Inside the Sixers: Roster changes begin for the Sixers

The Sixers were quick to part ways with Kwame Brown, a former No. 1 draft pick by the Washington Wizards.
The Sixers were quick to part ways with Kwame Brown, a former No. 1 draft pick by the Washington Wizards.
Posted: November 25, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS - Well, that didn't work:

Kwame Brown as a reliable veteran rebounder and Darius Morris as the steady backup point guard.

Looked good on paper. But the 76ers discarded that paper Wednesday when they made the first two of what are expected to be several in-season roster moves.

The two veterans were released so the Sixers could make room for point guard Lorenzo Brown and shooting guard Elliot Williams.

"We are going to evaluate players all year. All year," general manager Sam Hinkie said.

Rookie NBA head coach Brett Brown has been open about trying to develop players who the team believes can fit into its long-term plans. Part of that development involves evaluating them in new situations and new environments. The best way to do that is to sign them to see what they'll do up close in the Sixers' team setting.

"That won't change," Hinkie said. "It doesn't mean there will be lots of changes. It just means our job is to keep looking. Keep looking all the time. Keep looking internally and keep looking externally.

"Keep comparing all the time, who can help move us forward."

So if someone suddenly gets released by another NBA team, the Sixers might just bring that player in. The same is true of someone tearing up the NBA Development League.

It didn't take long to realize that Kwame Brown's tenure would be short.

Lazy would be the best way to describe the former No. 1 overall draft pick by the Washington Wizards. The 6-foot-11, 290-pound center never participated in a practice after injuring his hamstring during preseason conditioning. There was a sense that he was fine with just doing treadmill workouts and collecting his $3 million guaranteed salary for the season.

Morris just never worked out and became expendable once Tony Wroten beat him out for the backup point guard position.

"It's a business. It happens," Wroten said of Wednesday's roster moves. "But if you are going to get the opportunity, you have to seize the moment."

That's especially true this season with the Sixers. Only Thaddeus Young, Arnett Moultrie, Wroten, and rookie first-rounders Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel are signed beyond this season. Another player, Jason Richardson, has a player option for 2014-15.

Hollis Thompson, Brandon Davies, Daniel Orton, and newcomers Williams and Lorenzo Brown are playing on non-guaranteed deals. So it wouldn't be wise for them to buy a Philadelphia-area home at this time.

Actually, it might not be wise for most of the Sixers to get too comfortable. Only Noel, Carter-Williams, and Wroten appear to be definitely in the team's plans.

While it's still early, Carter-Williams' stellar point-guard play is making people forget about Jrue Holiday. He averaged 16.1 points, 7.8 assists, 2.6 steals, and 3.5 turnovers heading into Saturday's game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Sixers are taking baby steps in Noels' rehabilitation. But when the center finally does play, the organization thinks the 19-year-old will be something special.

The 20-year-old Wroten also has the potential to become a special talent.

Williams and Lorenzo Brown are getting opportunities to help the team.

A former standout at Memphis, Williams is seen as someone who can become a productive NBA player if he stays healthy.

He was drafted 22d overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010. The 6-5, 190-pounder missed most of his rookie season after dislocating his shoulder. He played in 24 games for Portland in 2011-12 but missed the entire 2012-13 campaign with an Achilles tendon injury. He played in six games with Cleveland this preseason before being released.

Lorenzo Brown was selected 52d overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in June. He never really got an opportunity and was released before the season.

They realize there are no guarantees with the Sixers. For them and many of their teammates, playing in Philadelphia is nothing more than in-season tryouts.


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

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