NBA

76ers president Morey feeling good about title chances after Hill acquisition, addresses Lowry rumours

By Sports Desk March 25, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said he is feeling "very good" about the team's championship chances after the Eastern Conference leaders acquired George Hill.

The 76ers were active on Thursday's NBA trade deadline, dealing for veteran guard Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal.

Ignas Brazdeikis also arrived from the New York Knicks as the 76ers sent Tony Bradley and two second-round picks (2025 and 2026) to Oklahoma City and Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, the rights to Emir Preldzic, a 2021 second-round pick and the Miami Heat's 2024 second-round pick to New York.

The 76ers have not won the NBA Finals since 1983, but Doc Rivers' Philadelphia top the Eastern Conference this season in their pursuit of a drought-ending championship.

"I think we feel very good about the roster we have and about our chances to win the championship," Morey told the media after acquiring Hill.

"I think Doc had some comments recently about looking for a two-way guard and it was one of very few needs for us, and that’s what we got with George. A veteran two-way guard who can shoot at a very high level, who can defend at a high level."

Hill – in his 13th NBA season – has appeared in 14 games (all starts) with the Thunder in 2020-21, averaging 11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 26.3 minutes per game.

The 34-year-old has shot 50.8 per cent from the field, 38.6 per cent from three-point range since joining the Thunder from the Milwaukee Bucks at the start of the season.

Hill has a career average of 11.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 27.7 minutes per contest as he prepares to join forces with All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia.

However, Hill – who has also played for the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers – has been sidelined since January after undergoing a surgical procedure on his right thumb.

"I don't want to give a timeline, it's not long," Morey said. "He had an issue where he chose to have surgery on it so that it'll never be an issue again.

"Once he's back, it's something that will never bother him again. So we're very optimistic about him for the future."

The 76ers, meanwhile, were reportedly in the mix to deal for Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry on Thursday.

Lowry was linked with the 76ers, Heat and champions the Los Angeles Lakers before Toronto opted to retain the franchise favourite.

Asked about NBA champion Lowry, Morey told reporters: "I can't specifically address a player on another team. Obviously at the trade deadline you have lots of options that were out there.

"All I can say is we're very excited about the option we ended up with. I think we did the deal about two hours before the deadline and we took an option that we thought really upgraded our team this year on both ends and at the same time kept all our optionality in the future."

Related items

  • Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak

    Laurent Courtois has accepted that it is on him to find a winning formula as CF Montreal look to snap their winless run against Toronto FC.

    Montreal were beaten 3-1 by Columbus Crew in midweek and are now without a victory in six games in all competitions.

    That includes a three-game losing streak in MLS, leaving them 13th in the Eastern Conference, and Courtois is eager to get back on track.

    "It's up to me to find the winning formulas and discern the phases of the game," head coach Courtois said after the loss to Columbus.

    "We have to grit our teeth and find solutions. The difficult times we are going through help me identify my group. I want to know the players better. 

    "From all the negative aspects we can observe, I can identify a few individual aspects to improve the game or the team itself."

    Monreal's rivals Toronto have themselves lost back-to-back games ahead of Saturday's Canadian Classique at BMO Field.

    Nashville SC scored twice late on to snatch a 2-0 win in the Reds' most recent match, but acting head coach Jason deVos admits there can be no excuses.

    "The last ten minutes, two mistakes cost us and that's the cruelty of football sometimes - that it's a 90-minute match and you need to put in a 90-minute performance in," he said. 

    "The players are aware of that. They know where the growth areas are for us as a team."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi missed the loss to Nashville but will hope to start this weekend in a fixture he has fond memories of. 

    The Italian has scored in each of his two home games against Montreal, making him the third Toronto player to score in two successive home games against them after Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

    Montreal - Joel Waterman

    Montreal have conceded three or more goals five times across their 12 MLS games this season, which is tied with San Jose Earthquakes for the most in MLS.

    They quite simply need to sharpen up at the back, with Joel Waterman needing to step up and hope others around him also do so.. The centre-back led the way for interceptions (three) and clearances (four) against Columbus, yet it was still not enough.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Montreal have won five successive matches against Toronto, following a run of neither side ever winning more than three on the spin in this fixture.

    Toronto have won seven and drawn one of their eight matches in which they have held opponents under two goals since September, while they have lost all 13 in which they have shipped two or more.

    Keeping the opposition quiet is therefore key, and this could present a chance to do just that against a Montreal side with fewer points (five) than any side in MLS since mid-March.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

  • New England Revolution v Philadelphia Union: Porter urges players to cut out errors New England Revolution v Philadelphia Union: Porter urges players to cut out errors

    Caleb Porter accepts New England Revolution must cut out the individual errors if they are to return to winning ways against Philadelphia Union.

    The Revs went down 4-2 to New York Red Bulls last time out to make it four defeats in their last five games, and eight losses in 11 overall this season in MLS.

    New England are bottom of the Eastern Conference, but Porter hopes lessons have been learned ahead of hosting Philadelphia on Saturday.

    "Three of the four [goals NYRB scored] were individual mistakes that are easily correctable," Porter told The Blazing Musket. "We've gone to the training ground and corrected a few of those situation.

    "But it's just individuals in those moments have to be better. It wasn't a bad team-defending performance, but three of the four goals we gave up were routine."

    The Union have double the number of points compared to their opponents, having played one game more, as they occupy ninth place in the East.

    The Us are themselves not in great form, though, as they lost 2-1 at home to New York City FC in their most recent game - a contest overshadowed by a raccoon that entered the field. 

    They have just two points from the past 18 on offer, meanwhile, and head coach Jim Curtin admits it is on him and his players to turn things around.

    "The guys fight until the end, and we have to find a way to get out of this," Curtin said. "We're the only people that are going to get us out of it. 

    "The people in that locker room, the coaches, the players, they recognise that. They've shown they can beat anybody, and we're the only ones that can dig us out of this now."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New England Revolution - Carles Gil

    Gil got the Revs temporarily on level terms against New York Red Bulls, with that his 100th regular-season goal contribution in MLS. That makes the Revs' attacking midfielder the seventh European player to reach that milestone, and the second Spaniard after David Villa.

    Philadelphia Union - Julian Carranza

    Carranza was on target for the Union in their midweek loss to New York City, coming from one of nine attempts he had on target. The former Argentina age-grade international has now registered four-or-more shots in four MLS career matches.

    To put that in perspective, the two other players to have done so in the club's history - Conor Casey and Andrew Wenger - have done so in a combined two games (one each).

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Philadelphia have won 12 matches against the Revs across all MLS competitions, which includes MLS is Back, since 2018 - their best return against any single opponent across that period.

    New England's tally of seven points from their opening 11 games is their worst-such return at this stage of a campaign in club history, with only two out of 17 teams in the post-shootout era (since 2000) managing to reach the playoffs from this position.

    However, there is some hope for them this weekend as the Union's one point across their past five matches is their fewest across any five-game span within a single season since April 2017.


    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New England Revolution - 36.1%
    Draw - 28.8%
    Philadelphia Union - 35.1%

  • Conley return completes Timberwolves as they force Nuggets decider Conley return completes Timberwolves as they force Nuggets decider

    Mike Conley Jr. said his return had completed the Minnesota Timberwolves after they crushed the Denver Nuggets to force a Game 7 in the teams' Western Conference semifinal series.

    The Nuggets had the chance to eliminate the Timberwolves at Target Center on Thursday after going 3-2 up in the series, but the hosts roared back to tie things up with a 115-70 rout.

    Anthony Edwards led the way with 27 points and Jaden McDaniels added 21 on 8-of-10 shooting, with the Timberwolves' win the second-largest NBA Playoff victory by a team facing elimination in history.

    Edwards put the team's improvement down to the return of guard Conley, who missed Game 5 after suffering from soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

    Asked what had changed for Minnesota, Edwards said: "We got Mike Conley back. That was it."

    Conley said: "Obviously I wanted to play the last game. I just couldn't move at all. Tonight it was a no-brainer. 

    "I was going to try to find a way. We're just better when we're a complete team."

    MVP Nikola Jokic had 22 points and nine rebounds for the defending champions, who were stunned by a 20-0 first-quarter run from the third-seeded Timberwolves. 

    Asked how Denver would look to forget about the loss, Jokic said: "I think we shouldn't.

    "I think we need to let it sink in. It's a great loss. They destroyed us, and we should learn from it."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.