An Interview with Jordan Sams of Liberty Ballers

Monday, June 22, 2009

Liberty Ballers, part of SBNation, is one of the best places on the Web for fans of the Philadelphia 76ers. Liberty Ballers blogger Jordan Sams resides in Las Vegas, and clarifies that "no, I don't gamble and hang out with prostitutes every night." He's been running his own Sixers blog for a little over a year now. He started out at, and more recently began running Liberty Ballers. "Even after a year of writing, some Sixers fans hate me because I'm also a Cowboys fan," he laments.

But football fandom doesn't skew our view or opinion of the good work he does at Liberty Ballers. Recently Sams was kind enough to respond to a few questions I had for him about the Sixers, their connection with the BayHawks, and the upcoming NBA Draft.

For two straight seasons, Philadelphia has made the playoffs and threatened an upset before bowing out in the first round, including this year when they held a 2-1 series lead on the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic. With Elton Brand coming back from injury, do you think the current roster has championship-level talent? If not, who or what are they missing to get over the hump?
Interesting question. I think if everyone stays healthy AND Andre Miller returns to play point guard, then yes, the Sixers have a borderline championship roster. That said, the chances that Andre Miller returns are slim to none. He's missed numerous mandatory meetings. He hasn't been seen or heard all summer, and rumor has it that he dislikes complicated offenses. This might be a problem considering the Sixers will be operating the Princeton Offense next season.

Other important variables in the Sixers chances for success are the health of Elton Brand and the development of future all-star Thaddeus Young.

Are there any current 76ers that could benefit by spending part of next season fine-tuning their game in the D-League?
Unfortunately, no. I'm a little shocked more NBA teams don't use the D-League more often. The one player on the Sixers roster who you could make a case for is Marreese Speights. If he's ever going to evolve into the NBA player Sixers fans think he will, he needs to improve his defense—but defense isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the D-League. (This might be a completely ignorant assumption, but I don't follow the D-League at all.)

Philadelphia has the 17th pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. What should Sixers fans expect out of this selection?
Ed Stefanski and Eddie Jordan have publicly said that the Sixers plan on drafting the "best guard available". I would be shocked if they drafted otherwise. Ninety percent of Sixers fans want them to draft the point guard of the future—and I think they'll do just that.

Is there a rookie on the board who might fall to number 17 that you would really like to see in a SIxers uniform next season? If so, who?
Brandon Jennings, Johnny Flynn or Stephen Curry—wishful thinking, I know. Odds that any of the three fall to 17 are .06 percent.

Last season, Philadelphia did not assign any of its players to a stint in the D-League. Would you like to see the organization become more involved in using this developmental opportunity?
I would love to see the Sixers be more involved in the D-League. I think it can be an extremely valuable tool if used properly. That said, the Sixers have no D-League caliber players on their roster. Best case scenario would be if they bought their way into the second round and threw whoever they draft into the D-League.

How do you expect new coach Eddie Jordan to impact the team, specifically in regards to the development of the young nucleus of talent within the Sixers organization?
I expect the Sixers to finally have an organized half court offensesomething they haven't had in years. As far as the young nucleus goes, I wish I could tell you how Eddie will help their development. I honestly have no clue. Two players I think will benefit from Eddie Jordan are Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams. Watch out for Thaddeus Young folks. I fully expect this season to be Thaddeus Young's coming out party, partly because of Eddie Jordan's offense.

As a Sixers fan, and someone who writes for an audience that certainly includes a lot of Sixers fans, I'm interested to hear your perception of the D-League. What do you see as strengths and weaknesses of the BayHawks-76ers affiliation heading into year two?
Man, I wish I could tell you. I know nothing about the D-League. I'm going to have to use this question to plug my boy, and fellow SBNation blogger, Scott from Ridiculous Upside. This is the website I check out for all my D-League needs.

***And speaking of Ridiculous Upside, click here to find out who Liberty Ballers selected on behalf of the Sixers with the 17th selection in the SBNation mock draft.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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