Sixers' bench is making it hard for them to win

Posted: January 14, 2014

The 76ers have lost four straight games and can't seem to get back on track.

As the losses mount, one thing is becoming more and more obvious: The Sixers (12-25) don't have a bench that can compete in the NBA.

"You look at the age and the resumé of our bench, and let's just start there," coach Brett Brown said of the team's reliance on young players, who for the most part are making the NBA minimum salary. "That's not an insult. That's just the truth. We're grooming.

"We have inexperienced players. We're trying to identify and polish up our key players, and apply resumé, experience and payroll to our bench, and you see that's always a challenge."

The first-year head coach says he loves that challenge as he seeks to develop players who might fit into the rebuilding team's long-term plans.

"So it's a partnership that I'm with them on," Brown said. "But at times, there is a drought when you start to sub. That's just the evolution of the young players trying to forge a role in the NBA."

The team's lack of bench talent was obvious Saturday in a 102-92 setback to the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Knicks (14-22) had the luxury of depending on a former all-star in Amar'e Stoudemire and spark plug J.R. Smith to outscore the Sixers, 50-20, in bench points.

Eleven of the Sixers' bench points came from sixth man Tony Wroten. The backup point guard has been the team's only dependable offensive option off the bench all season. The 20-year-old former first-round pick, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, is averaging 13.5 points this season.

The Sixers' other reserves on Saturday were two undrafted rookie free agents, guard Hollis Thompson and forward Brandon Davies, and free-agent pickup Elliot Williams, a guard.

Thompson, who started 18 games this season, is averaging 5.6 points. Williams, a former first-round pick by the Portland Trail Blazers, is averaging 3.9 points and Davies 2.3.

Another key reserve, Lavoy Allen, has missed the last two games with a right calf strain. The power forward/center is averaging 5.1 points.

With little help from the bench, the Sixers rely heavily on their starters, who are wearing down because they are logging a lot of minutes.

"It's a chain reaction," Brown said. "Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that hurts you. Multiple games, back-to-back games, trying to run like we run, trying to play guys 40-something minutes doesn't work at some point. And you get exposed. And we need our bench."


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