Sixers show grit and flaws on European trip

The 76ers' Evan Turner protects the ball from the Thunder's Nick Collison during Oklahoma City's 103-99 win in Manchester, England.
The 76ers' Evan Turner protects the ball from the Thunder's Nick Collison during Oklahoma City's 103-99 win in Manchester, England. (JON SUPER / Associated Press)
Posted: October 11, 2013

The overwhelming belief is the 76ers are going to be the NBA's worst team. But based on two preseason games in Europe, it still might be fun to keep tabs on their maturation process.

The Sixers push the ball, attack the rim, and keep defensive heat on opponents.

"I'm very proud of my teammates for playing hard and playing tough," veteran guard Evan Turner said Tuesday after a 103-99 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, England. "Any time you do that, you give yourself a chance to win night in and night out."

But the Sixers roster wasn't built to win night in and night out.

The team has only six players with more than two years of NBA experience. Veteran holdovers Thad Young, Spencer Hawes, and Turner are the squad's core players. For the most part, they are surrounded by former first-round picks who were cast away and undrafted rookies.

But it appears that the youthful Sixers haven't received the memo about the franchise's plans to tank during the regular season to cash in on a high draft pick.

"I agree with Evan," new coach Brett Brown said. "They are playing hard. They are starting to understand our defensive rules and the accountability."

Yet this team has some glaring flaws. The Sixers commit too many turnovers and struggle on the boards.

They have averaged 22.5 turnovers in the first two exhibitions, a win and a loss.

"To average 23 turnovers a game in the NBA is not going to get you many wins," Brown said. "But I understand why it's happening."

A lot of the turnovers came during careless plays while the Sixers tried to push the ball upcourt and attack the rim.

"We think that's going to be our best way to score," Brown said of the up-tempo style. "And it's a double-edged sword."

The Sixers also have been outrebounded, 96-81, in the two contests.

"Even our big guys are not physical," Brown said. "They are going to have to be, and our guards are going to have to rebound. It's going to be like a gang effort, a gang mentality."

The Sixers' rebounding shortcomings have a lot to do with the physical makeup of a team that is loaded with inexperienced wings.

"But that's life," Brown said. "We have to really make sure that we understand how this team is really built, and what we have to do to fix it."


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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