kind of issues, but hopefully everyone will look at this as an opportunity to put team first and sacrifice what’s required to make us a better basketball team,” Colangelo said.

Brooklyn Nets

Nets’ Kenny Atkinson Says ‘Tanking is Not a Word We Use’

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The Brooklyn Nets have had a rough couple of seasons, some of which they clearly looked like a team that was tanking with 21, 20, and 28 win seasons over the past three years, but head coach Kenny Atkinson says that tanking is not a part of the franchise’s rebuilding plan.

Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks are trying to build a winner for the future, and while tanking may be a word associated with a team in the cellar of the Eastern Conference standings, it’s not a word Atkinson would use.

“No, because we’ve never talked about tanking,” Atkinson said, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto. “Sean and I, I’m just going to be honest, internally we don’t use the word. We don’t talk about it. We talk about internal improvement. We talk about player development. We talk about culture, but tanking is not a word we use. It’s just not in our…I don’t think the fans in New York want to see that.”

Marks has spent the past few seasons stocking up on high end draft picks and utilizing the draft to fill the roster, but the Nets aim to be players in the 2018-2019 free agency period and a marked improvement in the win column could help lure players to the Big Apple next summer.

“That’s the dream, right, the quantum leap,” Atkinson said. “I think that’s the big goal in the sky. I also think we’ve been making solid steps and solid improvements. I’d be happy with that too, but we understand what you’re saying about the quantum leap. I think our players see that it’s a possibility. I do think we have to come to it in a humble way too. We only won 28 games last year, an eight-game improvement, which is good and is hard in the NBA. I’d take another eight or 10-game improvement. That would be fantastic.”

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Eastern Conference

Jamal Crawford Considering Joining 76ers

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Free agent veteran guard Jamal Crawford is still on the free agent market, but one potential destination is standing out for him, and he is considering a potential move to that team. That team, is the Philadelphia 76ers.

Crawford, 38, is a three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner, and would become an incredible asset off the bench for the Sixers.

“I think for me, especially being out there as a free agent, something could work out” Crawford said, during an interview with Scoop B Radio’s Brandon Robinson. “I would be honored to play there, but things obviously have to take its course and I kind of got to sit back, but who wouldn’t want to play there?”

Crawford was complimentary of the city of Philadelphia, head coach Brett Brown, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, and J.J. Reddick.

“I like their city. I like how into it they are about basketball. I like their knowledge of basketball, how passionate they are. I’ve always loved coach Brett Brown. I’ve been on record. I’ve been a fan of his for years. He just needed talent, and now he has that. He added Ben Simmons, I love his game. I love JoJo. They’re both among my favorite players in the league to watch. Markelle is like a little brother to me. Obviously, he went to the University of Washington, and we talk every other day. J.J. Redick is like a brother to me, we’ve been through wars together, so there’s so many things to love about Philadelphia for sure.”

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Atlanta Hawks

Hawks’ Trae Young Eager to Learn from Jeremy Lin

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Atlanta Hawks rookie guard Trae Young is excited to start his rookie season, and is eager to learn from experienced players, such as his teammate, veteran point guard Jeremy Lin who was acquired this offseason.

“From what I’ve heard, he’s going to be a great mentor for me,” Young said, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. “We’ve been talking. He’s a good dude. He’s been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. He’s seen it all, so I’m looking forward to picking his brain.”

Lin is widely believed to be the Hawks starting point guard this season, but that won’t deter Young, who is looking at the big picture for Atlanta.

“I think we’ll work really well together,” Young said. “This is a rebuilding team, and we’re going to try some things. Some are going to work, some aren’t, so we’re just going to work together and do whatever we can to turn this franchise around.”

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