So much for the Nico power play.
It has been reported that the Devils, those bastards, are leaning towards taking Nico Hischier with the number one overall pick tonight. I think most Flyers fans, myself included, have come around on wanting Nico, the faster, more skilled, scoring center, to fall to the Flyers over Nolan Patrick, the bigger, more developed (more boring) two-way center with a string of recent injury concerns.
For the better part of a year Patrick was thought to be the number one pick in what most believe to be a two-player draft. But Nico came on strong last season and seems to have overtaken Patrick on many draft boards, partly due to Nico’s ascendance and seemingly superior skill, but also because of Patrick’s injuries. He had a shoulder injury in 2013-2014, an “upper-body injury” originally reported to be a “lower-body injury” in 2014-2015, a sports hernia at the end of 2015-2016 which carried over into last season and led to him missing a large chunk of time and then the last game of the year and playoffs.
A little birdie tells me that the Flyers are “extremely concerned” about Patrick’s injury history and really want Nico to fall to them at number two. No one knows what the Devils are going to do, but recent reports have them taking Nico. That possibility might have led to the loosely-sourced report that the Flyers could trade back and send the number two pick to Vegas in exchange for what could perhaps be a slew of draft picks Vegas obtains through expansion draft agreements to avoid certain unprotected players. There also seems to be some late conjecture that the Devils could trade back and take a defenseman, or just take one outright, leaving the Flyers to choose between Nolan or Nico (I think they’d take Nico).
Anyway, if the Devils stay put and take Nico, the Flyers should take Patrick, and they probably will, even if they do have concerns about his injuries. Anything else would be overthinking it. DON’T DO THAT, RON.
In case you’re wondering, the little birdie is the same person who told me the Flyers were hiring Dave Hakstol two days before anyone in Philly had ever even heard his name.
Yesterday the Sixers announced that they had sold 14,000 season tickets and lead the league in new season ticket sales. I figured I’d check to see what was left available for full season ticket packages. As you can see, NOT MUCH!
They are presumably holding some back for small packages. Reader (@ChrisOteri) points out that he was able to call his rep and get a partial plan yesterday. But it looks like the Sixers are now poised to take full advantage of their StubHub partnership. Since all of their single-game tickets are sold through the secondary market, it is impossible to tell which tickets on the site come from them and which come from regular fans and ticket holders. And we have no idea how many tickets the Sixers are holding back for those sales.
Regardless of the process, the end result is that the days of cheap StubHub tickets are likely over. With the team expecting a sellout every game and having sold 75% of the building just on season tickets alone, don’t expect too many bargains on the secondary market, including from season ticket holders looking to unload theirs (I suspect the Sixers have a pretty advanced system for weeding out scalpers from their customer base). In fact, I’d expect very, very expensive tickets on StubHub. That sound you here is Joshua Harris building another yacht, and then a moat in which to store the yacht, accessible by custom helipad, on Mars.
While Markelle Fultz was giving the Sixers his respect for remembering to pick up Chick-fil-A, Josh Jackson was punching Danny Ainge in the fucking dick.
Well, at least figuratively.
Miles above the Northern California terrain, Danny Ainge processed some upsetting news.
With Celtics Assistant GM Mike Zarren and head coach Brad Stevens on board, Ainge and the Celtics’ top brass had been informed by Josh Jackson’s camp that the workout they were flying coast to coast for had been abruptly cancelled.
In the precious hours in draft week, the team had wasted an entire day for nothing. No face time, no workout, nothing.
“They just decided to cancel it as we flew. As Brad and I and Mike Zarren flew cross country,” Ainge told reporters in his post-draft press conference.
“Yeah, I was mad! We flew across country. Are you kidding me? I had to get up at four o’clock and fly back home.”
Despite Josh Jackson saying Wednesday in multiple interviews that he couldn’t set up a workout due to, “logistics issues,” Ainge made it clear Jackson’s camp was hell bent on sabotage.
Jackson said he had talked to Celtics coaches over the phone earlier in the process, but this was refuted by Ainge.
“[I] Never talked with Josh. No one in our organization did. I know someone wrote something that was different, but that’s not the case.”
Some of this is standard pre-draft tactics, but it seems odd that Jackson would be so against Boston, which was reported to be quite high on him (in fact, some thought the Sixers trade hinged on the Celtics being able to get Jackson at three). And yet Jackson was apparently pissed that he dropped to fourth.
Maybe the canceled workout had something to do with the late Jayson Tatum hype (which Bill Simmons conveniently helped with). All I know is that if I was a Celtics fan today, I’d be apoplectic. Once again, Danny Ainge is spouting what-if scenarios after the fact, all while the team traded away its number one overall pick, didn’t wind up with the one player other than Fultz who some felt was a number one talent in Jackson, and is left to comment on the blockbuster trades pulled off by others:
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) June 23, 2017
So the Celtics didn’t get the best player in the draft. Or the second best player. Or wind up with a star. Rather, they’re left with a weird mix of guards, an old-school style swingman whose skill set is one NBA teams no longer value, and 31-year-old Al Horford’s 7 rebounds per game. Sure, they have a cocksmouth of first round draft picks over the next few years, but does anyone expect Ainge to make the best of it? Boston scares me NONE going forward.
As for Jackson: A lot of people tried to make something out of his off-the-court incident and live-wire attitude. Maybe there’s something there. But I still really like him as a player and feel like if he harnesses that passion, he could be a great one. Meanwhile, the Celtics will have Tatum jacking up 12-foot jumpers. Cool!
IN. IN. IN. IN. IN. IN. IN.
I’m all fucking in on Markelle Fultz. I can’t remember the last time a player penned one of these draft time letters for The Players Tribune and it didn’t read like it was written by a team of savvy PR folks. Nope, just Markelle in his own words. These great words:
People sometimes tell me I don’t show a lot of emotion or whatever. The truth is, my mom raised me to never celebrate too much when things are good, and to never get too down when things aren’t. Life throws a lot at you, she’s always told me, so you have to stay on your toes and have faith.
But today, man … this is one of those days when I know she’d be cool with me celebrating a little bit.
It’s funny though — as excited as I am, Joel Embiid is 10 times more turnt right now. He’s probably popping off on Twitter or IG as we speak.
Since I visited, I swear Joel’s texted me 75 times since then. I’m not mad, I’m just concerned about his data plan.
Sorry, did I say Joel Embiid? I meant Mayor Embiid. Philly’s No. 1 spokesperson. He would be a great mayor.
Oh, and that whole Chick-fil-A thing? Yeah, it mattered:
Then Keith hit me up and said, “New plan. Philly.”
I was just waking up. So I was like, “O.K., cool. Do they have Chick-fil-A there?”
A crispy chicken sandwich for breakfast. It’s kind of like my good luck charm. Keith never got back to me about that important question. So I found out for myself. I googled it immediately.
Philly does have Chick-fil-A. It has six, actually.
Seven if you count the one at the airport. Boston has zero Chick-fil-As, for what it’s worth.
Before we hit the road from home, no one could find my mom. She was late. My mom is never late to anything, but that morning she was getting her hair done. I was a little anxious, but then I calmed down because you know what? Mom gets to do whatever she wants if she’s doing something for herself. After all the sacrifices she made for me and my sister, Mom gets to be late whenever she wants to. New rule.
Anyway, guess what happened when I showed up to the Sixers training facility? They’d ordered Chick-fil-A. It was there waiting for me on a table. For real. A bunch of sandwiches.
I don’t know how they knew, but they knew.
And I know it’s not a big deal, but a little part of me was thinking, Respect. They did their research.
I’ll shut up. Go read the full thing here.
Still crawling out from the haze that is an NBA Draft Party-live podcast combo. But I feel like we need to point out how awesome the feeling is around the Sixers right now. We talked about it on the podcast, but they are the perfect team for the perfect time. The last great, exciting team Philly had was the 2007-2011 Phillies, but they were comprised mostly of mid-career veterans who came up long before social media. We felt a great connection to them, but they always felt distant– like you could only see them behind a velvet rope. Social media has broken down those barriers in all of society, particularly for young athletes. And the Sixers have more of them than basically anyone else. They are so well poised to not only be great on the court, but also off it. This group, led by Joel Embiid, connects so well to the fans in a way that is totally organic. There’s no filter when Jojo and Ben Simmons stroll down the Parkway during the NFL draft, or when Embiid heads to SIPS, or when Saric and T.J. trust their friendship. Or, like last night, when Simmons and Embiid fire NUCLEAR WARHEADS at the Balls:
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) June 22, 2017
Please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him.. https://t.co/cMvt5RYiSQ
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2017
Almost to a man, everyone at Ladder 15 last night was looking at their phones, marveling at those shots from the Sixers’ two superstars. Perfect team. Perfect time.
Of course… there’s always a scripted element to sports, and Markelle Fultz it seems learned his first lesson about sponsored posts– NEVER JUST COPY AND PASTE IT: