Sixers: 5 things we learned at media day

Joel Embiid, James Harden, Sixers media day (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, James Harden, Sixers media day (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Sixers media day: Healthier days ahead… hopefully

Media day is often used to catch us up on all the ailments, past and present, facing the team. The focus was naturally on James Harden, who spent last season dealing with the aftereffects of a lingering hamstring injury.

Harden joked about losing “100 pounds” over the summer, but the joke is derived from his clearly improved physical condition. We have heard time and time again in recent months about how hard Harden is working, how much better he feels, how much better he looks. We can only wait and see at this point, but there’s reason for optimism. The former MVP spoke candidly about the “dark places” he was in because of the injury and his diminished athleticism last season, but he claims to be in a good space now. When he’s right, very few players can match Harden’s impact on the offensive end. On the shortlist of players who can is Joel Embiid. If those two are operating at or near peak condition, the Sixers will be extremely hard to slow down.

Harden isn’t the only Sixer with a notable injury update, however. We must once again mention P.J. Tucker, who underwent minor arthroscopic knee surgery over the summer. The 37-year-old is evidently healthy and ready to go for training camp, but it will be worth keeping a close eye on Tucker in the coming months. He is 37 years old and was just signed to a three-year contract.

Also of note was something Furkan Korkmaz mentioned: he dealt with nerve damage in his right hand after the All-Star break last season, forcing him to change his mechanics and subsequently lose rhythm. That would explain the inexplicable shooting slump from a player who, for most of his career prior to last season, was one of Philly’s most reliable deep threats. If he can return to form, Korkmaz could fight for minutes in the second unit.