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Nets and Sixers continue the preseason in Albany

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We're getting a bit closer to the games that count. The Nets got their first win of the preseason with a 93-83 decision over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. They're 1-1 so far and have a few more games to go before Opening Night vs the Bulls.

Waiting for the Nets in Albany will be the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are still with the rebuilding process and will use this season to stockpile assets in order to find the player that can bring them back to contention. In the meantime, they won their game vs the Cavs on Thursday night.


A lot of guys took the Pistons game off. Some guys sat due to heal up a nagging injury (Andrea Bargnani) while others had scheduled days off (Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson). Expect to see (well, follow along for those who aren't at the game)  Joe Johnson, Jarrett Jack, and Sergey Karasev in this contest. It's unlikely we see Bojan Bogdanovic, Willie Reed or Andrea Bargnani as they're dealing with injuries. Markel Brown won't play the rest of the preseason due to a strain in his left oblique muscle.

For Philly, Jahlil Okafor was dealing with some knee soreness after the Cavs game, but he says it's nothing to worry about. He's expected to play while Nerlens Noel will sit due to bruises on his left knee and lower back. Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall are both at least a month away from returning according to coach Brett Brown.

Where to follow the game

The game isn't being broadcast on TV or radio, so you're gonna have to follow the live reports of the people that are in the building. Tip off is after 3 PM.  For those wondering, the first broadcast on YES Network will be on Wednesday vs. Boston.

Player to watch: Isaiah Canaan

The Sixers are looking to find a replacement for Wroten, and Canaan is one of the contenders. In reviewing his 2014-2015 season, Liberty Ballers' Sean O'Connor wrote:

In Philadelphia, his turnover rate dropped and his assist rate nearly doubled. That's markedly better than what we should have expected. He didn't shoot as well, but that's a given with the greater responsibility he had in Philadelphia, along with some worse teammates to feed him.

But even then, he still wasn't nearly good enough to be an NBA point guard. The most important thing a point guard can do in most instances is create good opportunities for others. Whether that's through breaking down the defense like a surgeon playing Operation, or through drawing so much defensive attention through shooting, or some other third way, Canaan doesn't draw attention.

With the 76ers open to experimentation, Canaan will see a fair amount of minutes even if it isn't at point guard. With a healthy roster, he will be expected to find good looks for Okafor and Noel. There are questions as to whether he can do enough to be a capable point guard in the league, so he's got the rest of the month to prove his doubters wrong.

The Nets are also having a point guard competition of their own. Jarrett Jack is expected to get the nod Opening Night, but Shane Larkin is making a nice name for himself this preseason. Larkin scored 17 points and handed five rebounds and assists vs the Pistons on Thursday. If he can put together a great preseason, he'll solidify his status as the backup PG and maybe even start if things go really well. The point guard position will be closely watched throughout the season, with Larkin and likely Donald Sloan seeing more minutes that your normal second and third string point guards.

From the Vault

Say whatever you want about Sam Hinkie, The Process, whatever, but he certainly hit a home run when he acquired Nerlens Noel on Draft Night for Jrue Holiday.

More reading: Liberty Ballers