Philly Front Office

PFO Goes South: Hawks-Magic on MLK Day

Prior to the Sixers blowout win over the Rockets on MLK Day, Philly Front Office was covering another game in another NBA city.  Myself (Brandon Apter) along with PFO photography extraordinaire Wayne Terry spent the afternoon at State Farm Arena in Atlanta as the Hawks hosted the Orlando Magic. 

The Game

The matchup ended in a win for the Magic, snapping a five-game road losing streak. The game featured a number of potential trade targets for the Sixers. We got to see them in full force on Monday afternoon.

Dwayne Dedmon

The 29-year-old big man has been linked to the Sixers a few times this season. With Amir Johnson failing to duplicate a solid season from a year ago, the Sixers have been juggling back-up centers to this point. Jonah Bolden seems to have solidified that spot, but adding Dedmon would improve that role even more. Dedmon has been tremendous from beyond recently, shooting over 42 percent during the month of January. That hot streak from three continued against Orlando. Dedmon went 5-for-7 from downtown, finishing with 24 points and nine rebounds. 

Jeremy Lin

Lin serves as a back-up guard for the Hawks and has put together a strong season. Monday’s game against Orlando was one of his worst, though. He finished a team-worse -21 in 30 minutes on the floor, scoring 15 points in the losing effort. Lin doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Philly, especially since he’s struggled badly from beyond in January (13 percent). As another primary ball-handler, he doesn’t defend as well as a T.J. McConnell. He may add some offense, but the Sixers need a wing player that can do a little of both.

Taurean Prince

The Hawks are unlikely to get rid of a guy like Prince unless they get a killer deal. Still, he’d be a perfect fit for the Sixers. The former Baylor product is averaging just under 14 points per game this season. He’s been in a funk recently dealing with some lingering injuries. Against the Magic, Prince was held to just nine points on 4-for-10 shooting.

Terrence Ross 

The veteran guard would be a perfect addition to the Sixers bench for scoring and defense. Ross is on an expiring contract and is bound to have suitors come the trade deadline. Philadelphia, despite not having a whole lot of assets, should be calling Orlando regularly. Monday was just another strong day for Ross. He finished with 16 points on 7-for-15 shooting. He was a team-high +22 and is averaging 17.2 points over his last five. Ross is shooting over 38 percent from beyond the arc.

Jonathon Simmons

Simmons is signed through next season at $5.7 million and could provide Philly with some offense off the bench. Since he’s struggling this season (36.6% FG, 22.7% 3FG), Simmons might be able to be had at a lower price than a guy like Terrence Ross, whose is on an expiring deal. Simmons scored seven points on 3-for-6 shooting in Orlando’s win.

The Verdict

Out of the guys that played on Monday for the Hawks and Magic, Terrence Ross and Dwayne Dedmon remain the best options for the Sixers as trade season approaches. Because the Sixers lack assets, it might be tough to acquire either of these guys unless they land on the buy-out market. That seems unlikely.

The Experience

Having been to numerous Hawks games before, the experience at the arena is a great one for fans of all ages and interest. With it being MLK Day at the game, the Hawks continued their tradition of having a local choir assist with the starting lineup announcement.

As a part of their MLK celebration, the Hawks had a number of guests on hand, including one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s close friends, Andrew Young.

The Hawks intro video was pretty neat, and featured former Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce throughout. You can tell the video emphasizes the young, dedicated core of this team as they continue to mold the roster and grow together.

As for the in-game fan experience, some highlights included Old School vs. New School dancing that pitted a pair of older folks against some kids. The older pair won after a woman in her 60’s finished her bit with a split. I’m 31 and can barely touch my toes while bending down, so props to her. 

State Farm Arena has some fantastic deals on concessions too, featuring numerous game favorites for $5 or less.

These fan friendly prices are also offered across the street at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of Super Bowl LIII.

State Farm Arena features some new renovations as well, including a courtside bar/lounge, upgraded suites, and completely new looking concourses. If you are ever down in Atlanta and get the opportunity to see the arena or are looking for your next Sixers road trip, State Farm Arena should be on your list.

That’s all for now from Atlanta! We hope to bring you more coverage from the ATL in the future as Philly Front Office continues to evolve and expand.



Brandon Apter

Brandon Apter writes about the Sixers and Phillies for 97.3 ESPN and Philly Front Office. A Philadelphia native, Brandon graduated from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in 2009. After working in Minor League Baseball for nine seasons, Brandon currently does Marketing & Social Media for Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

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