COLUMN: What Every 76er is the Best in the NBA at

Hey there. Welcome back to the Hot Take Zone, my Ring of Fire. If you missed the previous two Monday Columns, you’ve been skipping some real hard-nosed, nitty-gritty journalism.

In Week 1 I likened Jahlil Okafor to a simple ham sandwich. You can read that here. Last week, I convinced myself that the late Gerald Henderson is a basketball-playing robot. Check that out here.

This week I don’t have any groundbreaking sandwich comparisons or robot theories so I really had to get creative. The other day in the shower, I was having some mad deep thoughts, as one does.

There is a finite number of players in the NBA, somewhere around 450, give or take. However, in the world, there is an infinite number of activities, things to do, and skills, right? Thus, that means every player in the NBA is the best NBA player at something.

Now, this doesn’t have to necessarily have to be basketball related. Someone in the NBA is the best at curling, and someone else is the best in the NBA at making a souffle dessert. Make sense?

So for the column this week, we’re going to figure out what every Sixer is the best in the NBA at, basketball related or not. Here we go:

Justin Anderson – Being a bad basketball player in a good basketball player’s body
The only reason I’m talking about this guy first is that the online roster is listed alphabetically. Otherwise, I would probably forget about him and have to go back the next day to add a short little blurb about him. Anderson has an ideal body for a 3 and D stud. He’s 6’6, 230 with a 7’ wingspan. Too bad he shoots under 30% from 3 and looks like he’s playing D with his eyes closed.

Jerryd Bayless – Quietly being kind of a sniper from 3
Despite shooting 40% from 3 last year, Bayless played like a minute and a half of NBA basketball so we can’t really count that. However, in the 2015-16 season, Bayless was consistently and inexplicably one of the best shooters in the NBA. He shot 43.7% from 3, which was 4th in the NBA. He also shot 47.7% on catch-and-shoot 3s. Is he the best shooter in the NBA? No. The best lowkey sniper? He very well might be.

Robert Covington – Being a 3 and D player if offense wasn’t important
I’m not saying RoCo is a bad offensive player, but the reason he isn’t the best 3 and D player in the NBA is because of his inconsistent shooting, his clunky handle, and his apparent inability to make open layups. Hopefully, this all will change now that he’s option #5 in the Sixers offense. However, RoCo’s defense speaks for itself as he consistently locks down the best offensive option on the other team and was 4th in this year’s DPOTY voting behind only Draymond, Gobert, and Kawhi.

Joel Embiid – Social Media
This kind of goes without saying and is pretty uncreative, but Embiid owns the best Twitter account and Instagram stories out of any NBA player without question. He perfectly blends his love for Philadelphia with humor about both pop culture and basketball. His recent feud with the Ball family only furthers this narrative. Decent ball player too.

Markelle Fultz – Hesi pull-up jimboing
Unless you don’t own a twitter, you’ve probably heard about Kevin Durant’s rave review of Markelle, citing his advanced “hesi pull-up jimbo.” Markelle shimmies and crosses over into a jump shot better than anyone I’ve seen in the Utah or Vegas Summer League. Thus by extrapolation, he’s the best in the NBA at it. I can do that, right? I was thinking about saying Fultz is the best in the NBA at looking disinterested while simultaneously balling out, but I forgot that James Harden invented that.

Richaun Holmes – Unleashing high-fives that could be considered lethal weapons
Richaun is pretty average to above average at essentially every NBA skill. However, following a missed free throw, he expresses his 2nd Amendment right, bears arms and high-fives the nearest teammate into oblivion. I’m pretty surprised that he hasn’t broken anyone’s arm given how ridiculous Sixers injuries can get. This video cracks me up every time I’ve ever watched it:

Amir Johnson – Being a starter who only plays like 6 minutes
People forget that Amir Johnson was a starter for the #1 seed in the East this past season. He pretty much comes in, logs some minutes, lumbers around and plays pretty good defense. Sixers fans should expect very little when it comes to how Amir will contribute this year, but he did have Boston’s best real plus/minus besides Jae Crowder despite only playing 20 mpg and often proficiently defended players a lot taller than him.

Furkan Korkmaz – Being The Shortest Turkish Player in the NBA
So since Furkan has looked super meh in summer league, I can’t necessarily speak to how his skills will translate to the NBA and/or his future tenure with the 87ers. However, he is, factually speaking, the shortest player in the NBA of Turkish descent. Granted, there are only 4 Turkish players in the league, but who cares? Does that make him the Isaiah Thomas of Turkey? That’s a take.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot – Backdoor Cutting
I don’t think any player in the NBA specializes in such a niche thing, but since Luwawu can’t really shoot or dribble, he operates mostly off the ball with his solid athleticism. This allows him to slip in and out of the lane to consistently snatch passes and lay them up. With Simmons, Fultz and Bayless all slated to log major minutes this year, their ball dominance and passing prestige will open up lanes for Luwawu to collect dimes in the backdoor. This is a take I’ve believed for some time:

TJ McConnell – Owning Carmelo Anthony
Prior to like 2 weeks ago, I would have said that Phil Jackson was the NBA’s king of dumping on Melo considering he’s actively called out and tried to trade him for the better part of two seasons. Now that Phil got canned, the next most substantial instance of Melo getting embarrassed took place on January 11th. Let the game film speak for itself:

 

Jahlil Okafor – Driving Fast on Bridges

Don’t be mistaken, I’m not talking about driving through the lane for the Sixers. He’s actually really bad at that and most other tasks on a basketball court. However, Okafor once drove really fast over the Ben Franklin bridge and got pulled over. That’s the only noteworthy superlative I could apply to him. That’s about what we here at The Longest View think of Jah.

JJ Redick – Shooting. Period.
JJ doesn’t defend overly well, nor does he get to the basket all that well. But, that man can shoot. He has led the NBA in 3 point shooting percentage over the last 3 years and was the only player in the NBA this season to make over 200 3’s and also be in the Top 10 in 3 point shooting. I thought hard about giving him the title of Best White Player in the NBA, but Kristaps and Hayward are pretty unanimously better than him. Best Shooter isn’t too bad either.

Dario Saric – Celebrating Baskets Awkwardly
Most NBA players possess swagger and a great deal of finesse. They score with ease and gracefully glide back to the other end of the court on defense. That all goes out the window with our ol’ pal, “Dario Sharish.” There’s no denying that he gets super juiced when he scores in a clutch situation, but he surely has a tough time expressing himself in a normal way. In his defense, that’s exactly how I would expect a 6’10 moustached, Croatian man to celebrate. So that’s fair I guess. Rock on, homie.

dario 1

Ben Simmons – Creating “Fit Issues” With Other Players
Don’t get me wrong – I love Ben Simmons a lot. Like a lot. I think he is a transcendent talent with his crisp passing, projectable frame, great athleticism and upper echelon rebounding. However, he does create a bit of a situation where a lot of players around him need to fit in perfect ways. You’ll need a shifty guard to D up on point guards like John Wall and Kyrie and take a load of the ball handling duties in the half-court. You’ll need a sniper from 3 because Ben primarily operates in the lane and at this point possesses no threat of shooting from deep. You’ll also need someone to play the 4 on offense but be versatile on defense because Simmons’ size prevents him from guarding small guys. If the Sixers didn’t trade up for Fultz, every player from like 3-10 would have created some sort of “fit issue” with Simmons. Thankfully, we lucked out.

Nik Stauskas – Playing basketball in inclimate weather situations
Like many others on the team, Stauskas is a fan favorite but isn’t that great at any one attribute. What Stauskas is really good at is canning 3s in the rain. For anyone who doesn’t know, in the pre-draft process, Stauskas released a video on YouTube in which he shoots 70/76 from 3 at his house during a rain shower. Insert pun about making it rain or something. Though this 3-point line looks a little short for even NCAA players, this is a pretty impressive clip. I can definitively say that Nik Stauskas is the JJ Redick of shooting outside. Now THAT is a take.

 

So this pretty much covers every player on the current roster. I sadly had to leave off Poythress and Splitter, but they’re both free agents and, frankly, too irrelevant to write about. Poythress got into a fight with Davis Bertans last night, and that’s kind of cool.

Geez, that’s how deep into Summer League we are that I find a scuffle involving Alex Poythress the most interesting clip from that dumpster fire of a game. I hope to return next week with some more takes as hot as Stauskas in the rain.

With love,
ECT

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