Atlantic Notes: Brown, Johnson, Bargnani

Sixers coach Brett Brown has the difficult task of holding together a last place team that didn’t acquire any players who are likely to help the franchise this season despite having two top-10 picks in the 2014 NBA draft. But Brown doesn’t regret signing on to coach Philadelphia, Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press tweets. “Even knowing what I know now, with the draft picks not here and some hits with injuries, I’d take this job 50 times out of 50 times,” Brown said.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Brown had expected the Sixers to land Andrew Wiggins in this year’s draft, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). “I thought we had him [Wiggins]. I was expecting we were going to draft [Nik] Stauskas and Wiggins,” Brown said. But the ping-pong balls of the draft lottery didn’t go their way, and Philly ended up selecting third, where it nabbed the injured Joel Embiid instead.
  • The fans in Sacramento let James Johnson hear their derision when he made his return to Sleep Train Arena last night, but Johnson is a much different person now than when he departed the Kings back in 2013, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes. He has matured much since then, Smith notes, and is providing the Raptors with a nice spark off the bench this season. “I just think it was tough for me to play here [in Sacramento],” Johnson said. “I won’t put all the onus on Sacramento either. It had a lot to do with me being immature. I was playing bad. I had a bad year that year [2012/13]. I have to own up to it.
  • It is still unknown just when the Knicks can expect Andrea Bargnani to return to action for the team, Marc Berman of The New York Post reports. Head coach Derek Fisher had originally expected Bargnani would be available 10 days ago, but he reinjured himself during his second full practice with the team, notes Berman. Fisher did say that Bargnani was a “big piece to the future,’’ adds Berman.
  • There is no evidence that players who fall in the draft like the CelticsRajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, who were both selected 21st in their respective drafts, perform better because of the “chip” on their shoulders, Braden Campbell of Boston.com writes. Campbell cites a statistical analysis performed by Michael Lopez and Noah Davis of FiveThirtyEight.com as evidence to support this assertion.

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