The Kids Are Alright…Right?

The state of the young talent on the 76ers at this moment is one of the more intriguing aspects of one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA. While there’s two notably high profile young men taking huge steps forward in Embiid and Simmons, this piece isn’t about those two. They’ve both been steadily improving after their shared first healthy offseason, where they got to work on their respective games, get bigger and better, and work to patch the holes exposed in their games from last year’s playoffs. But we all know enough about them, for right now at least.

With the much-anticipated arrival of Jimmy Butler, with a less-than-negligible history of locker room issues specifically with rookies, let’s investigate the state of the true young guys-Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet, and of course Markelle Fultz.

Zhaire Smith, unfortunately, hasn’t had much to be discussed lately. Besides his preseason injury and a strange emergency surgery to save him from a food allergen he had ingested (which is apparently not weird enough by 76ers rookie standards to make big NBA news), Zhaire has been quietly humming along. As the Sixers’ highest draft pick from this past offseason, there’s high hopes he can make a speedy recovery and work to be a strong young player, particularly on the defensive end of the ball, as soon as possible.

Landry Shamet, surprisingly, has made a big impact-and fast. He’s quickly dug himself a role in Brett Brown’s rotations as a shooter and has made some impressive plays off the dribble as well. And most shockingly, he’s overcome what was expected to be a defensive deficiency due to his small frame and wingspan, but his quick decision making and smart reads have made him much more playable on the other end of the ball. All in all, this kid has showed he’s willing to work hard to produce value for this team in a variety of roles and that will be worth a lot in a locker room with someone who’s got beef with the ever-lackadaisical Andrew Wiggins.

Finally we reach the elephant in the room, and the primary source of the title of this article, Markelle Fultz. The problem with Fultz is just that: The Kid is alright. Just alright. And for someone that the 76ers took number 1 overall, and traded picks for, he needs to be that killer from UW. Fultz problem hasn’t been so much that he hasn’t shown these skills: he shot a couple 3-pointers early on, but the attempts tapered off, he has improved defensively, and he has glimpses of those skillful plays from days of yore. But glimpses aren’t enough for someone we gave up future assets for. He clearly has the skills, at least enough to not be a total minus off the bench. So where is that killer instinct that he used when he was the No.1 option at Washington?

All in all, the Sixers have much to be excited about with this bunch. But the fact that the one drafted far and away the highest is the one with the gloomiest present and the most doubtful future with the franchise, there is much to be figured out for Markelle Fultz.

Trusting the Process to the Championship

If you haven’t already hopped on the Sixers bandwagon, now is the time. As a pro-process Sixers fan for the entirety of my life, these playoffs have been a dream of mine for a long time. Ever since the great Sam Hinkie took charge I imagined this moment, young, once in generation talent stepping onto the hardwood of the Wells Fargo with one goal in mind… To win a championship. While there have been many haters on this journey, whether it be from Philadelphia or the national media, I have continued to stick up for the Process. So if you’re looking to have the feelings I’m having for this soon to be championship run, the video below is a good way to start.

Shout out to my boss @CourtSidePHILA for making this fantastic video

LeBron Gets Exposed like a Bum

Yet another example of my mortal enemy, LeBron James, being the fraudulent drama queen he is. When he should be worrying about my Sixers as well as the Celtics in the upcoming NBA playoffs, the so called “King” is suing Nick Saban, head coach of Alabama football in case you live under a rock and didn’t know, for having a show taking place in a barbershop. Never before have I considered myself a Nick Saban fan, but that might change because he is the only person on the planet that has stood up against the shack of shit, LeBron James. For the entirety of LeBron’s life, he has been handed everything; from college recruiters giving him gifts, endorsements deals, and his competition practically bending down on one knee to him as if he were Jon Snow.

LeBron is officially rattled and things are only going to get worse for him since there is literally a 0% chance he wins this ridiculous lawsuit, being that its such a ridiculous lawsuit. Hey LeBron guess what? People have been doing interviews, TV shows, and movies in barbershops for years so you could probably be sued for the same dumb thing you hypocrite. I know you didn’t go to college LeBron but you should be smart enough to know you can’t win this case. The fact that Nick Saban has been on record saying that he going to continue his “Shop Talk” program shows a lack of respect toward the King that frankly no one on the planet in the past decade besides myself and Lance Stephenson have shown him. Sorry LeBron James but there’s a new king in town and its not you buddy. Congrats Nick Saban you’ve made yourself an ally for life. Below is a live look at Nick Saban and LeBron

Image result for Lebron James crying

My 2018 March Madness Picks Part 4: The Beasts in the East

If you didn’t read my whole intro from part 1, then guess what? You should probably go back and read, here’s the link: https://courtsidetakes.com/2018/03/14/my-2018-march-madness-picks-part-1-the-dirty-south/. However if you don’t want to that’s fine to, but basically I’m giving you my 2018 March Madness picks so you can win you’re bracket pulls and hopefully some money. If you didn’t read the title, I will be going through the Mid-West region of the bracket, aka the Heartland, aka America’s Breadbasket. And yes i did copy this intro from the second and third parts of my bracket picks and you should read them, here’s some links; part 2: https://courtsidetakes.com/2018/03/14/my-2018-march-madness-picks-part-2-the-wild-west/ part 3: https://courtsidetakes.com/2018/03/14/my-2018-march-madness-picks-part-3-the-heartland-aka-midwest/

Now lets get started

Round of 64

#1 Villanova vs #16 Radford, Number 1 seeds always beat 16 seeds, so this is a no brainer; Villanova

#8 Alabama vs #9 Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech is a very good team however Bama’s Colin Sexton has been very hot recently; Alabama

#5 West Virginia vs #12 Murray State, West Virginia style of play isn’t meant for the tourney and Murray State shoot the ball really well; Murray State

#4 Wichita State vs #13 Marshall, Gregg Marshall is a very good coach in march and this team has experience, expect Wichita to go far;  Wichita State

#6 Florida vs #11 St.Bonaventure, If UCLA had won the play in game i would have considered not picking Florida but they didn’t; Florida

#3 Texas Tech vs #14 SF Austin, This isn’t your usual bracket busting SF Austin, Texas Tech is frankly a much better team and should get the job done; Texas Tech

#7 Arkansas vs #10 Butler, Not sure how but Butler is favored in this game which makes this pick very easy; Butler

#2 Purdue vs #15 CSU Fullerton, Yet another school i didn’t know existed which makes it hard to pick them at all; Purdue

Round of 32

#1 Villanova vs #9 Alabama, I tend to make it a tradition of picking Nova to lose in the 2nd round every year and that tradition will continue; Alabama

#4 Wichita State vs #12 Murray State, Again Wichita is very deep and efficient on both ends of the floor which makes them a good tourney team; Wichita State

#3 Texas Tech vs #6 Florida, I originally picked Texas Tech however as i thought about it more Florida is actually really good, they shoot a lot of threes and don’t turn it over; Florida

#2 Purdue vs #10 Butler, Purdue has better players but Butler tends to play very well in march, expect a very close game but Purdue will edge it out;  Purdue

Sweet Sixteen

#4 Wichita State vs #9 Alabama, Gregg Marshall turned down the Alabama job a few years ago for a reason, because Wichita State is better; Wichita State

#2 Purdue vs #6 Florida, Florida is a very 3 dependent team and doesn’t protect the rim very well, Purdue has a 7’2 guy that looks like Ivan Drago from Rocky IV that will dominant this game; Purdue 

Elite Eight

#2 Purdue vs #4 Wichita State, This may be the least watched elite eight game of all time, but nevertheless I see this game going down to the wire with the better coach pulling out the dub. Wichita State will be my last final four pick; Wichita State

Congrats Wichita State, the only thing that would make this better is if you still had Ron Baker and Fred van Vleet

Wichita