Sixers 'slowly on track'

ASSOCIATED PRESS Thaddeus Young: 'We have a lot of guys who are new to this and they don't know, yet.'
ASSOCIATED PRESS Thaddeus Young: 'We have a lot of guys who are new to this and they don't know, yet.'
Posted: October 20, 2013

THAT THE 76ers are a little behind where coach Brett Brown wants them to be isn't surprising, especially when you consider they lost their last two preseason games by a combined 56 points. With expectations nil and rebuilding the theme, this was to be expected. But it just might be a little bit worse right now than thought.

A crushing home loss to the shorthanded Brooklyn Nets was followed 2 days later by a resounding loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. At one point, Charlotte had built a 39-point lead. The Sixers rested their top three players in Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner, and all that did was show the glaring weaknesses the team has behind those three.

Rebounding is just a rumor right now, transition defense may be shown at some point but hasn't appeared yet and scoring could be their biggest problem. With a week and a half before the regular season begins, it's not a very pretty sight in Sixerville.

"I think that they are slowly on track," Brown said generously. "There are times you just have to pinch yourself and remind yourself of the enormity of the job at hand. It is an enormous job in the NBA to cultivate young guys that haven't played any or just a little NBA basketball. It's really evident when you go into a game like we did [Thursday against Charlotte]. Your three senior-type of players aren't there so you go at it with the group that you have. I feel that they are inching along in the right direction and they understand what we are looking for.

"That's on me to keep it upbeat and positive and honest. All the things that are just day to day teaching is not going to be a fake relationship, it's not going to be a false environment. It's real. We have to get better. End of story. At times they did a hell of a job in a few situations [Thursday]. You show them that they're taking steps in the right direction. But it's always going to be right on our doorstep. I knew when I signed up, but it always becomes a little more real when you're living it and breathing it and you haven't even started the year yet. It's just part of the job that I signed up for and I'm excited to coach these guys."

At Thursday's game he asked for Young, Hawes and Turner to help out with the coaching from the bench. Each had plenty to say to the players on the floor during the game, but you got the feeling that sitting back and seeing the young, inexperienced group had to open the trio's eyes a bit.

"We struggled early," said Hawes with a chuckle, recalling the 10 points the Sixers scored in the first quarter. "But that's part of it, though, all part of the process. Sitting over there, there's constructive criticism, I guess is what you would say. Pick up what you can pick up and build on what you can build on."

Brown rested the three in order to give some audition minutes not only to the final roster spots he has to fill but to try and get a grasp on who may be able to give him some productive minutes off the bench. There certainly didn't seem to be a ton of promising results.

"We saw some positive things but we saw a lot of negative things also," Young said. "We watched a lot of the game tape and saw how we should have done things and how things should have played out. Charlotte had a lot of guys with a lot more experience and it showed. They are a team that knows how to play in the NBA setting and we have a lot of guys who are new to this and they don't know, yet."

Patience, they say, is a virtue. For Brown it is going to be a must this season.

"I don't feel the need to panic as I look at that youth," Brown said. "I hope they get excited when they see how we're improving a little bit, they see how they can improve. Everybody wants to feel like you can get a little bit better. I feel like the practice sessions, the video sessions, using footage of the game, are real time examples of 'Hey, you didn't do this, we need to do that.' And I hope there's some excitement that we're getting a little bit better. The reality that they're playing for jobs is ever-present."


The team will practice at the Palestra today beginning at 11 a.m. Doors will open at 10 and admission is free . . . The Palestra is familiar to Brown as he played his final collegiate game there as a senior guard for Boston University and head coach Rick Pitino. Brown's team lost, 70-58, to La Salle in the preliminary round of the NCAA Tournament. "I had turned my ankle a little bit before the game so I was hurting a little," Brown recalled. "La Salle beat us in the first round. It was a tough feeling realizing that your college career was suddenly over" . . . Following their final preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the 76ers will have a full-team autograph session for fans. The game starts at 7.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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