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chenyan94 Aug 10
Since the heady days of Steve Nash came to an end Dallas Goedert Color Rush Jersey , there have been few signs of joy from a dwindling fan base that watched the Phoenix Suns tumble to the bottom of the NBA standings and miss the playoffs for the eighth year in a row.

Then came the announcement that Deandre Ayton would go to the Suns with the first overall pick. A huge cheer went up from the several thousand fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Thursday night for the draft party. General manager Ryan McDonough, owner Robert Sarver and coach Igor Kokoskov came out of their meeting room to watch and bask in that rare moment of sheer joy from the fans.

”It was a pretty special moment for our franchise,” McDonough said.

Not only that, but McDonough engineered a last-minute trade for swingman Mikal Bridges of Villanova, the 10th pick. It was a spendy move because Philadelphia demanded and got Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick. But the Suns are weary of stockpiling assets. It’s time to cash in, they figured, and did it with that trade.

”We weighed the pros and cons of trading it heavily and carefully,” McDonough said. ”We were only going to put it in play if we had a chance to get a special player and that’s how we feel about McKell.”

All four of the Suns’ picks showed up on a crowded dais in Phoenix on Friday – Ayton, Bridges, French point guard Elie Okobo (chosen 31st) and forward George King of Colorado (the 59th selection).

The 7-foot-1 Ayton towered over the others, in a white unbuttoned collared shirt and a sharp blue suit http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-brandon-parker-jersey , but he looked and sounded a bit weary from the whirlwind of being the No. 1 draft pick. His only sleep lately, he said, was a couple of hours on the plane ride from New York on Tuesday.

”I’m just excited to finally get a jersey on and be able to play five-on-five again,” Ayton said.

Ayton had been the frontrunner for the No. 1 pick ever since the draft lottery and any doubts were erased when he went through an individual workout with the Suns, the only team which he did so.

McDonough said that Ayton’s workout ”in and of itself was as impressive as I’ve ever seen in my 16 drafts in the NBA.”

Ayton is seen as strictly a center, so how does he fit in the modern style of the NBA, when center plays is diminished and players are essentially interchangeable, is a question. Ayton replied that he’s no ordinary center.

”I don’t like it when people think I’m just a guy down low,” he said. ”They haven’t watched me shoot the basketball.”

Ayton and Bridges say they got to know each other well at the college awards ceremony in Los Angeles but never figured they’d be on the same team.

”It’s like I’ve known him my whole life,” Bridges said.

Now comes the hard work, molding a team with Ayton Josh Rosen Color Rush Jersey , Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. A billboard of those three already has been erected downtown.

The Suns, so bad for so long, seem on the brink of being relevant.

”We’re very hungry,” Ayton said. ”I think the great team chemistry and the work ethic that we have, especially us guys coming in, we’re going to bring it to the next level. We’ve got young lets. We can run all day. … We can really start a winning legacy.”

And Ayton is the reason for the sudden leap in optimism, even though he won’t turn 20 until next month.

”I embrace it a lot,” he said of the expectations placed upon him. ”Through my career I’ve always had that on my shoulder, the expectations. I represent a whole nation (Bahamas) I just do that the best that I can and just help this community start over and be the best player I can possibly be. I just want to be the best great player.”

Kokoskov says Ayton possesses ”a unique talent for the decades.”

Ayton said he wants ”to be the best person on and off the court.”

Now the Suns move on to the next phase. Free agency starts July 1 and McDonough wants some veteran players to add to this very young core. He said the team should have $15 million to $20 million to spend.

”We were aggressive last night with the picks and the trade up to get Mikal,” McDonough said. ”We’re going to continue to be aggressive for the next couple of weeks in free agency. We’ve got some money to spend and we’re looking to spend it on the best players we can get.”

LeBron James pulled Ben Simmons in for a hug, and smiled and laughed in a brief chat with Joel Embiid.

Allen Iverson watched the scene with a big grin and high-fived a few fans.

The 76ers of the past and present sure loved LeBron – but is that appreciation enough to make him a Sixer in the future?

Simmons topped James in a triple-double battle to lead the 76ers to their 13th straight win in their biggest game in six years http://www.falconsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-ito-smith-jersey , 132-130 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

With a buzz in the city over the Sixers that hasn’t been felt since the pre-Process days, they romped to a 30-point lead in the first half and scored 78 points at the break.

”You get down 30 in the postseason, that can lose you a series,” James said.

It cost the Cavs in Philly.

Simmons had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists and James, one of his mentors, had 44 points (17-of-29 shooting), 11 assists and 11 rebounds, bringing the Cavaliers to the brink of an epic comeback.

”He’s a student of the game. He wants to be great,” James said.

The Sixers (49-30) moved into third place in the Eastern Conference over the Cavaliers (49-31).

Perhaps the Cavs were fatigued from rallying from 17-points down to win Thursday against Washington. Whatever the reason, they were in a funk from the start – James even missed a dunk.

James suddenly remembered in the second half he needed to audition his stuff for his potential summer suitor. He had a chance to tie the game when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 1.9 seconds left. He made the first http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-richard-rodgers-jersey , missed the second and his intentional miss on the third failed to go in on a Cavs tip at the horn.

He scored 21 points in the third and hit successive 3-pointers in the fourth that helped pull Cleveland to 111-109. James had a monster slam that kept it a three-point game only for JJ Redick to come down and bury a 3.

James started yapping at the refs, the crowd howled as he complained, and the arena felt like a Game 7.

Then it got earsplitting.

Simmons kicked out to Redick for a 3 from the corner that brought Iverson out of his seat and pumping his fist in celebration.

The seeding takes on added importance with both teams chances at making a long postseason run increasing once Boston lost Kyrie Irving for the season.

”They completely understand that it’s now April and we’re going to blink and be playing in the playoffs,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. ”You see them trending in a very competitive winning way.”

The Sixers, who already clinched their first playoff berth since 2012, won for the fifth straight game without Embiid. The All-Star center was at the game for the first time since he suffered a concussion and needed surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone. There is no timetable for Embiid’s return.

”This was big, beating a team like that without an All-Star,” Simmons said. ”I think everyone is coming together as a team. We are playing well.”

An Embiid-James-Simmons trio is tantalizing in Philly.

James can opt out of his contract this summer – he has a $35.6 option – with Cleveland and become a free agent. With a glut of young talent and spacious room under the salary cap, Philadelphia has been frequently mentioned as a landing spot for James. Three billboards, paid for by a Pennsylvania company, popped up recently in Ohio urging James to sign with the 76ers this summer.

Sixers’ Twitter even seemed divided on how to handle James – boo him or woo him with kindness?

It’s Philly. Take a guess which reaction won.

James was booed each time he touched the ball and signs were spotted in the stands that read ”Keep Cryin’ in Cleveland” and ”We Don’t Want You.”

He brought the sellout crowd to their feet on his missed dunk.

The Sixers had them standing and roaring on almost every possession.

James certainly noticed the enthusiasm.

”You add in Villanova Russell Bodine Color Rush Jersey , you add in the Eagles, obviously that helps as well,” James said. ”It’s always been kind of rowdy coming here.”

The only way the Sixers could have possibly rubbed it in more in the first half was if Iverson left his courtside seat and stepped over Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue just for old times’ sake.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: G Rodney Hood left with a sore left Achilles’ tendon. … G Jose Calderon (left hamstring) did not play.

76ers: The 78 points were the most the Sixers had scored in any half since they had 80 on Feb. 11, 1992, vs. Miami.

EMBIID UPDATE

Brown said he kept in touch with Embiid through FaceTime and remained optimistic the big man would be a factor in the playoffs.

”I hope it’s a good thing for him to stay with us, stay engaged, listen to his coach,” Brown said. ”What I feel more than anything is there is a genuine excitement and belief that he will be back for us.”

IN LUE OF REST

Lue said he felt good in his second game back following a medical absence that cost him nine games.

”I got some good sleep, rested well,” he said.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: Get a needed two days off before playing Monday at New York.

Sixers: Host Dallas on Sunday.

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