Seltzer's Quotebook | Year-End Exit Interviews Recap

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CAMDEN, NJ – Thursday, hours after closing out the 2016-2017 campaign, the 76ers conducted their annual season-in-review exit interviews with members of the roster at the team’s training complex in Camden.

Below, find a running tab of quotes from each player’s media availability. The list was compiled in the order that the players met with the press.

If, on the off chance, Ben Simmons is the person whose comments you’re looking for, check towards the bottom of the article,

Gerald Henderson, on Sixers’ future:

“I’d say first off, you have the right base. You get to come in here, and practice in a gym like this. You have the weight room and training staff there every day, so you have no excuse, things other than talent, to get better. On top of that, you have some talent, some young talent ready to play. You saw what Joel is capable of doing. Dario. Haven’t seen Ben yet, but he is to me going to be a special player. Timmy Luawawu, who really kind of grew up before our eyes these last couple months has played great, and he’s got a great work ethic, and is a good kid, so he’s got a chance to be a really, really good played. Along with other guys, T.J., Nik, Cov. You’ve got a chance, given a healthy squad, to be pretty special. I’m looking forward to seeing what we’re able to do.”

Tiago Splitter, on finishing season healthy:

“I had a goal to play this season, and the Sixers gave me this opportunity. I’m very grateful for everything. I was playing a little bit, and last game, I played 22 [minutes], so it’s great for me. It feels like I wish the season would start now. I’m just going to keep working, and get ready for the next season. An important off-season for me, in terms of building what I did so far, getting more in shape, basketball shape.”

Jerryd Bayless, on possibility of creating backcourt partnership with Ben Simmons next year:

“I envision it going well. I think it’s going to take time, considering the fact that Ben and I both haven’t played this year. I think once it starts to click, it will be a good thing. With everybody else coming in as well, with Joel and Dario, everybody’s coming back, I think it’s going to be something special next year.”

Sergio Rodriguez, on his first season back in the NBA after spending the last six years overseas:

“It’s not easy when you come back and have to adjust to everything, not only basketball, but also life. I’m very happy with how the season went, very proud of what we accomplished as a team, with all the injuries that we had and got to go through. It’s been very good, and I’m happy. I’m happy with all the things that we did, and keep looking forward.”

Robert Covington, on whether a recognition for his defensive play would be important, and the Sixers’ potential:

“Kind of sort of, but my main thing is just to get better. I always say I let my numbers and everything prove themselves. I don’t get caught up in the hype of All-Defensive Team. It would be beneficial, but that’s not what my main thing is. My main thing is to lead these guys and get better on the court, and be a leader by example, because that itself will make me that much more noticeable as a person.

“We know what we’ve done, we know what we have. The summer’s going to be a big key for us. We’re going to get an early glimpse of it, and see what we have once everybody comes back and works out. We’re going to get an early jump on what we feel like will be the best thing for us. This team is very scary. You see what we’re doing without the pieces that we have, imagine once we get everything into play. It’s going to make it that much more scarier.”

Nik Stauskas, on the growth he experienced in his third professional season:

“I think it was good at times, I think I made progress in a number of different areas. I think every season in the league, I’ve gotten a little bit better. In terms of my defensive improvements, I feel like I made some great strides in that area, and my interview with Coach, he touched on the fact that he was proud about that. There’s definitely another couple of levels to go there, that will be a focus for me this summer. In terms of shooting, I think I finished the season right around 37.0 percent from three. Moving forward, 40-plus has been a goal for me. That’s something when I came into the league I said I wanted to do. I made a little bit of an improvement in that area, but I have a ways to go. That’s another thing I want to work on this summer.”

Jahlil Okafor, who says his right knee is feeling better and better by the day, on his season:

“I’m proud to say I handled [the season] the right way. I can lay my head at night and know that I handled everything professionally. A lot of guys in the NBA I’ve talked with, they go through something like what I’ve dealt with. It’s part of being a professional.

“I love being here. I’ve gotten really close with everybody here. We have amazing teammates, a bunch of young guys that are hungry and looking to get better. Great things are happening here in Philadelphia, and I’d love to be a part of it.”

Richaun Holmes, on Sixers’ young core:

“I think it’s something that can be a force in this league for years to come, for sure. We’re still learning, we have Ben coming in next year, Joel coming back. It’s going to be fun to see us grow. Still got a lot of growing to do, and looking forward to the process.”

T.J. McConnell, on the need for and importance of summer workouts:

“It’s just going to be intense. I think everyone’s going to go at each other, and try to get one another better. When you’re working with a specific coach, just getting good reps in, and trying to get better in every aspect. I know we’ll have a lot of guys here throughout the whole summer.”

Justin Anderson, who ended his second season with a career-high 26 points vs. New York, on the importance of developing his 3-point shot:

“To be honest, it was what I hung my hat on coming into the NBA, being a guy that can be an athlete, guard multiple positions, but then also being able to stretch the floor and shoot a three. I know percentage doesn’t always say it. I was reading this morning, about Pau Gasol saying something about how statistics have changed the way the game is. Percentages might not say, ‘Oh, [I’m] a great 3-point shooter,’ but teams aren’t just leaving me open. My job is to now get in the gym, make the percentage pass the eye test, if you will, and hopefully make some big threes and help our team.”

Dario Saric, on the fit he felt he established with the Sixers, and city of Philadelphia, during his first NBA campaign:

“I like the people in Philly, I like the fans, I like this team, I like the staff, I like everything. It was very big experience for me, and I meet new people who are really good people, and they are like winners in their mind, and I think that’s the basic for continue. Of course, when you fight and try to give every game, it’s a fit for everybody, when the players who play hundred percent every game. This team is this. Philadelphia, what you say, is tough city, hard city, and I think we will continue to grow up together, this young team with the fans. I hope our future will be nice.”

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, on finishing his rookie season with momentum:

“Good vibes. Like, I finished the season strong, and I just going to keep going and keep working all this off-season, and come back probably in June and work on my craft to be stronger next year. I love the thing to have a young team, and be a part of organization when we are building this team right now. All the young talent we have, I’m happy to be here, and part of this, with Dario, Joel, and Ben, and all the guys we have.”

Shawn Long, on closing his first professional season at the NBA level with the Sixers:

“The time I had with the Sixers was very valuable to me. I learned a lot. I think I had the opportunity to prove that I belonged here, I’m an NBA player. That was big for me, gained a lot of confidence, and that was also big for me too.”

Alex Poythress, on logging six appearances with Sixers in the final two weeks of the season :

“It did a lot for my confidence. It made me feel like I could go on here. I’m grateful for the opportunity I got, take advantage of the opportunity I got, and I ran with it. I try to be as versatile as I can, guarding multiple defenders, being in different positions, just trying to be a threat offensively and everything.”

Ben Simmons, who plans to begin working out next Tuesday on what he learned from having to sit out his true rookie season, his right foot rehab, the possibility of him playing point guard, and his outlook for the Sixers:

“It gave me a great opportunity to learn the game, and so I had a whole season where I could just learn. I can’t sit still, but it gave me a chance. My patience is a lot better now. I think going into next season, I’m just going to be excited.

“I think each stage, I just got better at. Even with rehab, I was just trying to do everything I could. I finally got some good news the other day with my scan. Just got to keep moving forward. I always want to be on the court, but at the same time, I couldn’t. I was just trying to do what I could to help my team, and that was just try and get better.

“I’m with that. I definitely want to be a point guard, and one of the leaders. It’s going to be tough, but I definitely want to learn it.

“It’s very exciting. It’s exciting to see the young guys, and us come together. I think we can do big things. I don’t want to say anything specific. I’m excited to play with these guys. I think we can do some damage.”

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