For young Sixers, winning beats losing

ASSOCIATED PRESS Andre Miller was suspended by Denver for two games 'for conduct detrimental to the team.'
ASSOCIATED PRESS Andre Miller was suspended by Denver for two games 'for conduct detrimental to the team.'
Posted: January 03, 2014

SACRAMENTO - Say what you will about not wanting the 76ers to win too many games in order to get the best possible draft pick - and it probably is a good idea - but being around the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday and seeing all the troubles they are going through certainly makes you see how hard it is to endure those times.

Since the beginning of training camp, Sixers coach Brett Brown has said that he was on board with building this group for the future, improving the talent of the many young players and evaluating which ones might be able to help the organization in the future.

In Denver, the Sixers picked up their second win in row for the first time in 2 months. They won consecutive games on the road for the first time all season. Players were joking in the locker room, the mood was lighter and the rewards that Brown has endlessly talked about for his team are starting to come about more frequently. His three veterans - Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes - are playing just the way Brown envisioned, maybe even better. There has been talk around the league of Young and Turner being All-Star candidates.

That is where the argument of losing so much comes in. The players, especially the young ones, just seem to get so much more out of a season when they are learning how to win. Tony Wroten is learning that "home run" plays aren't always the ones that put you in the best position to win. Hollis Thompson seems to always be around the ball on both sides of the floor when the game is close and late. Is it ever too early for prized rookie Michael Carter-Williams to learn what it takes to win games in the NBA?

Then you look over at the Nuggets (14-17). The Sixers (10-21 entering last night's game against the Kings) pinned Denver with a 114-102 loss, its eighth straight.

Coach Brian Shaw is aggravating his players by shuffling lineups at a whirlwind pace. Former Sixers point guard Andre Miller had to be restrained on the bench from going after Shaw in the fourth quarter during a game in which Miller didn't see action. It was the first time in his 15-year career that Miller didn't play when healthy. He was given a two-game suspension yesterday for "conduct detrimental to the team."

Players hastily left the locker room after the loss, and yesterday had a lengthy meeting with Shaw. While being interviewed in the hallway after the game, Shaw was careful with his words when players walked by.

Fans at the game chanted the name of George Karl, the NBA coach of the year a season ago who was denied a contract extension despite Denver's 57-25 season.

Sure, winning a lot this season really doesn't do much for the Sixers, but losing too much could be much worse. They have to get some sort of feel of what it's like to win some games, perhaps maybe even put together some sort of winning streak.

Not to worry, fans. Their roster is what it is, their youth is plentiful and the losses will surely mount. But during an 82-game season, a sprinkling of wins is a must.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76 Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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