Brown eager to get Sixers' new big men into the mix

Posted: January 16, 2014

FOR A COACH so meticulous in how he teaches his young players the ways of the NBA, it is kind of surprising how 76ers coach Brett Brown is going about handling two big men who will see their first action with the team very soon.

"Ready, fire, aim," are the words Brown chose for Arnett Moultrie, who should make his debut shortly, after having preseason ankle surgery, and newcomer Dewayne Dedmon, who signed a 10-day contract with the club yesterday. Both will give Brown a luxury he hasn't had all season, an abundance of low-post players. And the words weren't spoken out of order - Brown wants them to play first, think later.

In Moultrie, the team could get a fiery rebounder, an active presence on both ends of the court who can provide some much-needed inside scoring punch. That's the best-case scenario. Moultrie has the ability to do the above, but doesn't always put forth the effort needed to accomplish them.

Brown said the 6-10, second-year player practiced again yesterday, but stopped short of saying he would suit up tonight when the Sixers host the Charlotte Bobcats. Lavoy Allen, who has missed the past two games with a calf injury, also practiced yesterday, but Brown wouldn't say whether he'll be available tonight, either.

The recent release of center Daniel Orton and the injury to Allen made it imperative for the Sixers to get someone to play some minutes in the low post, and Dedmon had been their radar. After working him out on Monday, the team decided to give him a 10-day contract.

The 7-foot, 255-pounder entered the draft following his junior season at Southern California, but went undrafted. He played for the Golden State Warriors in training camp and the preseason. He played in four games for the Warriors this season, but most recently spent time in the NBA Developement League with the Santa Cruz Warriors. In 15 games with them, he averaged 15 points, a league-best 13.5 rebounds and better than two blocks, while shooting 54 percent from the floor.

"He runs the floor really well. It's fantastic just having another big here," Brown said. Asked whether he planned to play him right away, Brown said: "I may. I may."

Ready, fire, aim.

"The thing that we like most about him is he's polishable; his youth and athleticism make it interesting. He runs. You can put him behind the scene, and he can put out fires and he can block some shots and have some level of rim protection when you put him in. He's wide-eyed and grateful for the opportunity. When you watch him get up and down the floor, he's going to have no problem getting rim to rim."

It was a different type of practice for Brown yesterday, as he had a plethora of big men running around, prompting him to say, "I had no idea who I was coaching today."

He'll probably have no idea tonight, either, depending on the availability of Allen and Dedmon. But it is a problem he looks forward to, if only because it different from what he's dealt with over the first 40 games of the season.

"We haven't had a chance to sit down and talk [about his role], but I play with high energy, rebound and block shots," Dedmon said. "On the defensive end, I rebound and block shots, and I like to run the floor. [Blocking shots] is definitely something I feel that I do well. I was doing it in the D-League, so I'm definitely going to bring that here. It's part of my game."

A part of the game that hasn't been present most of the season for the Sixers, and one Brown will welcome wholeheartedly.

For the third time this season, the team sent guard Lorenzo Brown to its D-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. In six games with the 87ers, Brown has averaged 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds . . . The Sixers host the Miami Heat on Friday, then play three straight on the road, going to Chicago on Saturday, Washington on Monday and New York on Wednesday.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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