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Eastern Conference

76ers’ Ben Simmons Says He Is 100% Rookie Of The Year

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When it comes to who should win the NBA Rookie of the Year award, Philadelphia 76ers phenom Ben Simmons has one pick and one pick alone.

Himself.

“Who would I pick? Me, 100 percent,” Simmons said on Saturday, according to ESPN.

“I think I have been playing solid all year,” he continued. “If you look at the numbers, you will see. People who know the game know.”

It’s hard to argue with Simmons, or his numbers, and when the NBA postseason awards are unveiled on June 25th, it would be a shock if Simmons isn’t honored in some way.

Simmons’ 12 triple-doubles during his rookie campaign ranks 2nd in NBA history behind Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson’s 26.

With the Sixers clinging on to the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, Simmons has been a consistent performer all season, averaging 16.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.2 assists.

Simmons was asked which other rookies have caught his eye this season.

“None,” he responded promptly. “I want to be where the greats are. So, for me, I watch the guys like [Kevin Durant], [LeBron James], [Stephen] Curry, Russell [Westbrook]. Guys like that. That’s where I want to be. I think for me, that’s what I love to watch.”

Simmons’ biggest competition for the ROY honors will be Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, who has had his own incredible rookie campaign, averaging a rookie-high 20.4 points and setting the NBA record by becoming the fastest rookie in history to hit 150 3-point shots, accomplishing the feat in 63 games, beating the prior record by 5 games.

“I don’t really listen to comparisons,” Simmons said. “You can compare players and whatever it is, but at the same time, everybody is their own player.”

Simmons also have a long journey from draft day to his debut, including a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot that cost Simmons the entire 2016-17 season, which would have been his rookie season if he had been healthy enough to play.

Simmons praises his head coach, Brett Brown, for putting Simmons in the position to succeed.

“He put me in position as the point guard, and I don’t think he thought it would work out this well as it has,” Simmons explained. “I think it is a lot of credit to coach for sticking me in that position and trusting me.”

“Championships,” Simmons said. “I want to be the Defensive Player of the Year … MVP. There’s a lot of accolades I want to get, but I ultimately want to win a ring.”

 

Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Says Andre Drummond In Best Shape He’s Seen Him In

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey is expecting big things from big man Andre Drummond this upcoming season and is excited to see what he can do as he is impressed with the shape Drummond is in.

“One, his overall conditioning. He’s in the best shape since I’ve been around him, the year and a half that I’ve seen. His body is slim and trim, his body fat is down, he’s been in Vegas working with Coach Gerg (Tim Grgurich) and Sean Sweeney all summer religiously, two and three times a day. That in itself is going to pay great dividends,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“Watching him in pickup games, he’s running like a deer. His decision making, I think the 3-point shooting experiment, we kind of put that on hold in the second part of the year last year but still, catching the ball on pick and roll, making decisions, he’s doing a great job of that – a much better job than he did last year. That’s something he’s worked on this summer, making the right read, the right decision” Casey added.

Drummond poured in 17.3 points and 15.6 rebounds per game for the Pistons last season, and has been working on his offensive game during the offseason.

“With him, teams try to go small with a guy 6-7, 6-8, he has the ability and agility and speed and quickness that he can get out there and guard those guys” Casey said.

“That gives him an advantage on the other end, where now I’m in a pick-and-roll situation, he’s got a 6-7 five man in front of him, he still can jump hook over him or kick out. That’s the part of his game, he’s doing a much better job with, his decision making. The third thing will be his finishing, finishing around the rim. He’s such a great offensive rebounder that he’s got to be able to finish once he gets it because he does a great job of crashing the boards and dominating the boards.”

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Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Planning Flexibility with Blake Griffin, Thon Maker

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey has a creative approach in mind when he utilizes Blake Griffin and Thon Maker this upcoming season.

While the Pistons don’t have a true center outside of Andre Drummond, Casey sees opportunities to get creative with his lineups, depending on the situation at hand.

“I see it being very situational,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“The other guy we haven’t mentioned, we have played Blake at the five. Not good numbers off of that, so I don’t anticipate that but there are scenarios in the game, last two minutes of the game, where Blake could play the five. Looking for really a bump out of Thon, playing him at four/five, whatever it is, but a lot of nights if you look at the league, the rosters have gotten smaller and the traditional five has kind of gone the way of the dinosaur. The flexibility we have with Thon, with Markieff having the possibility of playing there, is really important.”

With Drummond focusing on developing his offense this offseason, the Pistons may lack some defense at the rim, and in the paint.

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Eastern Conference

Heat’s Bam Adebayo Discusses Team Picking Up Option

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Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat recently picked up the fourth-year option on the contract of center Bam Adebayo, who is thrilled to see further commitment from the team.

Adebayo, the Heat’s starter at center, will make $3.5 million this season, and is now guaranteed $5.1 million in the 2020-2021 season.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Adebayo said, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s one of those things that a lot of guys don’t get to see, but I’m glad it happened to me. So we’re going to keep this thing going and see if we can win some more games.”

Adebayo collected 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists last season for Miami.

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