Sixers signs national champion, coach clears COVID-19 protocols


Former Virginia Braxton Key player won a national championship in school in 2019.

The Philadelphia 76ers are working to fill the COVID-19 holes in their roster. The team signed Braxton Key to a tough 10-day deal on Wednesday, two days after adding Philly native Charlie Brown Jr.

Key will wear No.17 for the Sixers. He and Brown were activated for Wednesday night’s game against the Orlando Magic. Key joins the Sixers after a stint with the Delaware Blue Coats of the NBA G League where he averaged 13.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 15 games. The 6-foot-8 swing player led all scorers with 28 points in the Blue Coats’ 104-98 victory in the AT&T Winter Showcase Championship game. His 30 flights in total rank second in the G League this season.

Key was not drafted from Virginia in the 2020 NBA Draft after averaging 9.9 points and 7.4 rebounds as a senior. The 24-year-old won a national championship with the Cavaliers in the 2018-19 season as a key cog to the bench. Key spent his first two years of college eligibility in Alabama before a knee injury hampered him. He is the nephew of Hall of Famer Ralph Sampson.

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Doc Rivers clears COVID-19 protocols

Doc Rivers will return at his seat on the bench tonight in Orlando after clearing COVID-19 protocols. The Sixers head coach entered NBA health and safety protocols on December 30. Assistant coach Dan Burke led the team to two wins in his absence. He pressed all the right buttons and the players have expressed their support.

“I think he deserves a lot of credit, I don’t know anyone on the team who doesn’t like him,” Furkan Korkmaz said of Burke. “It’s hard to create him as a coach because sometimes the coaches are on our butt, to be honest. And he’s a defensive coach so he’s even more so. I really believe in him. I really like him, like I said, I really like Burke.

Philadelphia has won four in a row and five of its last six. They reside in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a 20-16 record. Meanwhile, Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey remain on COVID-19 protocols.

Korkmaz plays the game, records a double-double

Korkmaz is releasing one of its best games of the year. The Turkish sensation scored 24 points in a 133-113 win over Houston on Monday night. Burke made him the starting point guard with Maxey absent and the move paid off.

It was not the first time for Korkmaz who often played point in the Turkish national team. Still, it was nice to see him blossom.

“I mean, the ball is in your hands, you feel the game more, that’s my mental thing,” Korkmaz said of the point of play. “You have to be focused, but when you dribble the ball instead to just touch the ball every three or four minutes, you have the ball every time, even if you don’t shoot it, you feel the ball. “

Korkmaz also picked up 11 rebounds on Monday night to register his first career double-double. He’s had a hectic season so far averaging 8.8 points per game on 38.6% shots from the field, including 29.4% from three-pointers.

“I mean, it doesn’t mean anything because right now I just have to go,” Korkmaz said. “Keep going but of course it feels good to help the team win.”

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