Liberty Ballers Nightcap: Celtics in a close one, Evan Turner joins the Lowe Post, Sixers trivia

Q&A with our David Early (BehindCurve)

Who is in more trouble, the Rockets or the Celtics?

I opened the year giving the Celts about a ~35% chance to make the finals and the Rockets ~14% and I’ve lowered them both. I’d say the Rockets have since received a larger decrease in my book. Boston is very antifragile. They’re going to keep improving as Kyrie and Hayward find their legs and their kids develop. It’s Houston. They’ll be lucky to win 51 games now and could very well get smoked by GSW if they don’t make a splash trade.

Which NBA team has surprised you most so far?

Good question because there have been a lot. My top candidates are the Wiz, The Jazz, Houston, The Kings, Minnesota having Butler active and still stinking… If I had to pick one, I’m going with Washington. Like most, I was penciling them into the playoffs somewhere in the tier after Boston, Toronto, Milwaukee, Philly; maybe just behind Indiana or even the Heat, especially with the idea that Miami might acquire Jimmy Butler. But holy mackerel. They’re abysmal and I don’t really understand it yet and I don’t really even care to. I just kind of like that it’s happening and hope they blow it up and the Sixers can capitalize. Bradley Beal would make a mighty exciting bell-ringer.

Which NBA player has surprised you most so far?

The most surprising player in the NBA so far has been Zach Lavine. I was fairly confident he wasn’t actually good, highly inefficient and a defensive liability. He’s proving he can at least be a volume scorer and keep the Bulls in some easier games. Joel being 2nd in the NBA in total points scored (this one won’t last the night) is pretty awesome. Both he and Nikola Jokic appear to have taken leaps. Jokic appearing like a good defensive player, at least in certain lineups with Harris and Millsap is exciting. We’ll see if he can keep it up, or maintain some better splits without Millsap.

Biggest positive from Markelle Fultz?

Fultz’s biggest positive has been his defense. He’s learning on the fly and applying his learning to complement his athleticism. 20 year olds often get smoked on that end and he has too. But there exists within him a good defensive player and he and Brett are finding it together. He was part of some awesome team D vs Indy. Great to see.

Rate Brett Brown’s performance this season on a scale of 1 to 10

I give Brett an 8.0 as a coach. He made a wonderful decision in my book to sacrifice wins for upside. Of course starting Fultz wasn’t going to help win home court and of course it’s your best chance to unleash his inner scoring savage. He made that move and has stuck with it and tinkered with lineups to keep everyone in rhythm. Now if I could grade him for his role in GM I’d knock him some points because he often doesn’t have good floor spacing. But he’s working well with what he’s got. I’d like him to get Ben and Joel rolling to the hoop much much more. He needs to watch some Houston and some less Spurs. I know Pop is his guy but it’s time.

Tweet of the Night

NBA Scores

Thunder 98, Rockets 80

On Now

Celtics @ Suns

  • The Celtis were getting blown out at one point in this game, and then made a strong push to take it to overtime. In any event, they’ll lose to a bad team or need OT to beat them. If there’s anything to make the Sixers’ slow start more swallowable, it’s Celtics fans’ hysteria.

Clippers @ Blazers

Bucks @ Warriors

Today on Liberty Ballers

Liberty Ballers Mailbag

Evan Turner — yes, Evan Turner

Former Sixers no. 2 overall pick Evan Turner joined Zach Lowe for the latest episode of the Lowe Post, and talked a bit about his time in Philadelphia.

On Sixers/Bulls playoff series in 2012 and Derrick Rose’s injury:

I remember D-Rose going down, he was close to working on a triple-double. I remember him going down grabbing his knee, I remember saying a prayer like “please don’t let him be hurt” […] Because he didn’t get up.

I remember leading up to it, it’s coming down to like the last hour to see who were going to play because we were the 8th seed. (Lowe interjects “Oh that’s right, that was a crazy last day of the season!”) It was either going to be the Heat or the Bulls. Three days before that people were like “who would you rather play, what if you play the Bulls?” I said, “Well that means we would be dodging a harder team.” What I meant by that was, at that time, they had Chris Bosh, a stretch big. On top of that, we played them the past few years and didn’t really have much success with them because of the way he can stretch the floor and during that time, y’know Chris Bosh, there wasn’t many people out there jabbin’, you know what I’m sayin’? Shooting that long of a shot. So to us that match-up problem, that wasn’t a good match-up for us. Now, we played the Bulls a couple times over that two-year stretch, and we beat them.

Turner also mentioned how Stone Cold Steve Austin was his favorite wrestling action figure. Stone Cold was a hero to me growing up, but my most prized action figure was Shawn Michaels, no question.

What I’m Drinking: Otter Creek Brewing Co.’s Free Flow IPA – Lots of flavor, and tastes like it just finished brewing. I’ve had better, but a solid choice. 3.5/5

What I’m listening to: Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy – I purchased Houses of the Holy on vinyl, and it’s such a damn good album, maybe their best. I play it over, and over, and over.

What I’m reading: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham – As I do more adulting, I’ve become interested in investing, and I was told this book was where I should start learning. Graham’s dismissive attitude toward snake-oil-salesmen investors, er speculators, makes for an entertaining read for a book that’s an educational tool. Also, if anyone wants to point me in the right direction as I continue to prepare myself for investing, I’d appreciate it.

Trivia Question

Joel Embiid is currently averaging 27.7 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Only three other Sixers have averaged at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists per game for a season. Who are they? Bonus points if you can name who has done it the most seasons. Answer will come on the next Nightcap. No cheating.

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