Sixers legend Allen Iverson reacts to his infamous Tyronn Lue step over in 2001 NBA Finals

NBA Hall of Famer and former Sixers guard Allen Iverson recently looked back at the time he stepped over Tyronn Lue in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The underdog Philadelphia 76ers led by the 6’1, flashy, electric guard met the juggernaut Los Angeles Lakers led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, and from Game 1 in Staples Center (now known as the Crypto.com Arena), it was a slugfest that involved Iverson scoring over 40 points, forcing the game into overtime.

And it was in the overtime of that game where Allen Iverson, with less than a minute left to play and with the Sixers up by two, is guarded by future Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue. Iverson takes one dribble to the right, then does a step-back dribble between the legs and pulls up a midrange jumper in front of Lue, and swishes it. Ty Lue falls down, and Iverson simply steps over him.

“I can’t tell you what the feeling was like, I can’t duplicate it, I was in the moment,” Allen Iverson said on NBA TV’s documentary Everything But The Chip: The 2001 76ers. “I just know he fell in front of me. I don’t know how I even thought about stepping over him like that.”

The Sixers won that game, but the Lakers would go on to the series 4-1, en route to their second NBA Championship with Shaq and Kobe. Although they were the winner, this Finals will always be remembered for how dominant Iverson was in his prime despite his size. In those five games, he averaged 35.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

If Allen Iverson won these finals, he truly could have been in the GOAT conversation.

The post Sixers legend Allen Iverson reacts to his infamous Tyronn Lue step over in 2001 NBA Finals appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Ex-Sixers coach Larry Brown reveals 1 major Allen Iverson ‘frustration’ that could have made him the GOAT

Former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Larry Brown played an undeniably huge role in the career of the great Allen Iverson. These two clashed heads on more than a few occasions, but in the end, there’s no denying that Coach Brown was integral to the success AI achieved during his time with the Sixers and beyond.

Brown himself is well aware of the pivotal role he played in Iverson’s career early on. As a matter of fact, Brown admits that he may have been a bit too hard on his young superstar. However, the 82-year-old former coach believes to this day that AI could have achieved much more than he did if only his head were in the right place:

“I was kinda relentless to think that if I there was something I think you needed to work on, I wasn’t gonna let up, and that can be hard,” Brown said. “But my frustration with Allen was I didn’t think he did all the things necessary to play at the level I thought he could have.”

For his part, however, Allen Iverson remains convinced that he was doing all that he can:

“All I was trying to do was get coach to understand and believe that I was trying to play the right way,” Iverson said.

It was at this point that Larry Brown revealed his biggest regret about his relationship with Iverson. According to the former Sixers shot-caller, AI actually had a real shot of becoming the GOAT:

“If I had done a better job of making Allen understand, then we might be talking about the greatest player who ever played the game,” Brown stated.

That’s a pretty bold claim from Larry Brown. However, for anyone who was familiar with Iverson during his early days — both with his greatness on the basketball court as well as his notoriety off of it — then you might be inclined to believe that Brown may be on to something here.

The post Ex-Sixers coach Larry Brown reveals 1 major Allen Iverson ‘frustration’ that could have made him the GOAT appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Did Markelle Fultz just take a veiled shot at Sixers for lack of patience during lengthy injury spell?

The Philadelphia 76ers went all in on Markelle Fultz when they drafted him as the No. 1 overall pick in 2017. The highly-touted 6-foot-3 combo guard was supposed to be an integral part of The Process in Philly, but unfortunately, injuries early in his career prevented Fultz from being able to establish himself as a key member of that team.

Fultz ended up playing just 33 games in his first two seasons with the Sixers before the team decided to pull the plug on what they deemed a failed experiment. Fultz got dealt to the Orlando Magic, where he’s had a much better run in the four years he’s been with the squad.

In a recent interview, Fultz was asked if he thought he got enough support from the Sixers during his lengthy injury spells. The 25-year-old hesitated a bit before coming out with a diplomatic response to the loaded question:

“It was a weird situation,” Fultz said. “… I wish I had a chance to help them because I really feel like I could’ve helped them win if they were patient and let me get healthy. But at the same time, I’m thankful for everything that they did for me. Everything worked out good.”

As he said, Markelle Fultz is appreciative of everything the Sixers did for him during his two-year spell in Philadelphia. He also said that he understands the business side of the game, as well as why the Sixers ultimately decided to let him go. However, it is clear that Fultz holds a lot of regret during his time with the team. He’s also adamant that he could have helped the squad if only they were more patient with his situation.

At the end of the day, everything worked out relatively well for all parties involved. Fultz is coming off his best season as a pro with the Magic after playing 60 games this past season. He’s not exactly living up to the hype of being a No. 1 overall pick — at least not yet — but there’s no way you can say that this young man is a complete bust.

The post Did Markelle Fultz just take a veiled shot at Sixers for lack of patience during lengthy injury spell? appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Sources: Sixers eyeing Fred VanVleet as potential James Harden replacement

The Philadelphia 76ers are an organization that prides itself on being a championship-level team, yet they have had trouble advancing past the Eastern Conference Semifinals in recent years. After already making a change on the sideline by firing Doc Rivers and hiring former Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, the Sixers may very well be poised to make a change in their backcourt with James Harden’s free agency decision looming.

Harden owns a $35.64 million player option for the 2023-24 season that many around the league are anticipating him opting out of. Leaving the Sixers after just one full season and signing elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent is a very real possibility for Harden, which is why Philadelphia has begun giving thought as to who could replace the former league MVP. According to league sources close to the organization, Raptors All-Star guard Fred VanVleet has emerged as a potential replacement for Harden this offseason.

Fred VanVleet’s free agency

Fred VanVleet, Fred VanVleet free agency

VanVleet, who enters the offseason with a $22.82 million player option of his own, is expected to opt out of his deal with the Raptors to become a unrestricted free agent this summer. In one of the weaker free agent classes in recent memory, VanVleet projects to be one of the top talents available and arguably the best free agent guard given his age and skill set.

After a disappointing 41-41 season that resulted in them missing the playoffs, the Raptors enter this offseason knowing that change is on the horizon. There are no indications yet as to what Masai Ujiri and Toronto’s front office have planned in terms of making another championship-like push or going through some kind of rebuild or retool process, but VanVleet is currently in the prime of his career and ready to capitalize on his value.

VanVleet has proven to be one of the better playmakers and facilitators in the league, and he already won a title in Toronto in 2019. The Sixers have been looking to add championship-level talents to their roster, and sources say the Raptors guard is high atop the team’s target list should Harden leave Philadelphia this offseason. Leaving Toronto for Philadelphia is not that crazy of a scenario for the 29-year-old guard.

Fred VanVleet on Sixers hiring Nick Nurse

Philadelphia is in a better spot than Toronto to contend for a championship right now with Joel Embiid coming off an MVP season, and the connection VanVleet has with Nurse holds a lot of weight. VanVleet has always spoken highly of his former coach, which continued recently when he made an appearance on Stadium’s Inside the Association.

“He’s just a different voice that they haven’t heard before, something outside the box who is going to bring new ideas, creative ideas,” VanVleet said of Nurse joining the Sixers. “It will be a breath of fresh air for them and anytime you’re changing head coaches, that’s pretty much what you’re looking for. A new identity, a new voice for guys to kind of rally behind. … I think he’ll have some success. Hopefully not too much if I’m not there and I’m staying in Toronto, then we want him to fail. But other than that, I am happy that he landed on his feet.”

VanVleet went on to claim that the bond he shares with his former coach from the five seasons they spent together in Toronto and the championship they won in 2019 is a “lifelong thing.”

How would Sixers land Fred VanVleet?

The idea of the Sixers replacing Harden with VanVleet this offseason is certainly a move that would raise many eyebrows across the league. VanVleet is a proven star who can play with or without the ball in his hands, and he’s a two-way guard who already knows Nurse’s system. Alongside guard Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers would have a very steady backcourt duo that would be comfortable playing off of Embiid.

Pursuing the Raptors All-Star in free agency is not as easy as it may sound, as the Sixers already carry a hefty payroll. Not including Harden’s player option for next season, Philadelphia’s total salaries exceeds $128 million, just about $6 million below the salary cap of $134 million. Unless they were to move contracts around prior to the start of free agency, the Sixers may not have the ability to sign VanVleet outright, making a sign-and-trade with the Raptors the most likely path to them landing him this offseason.

P.J. Tucker is set to make $11 million next season before having a player option next summer, while Tobias Harris is entering the final year of his contract valued at $39.2 million. Both players would be key options for the Sixers to potentially deal in a sign-and-trade to make the money work. De’Anthony Melton at $8 million and Furkan Korkmaz at $5.3 million are two other cost-saving options as well.

Other Fred VanVleet suitors

Fred VanVleet, Fred VanVleet free agency

Projected to earn over $30 million annually in a new contract this offseason, VanVleet will have other suitors in free agency, assuming he does opt out of his contract with Toronto. The Orlando Magic have long been linked to VanVleet, while the Houston Rockets are another team to watch entering the offseason. Harden returning to the Rockets may very well open the door for the Sixers to pursue VanVleet, but Houston has options seeing as they will have close to $50 million in cap space.

While unlikely at this time, the San Antonio Spurs are another team that could sneak into the VanVleet sweepstakes. With Victor Wembanyama coming into San Antonio as the top overall pick, the Spurs could very well look to escalate their rebuild with a big-name free agent addition. The Spurs can open up close to $40 million in cap space this offseason.

Sixers have plenty of urgency

Another season ending in playoff disappointment for the 76ers has created a sense of urgency within the organization. Winning is the only thing on the minds of president Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand, which is why they are preparing for all scenarios as free agency rapidly approaches. It is worth noting that the Sixers would like to retain their current star in Harden, so that remains their priority entering the offseason.

This mindset is not necessarily shared, though, as Harden departing the City of Brotherly Love this offseason remains a strong possibility. The Sixers’ financial situation is a little complicated, but they do have the ability to bring in a player like VanVleet on a new four-year, $120-130 million contract this offseason if they are willing to pay the taxes associated with such move.

The Sixers have not advanced past the Eastern Conference Semifinals since 2001 and have lost in this round of the playoffs five of the last six seasons. Ending this drought and making the conference finals is something Philadelphia is looking to do with immediate urgency, especially with Embiid playing the best basketball out of any player in the entire NBA.

The post Sources: Sixers eyeing Fred VanVleet as potential James Harden replacement appeared first on ClutchPoints.

3 reasons Nick Nurse is the right coach for Sixers

Nick Nurse is slated to be the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. After coaching against them for years with the Toronto Raptors (including twice in the playoffs), Nurse is teaming up with Joel Embiid and aiming to get the Sixers over the hump.

Nurse pitched the Sixers a plan to win with Embiid, choosing to coach Philly over the Phoenix Suns and pulling his name from consideration from the Milwaukee Bucks. Philly has some work to do, but the fact that Nurse chose them when he could have gone to other contenders is a good sign.

While Nurse is far from the perfect coach, he has qualities and a resumé that should inspire optimism. Here are three reasons why Nick Nurse is the right head coach for the Sixers.

3. Track record of success

The 2019 championship is the most significant accomplishment that shows Nurse is a winner. Chalking up that run to Kawhi Leonard’s brilliance is understandable, given how good he was during those playoffs but Nurse’s impact cannot be overlooked. From walling up the paint against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Eastern Conference Finals to going to the box-and-one defense against Stephen Curry and playing the Kyle Lowry-Fred VanVleet duo more in the Finals, Nurse implemented the right strategies along the way.

After losing Leonard (and another starter in, Danny Green) in 2019 free agency, Nurse kept the Raptors highly competitive. Their winning percentage in the regular season improved as he helped turn them into a defensive juggernaut that made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. His efforts led to him winning the Coach of the Year award. The Raptors team that the Sixers beat in the 2022 playoffs were also overachievers.

That defense was predicated heavily on swarming around the perimeter to contest shots, which could be very helpful for a Sixers team deficient of strong on-ball stoppers. Nurse’s teams have historically been great at creating live-ball turnovers, which could spur improvement in transition for Philly. Plus, having an elite rim protector like Embiid could allow Nurse to push other buttons.

Nurse’s final year with the Raptors was disappointing on many accounts. But a fresh start with the Sixers could be what he needs to prove once again that he is one of the better coaches the NBA has to offer.

2. Offensive philosophy that should unlock Sixers

While the Raptors’ half-court offenses of the last few seasons were pretty bad, that can partly be attributed to their personnel, namely the lack of perimeter shooters. Nurse is not blameless for their struggles, but Embiid gives him the chance to craft something better and more potent. He hasn’t ever worked with a scorer of this caliber (though, again, Leonard was pretty darn good). James Harden would give him a special playmaker, and should he depart for the Houston Rockets, Nurse will still have another scoring dynamo in Tyrese Maxey.

The Sixers have to get more motion in their offense. The lack of ball movement and off-ball actions left them without another gear to tap into against a great defensive team. Nurse’s offenses are less iso-centric and more read-and-react, which could benefit Philly considerably so long as they put the right personnel in place around Embiid. For his part, Embiid will also have to be willing to iso less and do more playmaking and advantage-creating for his teammates.

While Nick Nurse’s Raptors became more known for defense, he came up through the coaching ranks as more of an offensive mind. Working with the G League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers (the Houston Rockets’ affiliate), he installed high-efficiency shots into his offense as a testing lab for the big-league club.

The Raptors devolved into a mid-range-heavy team the last few years but were near the top of the league in the frequency of shots at the rim and from three in Nurse’s first few years. Their frequency of corner threes has also been relatively high (hello, P.J. Tucker). With better pieces to work with, there is a reason to believe that Nurse can build an offense that can withstand the might of playoff defenses.

1. Blend of tactics and character

Some coaches are known more for being tactically intelligent, making the proper adjustments and crafting the most optimal game plans. Others are known for connecting well with their players or otherwise getting the most out of them. Nick Nurse has a well-deserved reputation in the former and a reputation in the latter that…is more complicated.

Nurse has never been afraid to go to different tactics from game to game. But one other thing he has rarely been afraid to do is calling out players publicly, which always has the potential to disunite a locker room. He admitted that the team had a disconnect that they couldn’t overcome, dooming their 2022-23 season. Being brutally honest is a tricky tightrope to balance on but it is one that Philly seemingly desires to figure out.

Throughout last season, coaches and players alike discussed the importance of P.J. Tucker’s vocal leadership. During the playoffs, the Sixers had a film session where they got down to brass tacks and said what had to be said. Nurse should fit right in, as Philly can’t afford to cover up the unpleasant truth that their window of opportunity is in jeopardy. But he will also have to earn the players’ trust.

If there’s any part of Nurse’s philosophy that seems to not make him a good fit with the Sixers, it’s his rotations. In each of the last three seasons, the Raptors starters played more minutes per game than any other team’s starters. VanVleet and Pascal Siakam have been near the top of the leaderboard among players in that category. Embiid’s injury history leads to obvious concerns, but it should be noted that Leonard was able to effectively load-manage under Nurse. One would think he would make the same considerations for Embiid and Harden, should he stay.

Daryl Morey said that the primary factors for candidates in the Sixers’ search were accountability, leadership, tactics and the ability to maintain relationships with star players. Nurse seems to, for the most part, check all the boxes. Championship pedigree can be a cliche, but it can also have big impacts on teams that lack it. The Sixers really lack it — and Nurse is equipped to lead the change.

Last year, he said his coaching philosophy is predicated on winning above all else, developing and empowering his players and having the X’s and O’s in place to put them in the right spots. Actions speak louder than words, but if Nick Nurse truly practices what he preaches while learning from his mistakes in Toronto, he could be a great coach for the Sixers.

The post 3 reasons Nick Nurse is the right coach for Sixers appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Stephen A. Smith drops Doc Rivers truth bomb after Sixers’ hiring of Nick Nurse

The Philadelphia 76ers have their new head coach. After firing Doc Rivers a few weeks ago, the Sixers have chosen former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse to lead them. Doc’s firing could be seen from a mile away: after yet another second-round exit, changes had to be made. Many were under the impression that the players “forced out” Rivers. As it turns out, though, Stephen A. Smith thinks that that’s not necessarily the case. He detailed his thoughts on First Take.

“In fairness to James Harden & others of the world… believing that he got Doc Rivers fired. There are a plethora of people associated with the Sixers franchise who are not too fond of Doc Rivers and are happy that he is gone.”

Doc Rivers is one of the most polarizing coaches in NBA history. He’s regarded by some as one of the best coaches of all-time, mainly due to his work with the 2008 Celtics. However, over the last few years, the opinion on Rivers has soured significantly. His “choking” reputation certainly doesn’t help: the Sixers’ blown 3-2 lead against the Celtics arguably cost him his job.

 

Why would anyone in the Sixers hate Rivers? We never really know what’s going on behind the scenes. However, it could be some players voicing their frustrations at the head coach. Rivers is known to publicly call out his players, much to the dismay of fans. Perhaps that rubbed some people off the wrong way.

Whatever the reason is, that’s now water under the bridge. The Sixers are moving on from Doc Rivers and replacing him with Nick Nurse. Nurse, ironically, is responsible for one of the many Philly second-round exits (before Doc was hired). Can the former Sixers tormentor work his magic in Philly and help them finally get over the hump?

The post Stephen A. Smith drops Doc Rivers truth bomb after Sixers’ hiring of Nick Nurse appeared first on ClutchPoints.

NBA fans can’t stop the Joel Embiid knee jokes after Sixers hire Nick Nurse

While a lot of the Philadelphia 76ers faithful love the Nick Nurse hiring, some NBA fans couldn’t help but make jokes about the decision and how it will impact Joel Embiid.

The biggest reason for the trolling, of course, is Nurse’s minutes distribution for his team … or the lack thereof. During his time with the Toronto Raptors, the 55-year-old head coach’s rotation eventually grew thin. He ended up giving his key guys plenty of minutes, which many can see happening with Embiid in Philly.

In the 2022-23 season, Raptors forward Pascal Siakam actually led the league in minutes per game with 37.4. Fred VanVleet was fifth on the list with 36.7. There are two more Toronto players in the Top 30, with OG Anunoby (35.6) at no. 16 and Scottie Barnes (34.8) at no. 37. Embiid was no. 30 with 34.6 minutes per game under Doc Rivers last campaign.

Of course, many are wondering if Embiid is ready for such an increased workload with Nurse at the helm. And they got the knee jokes to accompany their questions.

All jokes aside, there’s definitely a reason for Sixers fans to be concerned about Nick Nurse’s game management and how it will affect Joel Embiid. Considering Embiid’s injury history, it might not be a good idea to further increase his minutes.

Nurse is more likely well aware of that, of course. Nonetheless, given the fact that he demands so much from his players, it won’t be a surprise if we still see a bump in Embiid’s minutes in 2023-24.

Good luck Embiid … and take care of your knee!

The post NBA fans can’t stop the Joel Embiid knee jokes after Sixers hire Nick Nurse appeared first on ClutchPoints.

RUMOR: Sixers’ Joel Embiid, Nick Nurse had meeting before head coach hire

With the Philadelphia 76ers reportedly hiring a new head coach in Nick Nurse, attention immediately turned to how the hiring would be received by superstar Joel Embiid. Embiid previously told Nurse, who used to coach the Toronto Raptors, to “stop b**ching about calls” during the 76ers-Raptors 2022 playoff series. The good news for Philadelphia is that Embiid and Nurse reportedly had a meeting before the hire, per Keith Pompey.

Nurse had previously coached the Raptors, working as an assistant from 2013-2018 before taking over head coaching duties for the 2018-2019 season. Toronto of course went on to win the championship that season. He’s done a respectable job ever since, but the team decided it was time to move on following the 2022-23 campaign.

Nurse will be in for a challenge with the Sixers. Philadelphia is a team hungry for a championship. Although the 76ers enjoyed a strong 2022-23 season, with Joel Embiid winning the NBA MVP, their inability to reach the NBA Finals felt like a letdown. It ultimately led to the team moving on from Doc Rivers. The Sixers are hopeful that Nurse can re-create his magic from the 2018-19 season and lead Philly to a Finals victory in his first season with the team.

James Harden’s future will play a pivotal role in determining how well the 76ers perform. If the Sixers manage to retain Harden, they should be able to make another deep run next season. However, nothing is guaranteed. It will be interesting to see how Nurse fares in his first season with the 76ers.

The post RUMOR: Sixers’ Joel Embiid, Nick Nurse had meeting before head coach hire appeared first on ClutchPoints.

Fred VanVleet reacts to Nick Nurse joining Sixers as head coach

It didn’t take long for one of Nick Nurse’s former players with the Toronto Raptors to react to him becoming the next Philadelphia 76ers head coach. Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet quote tweeted the breaking news that the Sixers were hiring Nurse, clearly congratulating his former head coach with the Toronto.

After the Raptors’ season ended, it became clear that Toronto was going to part ways with Nurse. Fred VanVleet openly supported Nurse, saying that he loved playing for his coach. The Sixers hired one of the most coveted names on the market.

VanVleet’s NBA career took off when Nurse became the Raptors’ coach. VanVleet didn’t start a single game during his first two years in Toronto. He averaged 2.9 points per game as a rookie and 8.6 points in his second season. With Nurse at the helm in his third year, VanVleet posted career-highs of 11.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. The guard was one of the Raptors’ most valuable players in the 2019 NBA Finals.

Nurse led the Raptors to their first-ever championship as a rookie head coach. During its title defense, Toronto pushed the Boston Celtics to seven games in a second-round playoff series in the NBA bubble.

The Raptors have missed the playoffs in two of the last years. The Chicago Bulls eliminated Toronto in the first round of the 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament.

There’s a chance that VanVleet will also leave the Raptors this offseason. The point guard is headed for unrestricted free agency. There have been rumors that VanVleet could be a target of the Orlando Magic.

The Raptors turned down the chance to move VanVleet at the 2023 NBA trade deadline.

The post Fred VanVleet reacts to Nick Nurse joining Sixers as head coach appeared first on ClutchPoints.

The real reason why Nick Nurse signed with Sixers, snubbed Bucks, Suns

Nick Nurse was on the running to become the head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks or Phoenix Suns as well, but he ultimately chose to take the job with the Philadelphia 76ers. And for good reason.

Apparently, Nurse couldn’t refuse the opportunity to coach the reigning MVP in Joel Embiid, despite the fact that he has some sort of not-so-positive history with the big man. His connection with Daryl Morey also played a role in the decision.

To recall, before Nurse became an assistant and eventually the head coach for the Toronto Raptors, he coached the Rio Grande Valley Vipers from 2011 to 2013. The Vipers are the G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, which at the time had Morey as their general manager.

“Nurse’s desire to coach MVP Joel Embiid and his history with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey played a significant part in his decision to commit to a deal with Philadelphia, sources said. Nurse separated himself in the interview process, selling a vision for the Sixers centered on Embiid,” Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wrote on Nurse’s move to accept the Sixers job.

As mentioned, Nick Nurse also received interest from the Bucks and the Suns, who fired Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams, respectively, after their 2023 playoff disappointments. Nurse took himself out of the Milwaukee coaching race, and while Phoenix engaged with him and his agent, the 55-year-old tactician ended up choosing Philly.

All eyes will be on Nurse now as he looks to get the Sixers over the hump in the postseason. It will also be interesting to see the “vision” for Embiid that he sold to the team to get the coaching gig.

The post The real reason why Nick Nurse signed with Sixers, snubbed Bucks, Suns appeared first on ClutchPoints.