Brown on Sixer struggles: 'Part of the deal'

Sixers coach Brett Brown has had to endure a difficult season, with his team winning only 15 games thus far. "It's all part of the deal," said Brown. "It's all part of 2014." Chris Szagola/AP
Sixers coach Brett Brown has had to endure a difficult season, with his team winning only 15 games thus far. "It's all part of the deal," said Brown. "It's all part of 2014." Chris Szagola/AP
Posted: February 27, 2014

The horn sounded Tuesday afternoon, ending the Sixers' 90-minute practice session and sending the dozen players toward a corner of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine practice court.

The players readied to stretch with large green elastic bands when first-year head coach Brett Brown called his team for a huddle.

No Wednesday morning practice, Brown told them, just arrive in the late afternoon for that night's game.

"We're going to win the game," Brown said.

Winning this season has been easier said than done.

The Sixers enter Wednesday night's game with visiting Orlando as losers of 11 straight. The 11 losses have been mostly lopsided, coming by an average of 20.27 points per game. Opponents are averaging 117.36 points per game.

"It's all part of the deal," Brown said. "It's all part of 2014."

Rebuilding is the deal, and each loss increases the Sixers' chances of winning May's draft lottery.

Calculations by Tankathon.com - yes, that's a real website - list the Sixers with a 19.9 percent chance to score the No. 1 pick. The website gives the Sixers a 55.8 percent chance to land a top-three pick. Their odds trail only Milwaukee, the NBA's worst team, which rocked the Sixers on Monday, 130-110.

The Sixers hold five picks for June's draft, including two lottery selections. It is shaping up to be one of the best drafts in recent years, and the Sixers are poised to cash in.

Next year's roster will likely be heavy on rookies, after last week's trades dispatched three players.

Danny Granger - one of the five players acquired at the trade deadline - seems uninterested in playing in Philadelphia and is likely seeking a buyout to play for a contender. A Sixers spokesman said negotiations on his future are ongoing.

"I don't begrudge him for any of that," Brown said. "And I think it's always our job to run a business and treat people well."

A buyout will save the Sixers money, but it will not affect next season's salary cap. Granger is a free agent to be. Next season's payroll sits at $26.9 million, about $30 million less than the predicted salary cap.

Five players have guaranteed contracts next season, three hold generous player options, and one has an affordable team option.

Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young - the two healthy Sixers who seem most entrenched in the team's plans - are enjoying some of their highest scoring outputs as the team plays its most dismal basketball.

Carter-Williams, a leading rookie-of-the-year candidate, is averaging 19.5 points over his last six games. Young, who is under contract for two more seasons, is averaging 21 points in his last six games.

"This year's the big learning experience. It's definitely not a bad thing," Carter-Williams said. "It's frustrating at times. But, you see teams go through adversity, and it's not always going to be easy."

And the season's final 25 games will be treated like tryouts, as Brown said he will determine "who's a keeper."

"You have to identify who the people this program is going to move forward with," Brown said. "And you're always hoping that it's a number that you feel like you got something out of the year."

Brown said those decisions will be made not only at games, but at practice, too. The coach said he loves practicing, which happens so infrequently because of a grueling NBA schedule.

And his team goes hard, Brown said. Right until the horn sounds.


Worst of the Worst

The Sixers' 20-point loss Monday to the NBA-worst Bucks didn't come close to the team's worst loss of the year: Here are the 76ers' losses of more than

20 points, in order of largest margin of defeat:

FEB. 9: Clippers 123, 76ers 78 (Margin: 45)

At Los Angeles

Sixers' second West Coast trip begins with Disaster No. 1. Clippers led by 31 - in the first quarter!

FEB. 10: Warriors 123, 76ers 80 (Margin: 43)

At Golden State

Disaster No. 2: Two-night combined margin of defeat - 88 points - nearly set the NBA record of 95.

NOV. 16: Pelicans 135, 76ers 98 (Margin: 37)

At New Orleans

First bad loss dropped the Sixers to 5-6 in what still felt like a surprisingly decent start to the season.

DEC. 16: Nets 130, 76ers 94 (Margin: 36)

At Brooklyn

Second blowout loss in three days. The Sixers actually beat the Nets at home four days later.

DEC. 14: Blazers, 139, 76ers 105 (Margin: 34)

At Wells Fargo Center

Sixth loss of a seven-game losing streak. Portland hit 21 three-pointers, nearly an NBA record.

JAN. 6: Timberwolves 126, 76ers 95 (Margin: 31)

At Wells Fargo Center

After an unthinkable four-game West Coast win streak, the Sixers fell flat in first game back home.

JAN. 31: Hawks 125, 76ers 99 (Margin: 26)

At Wells Fargo Center

Sixers' 11th loss in 13 home games - part of their current home futility, now 16 of 18, and counting.

JAN. 18: Bulls 103, 76ers 78 (Margin: 25)

At Chicago

Thaddeus Young's 12 points led the Sixers. Chicago had two bench players who scored more.

- Gary Potosky


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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