In Monday's preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Columbus, Ohio, Brown gave a strong indication as to what the rotation will look like. He'll start Michael Carter-Williams at the point, James Anderson at shooting guard, Evan Turner at small forward, Thaddeus Young at the power spot and Spencer Hawes in the middle. Though he didn't play on Monday, perhaps as punishment for missing practice on Saturday, Lavoy Allen will be the first big off the bench, and Tony Wroten will be the first wing.
After that, it gets dicey. Very dicey.
Brown would like to see Royce White become a dependable, 15- to 20-minute guy, gobbling up rebounds and providing some offense. But White is still trying to round himself into shape and hasn't been very good this preseason. Monday he fouled out in a little more than 17 minutes, grabbed six rebounds, turned the ball over five times and drew the ire of Brown for getting ejected after having words with Jarrett Jack, who was on the Cavaliers' bench.
With such a shortage of big bodies, 6-10, 275-pounder Daniel Orton is getting a long, hard look from Brown, too. He has shown some flashes, such as his 10 rebounds in 21 minutes on Monday and his ability to catch the ball in traffic in the paint. But, like Allen, he is out of shape, and his feel for the game is about 100 playing minutes away.
The backup guard spots seem pretty secure, with Wroten, Darius Morris and the winner of the roster battle between Khalif Wyatt and Vander Blue probably in line to get spots.
Rodney Williams got a 20-minute audition on Monday, and Brown said he liked what he saw. But there was the fact he missed the only three shots he took and really contributed nothing offensively.
That's where character, though, might come into play. In Williams and Hollis Thompson, Brown knows he has strong character guys, if not ones with true NBA talent. But after the first six or seven, there aren't really any guys on the roster who are ready to be a top-eight player in anyone's rotation.
"It's all over the place," Brown said when asked of his feelings on a final roster. "I feel like I have five guys that are clear starters. You have an experienced player in Lavoy who is finding his way. After that, who knows? That's it.
"You have six NBA players and then you have a bunch of guys fighting for spots who want to be seen and need opportunity. For me, I go straight away just to the type of people, are they going to be reliable? Are they going to compete? Are they going to be day to day, do they have personality, can they be coached, do they want to be coached? All those things matter. So you try to select your team in a year that is going to be extraordinarily difficult around the types of people who can take hits and can withstand it, and stay positive and keep the locker room together. That's how I see it and that's how it has to be done.
"It's not even close, it has to be [character winning out]. Imagine going through the learning curve and the learning pains, and, at times, some losses are going to be mounting up and mounting up and mounting up, and you have to go into a locker room and be able to look around and say, 'OK, we're still together, we're still here, we're still playing defense, we're still staying in great shape, we're still playing good basketball, we're not going to let it get ratty, we're not going to let it break up.' All those things have to be the foundation of anything that we do or it will get ratty real quick. They can't let it happen, and I can't let it happen. So it always gets back to people."
It has to, with the limited amount of true NBA talent on the roster.
Brett Brown kidded that he had a "media awareness meeting" before practice. He was referring to his saying he didn't think rookie Nerlens Noel would play this season. Yesterday, he said that he didn't know how things would play out and that he hoped Noel,out with an ACL injury, would be back this season . . . The team plays its final preseason game tonight at the Wells Fargo Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Fans can get autographs from the players following the game.
On Twitter: @BobCooney76