McAdoo Makes Return, Receives Championship Ring
At one point not too long ago, James Michael McAdoo thought he was going to maybe have to ask one of his former Golden State teammates to bring his second NBA championship ring to Philadelphia, when the Warriors visit next week.
Thanks to a joint effort between the Sixers and the Dubs, McAdoo, currently on a two-way contract with the Sixers, had the opportunity to pick up the prized possession in person Saturday, in front of an appreciative sold out Oracle Arena crowd.
Golden State assistant coach Ron Adams made the presentation to McAdoo prior to tip-off. McAdoo, an undrafted forward signed by by the Warriors as a rookie free agent in 2014, credited Adams, a respected lifer in the league, for taking him under his wing “from the jump.”
McAdoo was told a few days ago by Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo and Sevens General Manager Elton Brand that he’d be joining the Sixers for Saturday’s game. Golden State even prepared a tribute video for the North Carolina product.
“It’s just a blessing,” McAdoo said of the Sixers’ willingness to grant him a timely call-up. “I think that just speaks to the organization. Obviously, they didn’t have to. I played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota last night. I could have very easily just flown back with the team and not have been called up.”
Instead, McAdoo was being shuttled by private car to the airport at 4:30 Saturday morning. After a brief layover in Denver, he was en route to the Bay Area, and his old stomping grounds. There, he had the chance to reconnect with members of a club that gave him his professional break.
“I’m just thankful, not just [to] get my ring, just see the guys I was able to battle with and compete with the last three years,” said McAdoo, who appeared in 108 regular season games, and an extra 26 playoff contests with Golden State.
Both head coaches Saturday were happy for the 24-year old.
“I’m thrilled that he’s here,” said Steve Kerr. “I thought it was a great gesture by the Sixers.”
“Talking with him, sharing stories of what it is like to play in June, and the ability to bring him back and be recognized and get his ring is a great night,” Brett Brown said.
In addition to receiving his title ring, weighted at a whopping 11 carats and featuring the most diamonds of any championship ring in NBA, NFL, MLB, or NHL history, McAdoo also made his Sixers debut Saturday. He checked in with just under seven minutes to go in regulation, and hit a corner 3-pointer, plus a pair of free throws.
McAdoo said the plan is for him to remain with the Sixers through Monday’s game against the LA Clippers, then rejoin the Sevens.
Korkmaz Gets Run
James Michael McAdoo wasn’t the only person Saturday to log his first regular season appearance as a Sixer. Furkan Korkmaz did, too.
The 26th pick of the 2016 draft, Korkmaz was summoned off the bench at the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter, and finished with a putback lay-up and two rebounds.
“First NBA game, official first bucket, I was very excited,” Korkmaz said, “but it doesn’t matter. At the end of the game, we didn’t win. Every time, I have to be ready.”
Not lost on Korkmaz was that his debut came against Golden State, the defending NBA champions.
“For me to wear this jersey, I’m really proud of that,” said Korkmaz.
Simmons Guarding Guards
Heading into Saturday’s pairing with Golden State, Brett Brown wished Ben Simmons a special kind of good luck. That’s because the rookie Aussie was going to be spending at least portions of the game matched up directly with Stephen Curry.
Enough said, right?
More seriously, though, Brown was eager to get a better a sense of how Simmons could handle such an assignment against a smaller, more traditionally-sized point guard, given recent ripple effects to the Sixers’ rotation.
“When…Dario Saric came into the starting line-up, and Robert [Covington] got moved down to a 3-spot, you immediately have a decision, ‘Who guards the point guard?’ You’ve got a choice – it will either be Robert, or Ben, mostly. The opportunity for Ben to grow and have the chance to guard somebody like Steph…is part of his evolution.”
Simmons and Curry were on the court together Saturday for 18 minutes. At times, Simmons covered the back-to-back MVP winners. Other times, it was Covington.
“I think it went well for the first time,” said Simmons. “He’s a great player, so obviously it’s tough guarding somebody like that, but I think it went well.”