Brown admits it: Rebuilding Sixers is tough

Brett Brown has words with referee Tony Brown while playing the Bobcats. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Brett Brown has words with referee Tony Brown while playing the Bobcats. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 06, 2014

Brett Brown admits that bringing a championship culture to the 76ers is tougher than he first anticipated.

"It's much harder," the rookie NBA head coach said. "It's something that I didn't judge properly. It doesn't diminish my enthusiasm being here. I just recognize the monster ahead of us.

"Trying to build a program to the level we hope to build it to requires so much work and so much luck. And there is no wiggle room. You can't skip a single step."

Brown came to Philadelphia from the San Antonio Spurs, where he was on the staff of three NBA championship teams.

He took over a Sixers squad that was coming off a disappointing 34-48 campaign in 2012-13 and saw several players move on.

Some of the more notable departures are point guard Jrue Holiday (New Orleans), swingmen Dorrell Wright (Portland), and Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers), and center Andrew Bynum (Cleveland). Bynum was later traded to Chicago then released before signing a free-agent deal with the Indiana Pacers. Because of chronically injured knees, Bynum never played for the Sixers after the former Lakers all-star was acquired in a four-team trade.

Brown took over a team that is starting the rebuilding process by sacrificing victories. The Sixers have a 15-34 record heading into Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center. They have lost 13 of their last 16 games.

"I just think the magnitude of what it really takes to build a franchise and team, when you are living it and breathing it and going through how good the league really is, it catches you off guard from time to time," Brown said.

Noel's status

Although it seems unlikely that Nerlens Noel will play this season, the Sixers have yet to officially decide on the rookie center's playing status.

"It's just a work in progress," Brown said. "It's just that you sort of evaluate more towards the end of February and the first part of March."

Noel had surgery after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in February 2013 during his lone season at Kentucky. Up until three weeks ago, the 6-foot-11, 228-pounder's workouts have consisted mostly of taking one-handed set shots under the supervision of Brown or player development coach Greg Foster.

Wroten on target

Tony Wroten appears to be back on track.

The backup point guard scored 18 points in each of the Sixers' last two games after averaging seven points in the first four games since he returned from a sprained right ankle.

Wroten made 6 of 8 shots Monday in a 108-102 setback to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. Wroten is averaging 12.7 points this season.

Moultrie sent down

Arnett Moultrie and Lorenzo Brown were assigned to the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers' NBA Development League team.

Moultrie has yet to play for the Sixers this season as he recovers from ankle surgery. The team sent the second-year power forward to Delaware so he could round into shape. Brown was reassigned to Delaware one day after being recalled by the Sixers following a six-day stint with the 87ers. This is his sixth D-League assignment.

Turnover trouble

The Sixers have a bad habit of giving the ball to their opponents. Their average of 17.2 turnovers per game is the highest in the NBA. The Sixers tied a season worst with 26 on Monday night.

Rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams had six turnovers. His last one, with 5.8 seconds left and the Sixers trailing by four, crushed any chance of a comeback. Nets guard Shaun Livingston stole the ball, was fouled, and made a pair of foul shots to make it a six-point game.

"You know it continues to haunt us," Brown said. "We have to get more responsible with the ball. I have to do a better job."

This article has been corrected. The version that ran in some print editions of the Inquirer said that the 76ers' record is 15-33; it is 15-34.


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