Dec 16 2013

The True Professionals

Eliminating the noise is part of the professional athlete’s job description. Trade rumors, contract talk, locker room chemistry —  these are all tenants of “The Noise” that I am sure most athletes simply laugh off.

But as annual trade deadlines near, the volume is turned up, and even the most hardened athletes can get rattled. We know this isn’t a case of simply not reading the newspaper for a few days. Most NBA players are social media savvy; more noise is seeping through to these guys than ever before.

On Friday, Zach Randolph weighed in on what it’s like being involved in trade rumors.

“(Y)eah, it bothers me. It hurts a little bit. I can’t deny that. But it goes to show you that there ain’t no loyalty in this game. It seems like you only get loyalty in certain organizations. You see it in winning organizations like the Spurs, the Lakers, the Heat.

“The truth is there ain’t no loyalty or love, except in certain organizations where they keep players around, value them. Only a very few organizations seem like they want to keep players around to retire there. Hey, everybody gets traded. It’s part of the league, part of the life. I’ve been traded a bunch of times.”

Recent reports have Thaddeus Young and/or Spencer Hawes on the move to Houston and/or possibly a third team. Evan Turner’s name has surely come up in trade discussions and with new management, new philosophies, new coaches, no one is safe on Philly’s roster. But even with that, Evan Turner is playing his best ball. Spencer Hawes is making a case for the Most Improved Player award. Thaddeus Young is as solid as ever.

The Sixers haven’t played a guy older than 25 this season. They’re extremely young, prone to maddening errors and mental laspes. And the effort is still amounting to losses. Lots of them. But they’ve been professionals. Up to this point, they’ve continued to eliminate the noise. Can we really ask for anything more?

Speaking of trade rumors, tonight’s opponent, the Brooklyn Nets, are still rumored to be interested in point guard Kyle Lowry. However, according reports, GM Billy King has refused to part with a first round pick in any potential deal. Here are three other things to keep an eye on tonight:

Health issues for Brooklyn: Deron Williams is back in the starting lineup after missing extended time with ankle issues. In his last three games, Williams is averaging 20.7 points on 55.3 percent shooting. Brook Lopez is questionable after turning his left ankle against the Clippers. He missed Friday night’s loss to the Pistons.

The Future is Now? According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, the Sixers are considering pairing MCW with Tony Wroten in the backcourt. Wroten indicated that Brown wants to play both point guards together, but also mentioned that this doesn’t necessarily mean they are both going to start. Something to keep an eye on when MCW suits up.

Orton Suspended: The NBA suspended Sixers reserve, Daniel Orton for throwing an elbow after being knocked to the floor by Meyers Leonard. Leonard was also suspended one game. Orton is averaging 4 minutes a game in his last five games, so no big loss.