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Brett Brown

Sixers Notes: Noel, Embiid, Simmons

The Sixers want to evaluate how Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid play together on the court, Jessica Camerato of Comcast Sportsnet relays. Philadelphia started Jahlil Okafor next to Embiid over the last six games, but the team went 1-5 in those contests, which may lead to the duo seeing less action together. “I think over the course of the year, you’re going to see different things,” coach Brett Brown said. “To do it [with Embiid and Okafor] maybe as much as I have done it, I don’t believe that will be the case. But there will be times you’re going to see them paired up just through situations or foul trouble or injury.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Brown added that his intention is to “force feed” the Noel-Embiid pairing, as Derek Bodner of Philadelphia Magazine passes along (Twitter link). Ersan Ilyasova is starting next to Embiid in tonight’s against the Wolves, but the two centers will see court-time together as well.
  • Kurt Helin of NBC Sports believes the Sixers are giving Noel additional playing time so they can showcase him to potential trade partners. Finding a team that is willing to give up major value for the center may be a difficult feat, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors detailed in his Trade Candidate piece.
  • There remains no timetable for Ben Simmons‘ return to the floor, but the 20-year-old will be more involved going forward, as Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “You are going to start seeing him integrated more and more as this New Year is now upon us,” Brown said. “It’s still, obviously, not to the point where he’s on the floor practicing. But nobody should be worried that his foot is not healing.”

Sixers Notes: Brown, Noel, Okafor

Earlier in the week, Joel Embiid lobbied for the team to pair him with Nerlens Noel on the court, arguing that the Sixers need to try all options when it comes to playing time. Coach Brett Brown told reporters that he agrees with Embiid, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer passes along (video link on Twitter). “We have these three bigs. We need to experiment. We need to try different things.” Brown said “It’s on Nerlens to get himself back in shape and learn what we’re actually running. It’ll be on [the three centers] to find ways to coexist and me to manage it.” Brown added that he looks forward to seeing the Noel-Embiid pairing among other combinations.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

[RELATED: Trade Candidate: Nerlens Noel]

  • The coach added that the Sixers are going through “one of the most challenging times” since he’s joined the organization, Pompey relays in a separate tweet.
  • The Sixers‘ easiest path to clearing up their frontcourt logjam is to trade Noel, but the team shouldn’t make a move just for the sake of opening up minutes for its other big men, Ben Detrick of The Ringer contends. If Philadelphia does deal Noel, Detrick believes Minnesota would be the best fit. The Wolves could put together a package that includes either Ricky Rubio or Tyus Jones along with a protected first-round pick in exchange for the 2013 No. 6 overall pick.
  • The Sixers should have traded Jahlil Okafor at the last year’s deadline, Detrick opines in the same piece. The scribe argues that the center’s trade value is hard to gauge now, but he believes the 21-year-old can still be a foundation piece for another team.
  • The Ersan Ilyasova-Embiid pairing is the team’s best option, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer contends. Ilyasova is a good 3-point shooter for his position and his presence on the floor opens up the paint for Embiid. The power forward is a free agent at the end of the season, though the Sixers will have plenty of cap space to re-sign him if they choose to do so.

Sixers Notes: Noel, Embiid, Colangelo, Simmons

Sixers coach Brett Brown gave fans what they were asking for Tuesday night, and the Nerlens Noel situation took another twist, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Two days after Brown announced that Noel was out of the rotation, he entered the game midway through the third quarter. Brown explained it was because of foul trouble, but Philly fans were loudly chanting, “We want Nerlens” just before he got off the bench. Noel played the final 6:49 of the quarter and finished with four points. “I think holistically [the Sixers have] to find a way to take these bigs and manage them,” Brown said after the game. “We have to try to find a way that is going to help our team moving forward, get some wins, develop our guys.”

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Starting center Joel Embiid was happy to see Noel back on the court and referred to him as his “best friend on the team,” relays Shamus Clancy of LibertyBallers. Clancy urges Philadelphia to try to re-sign Noel this summer to ensure that there is always at least one rim protector on the court.
  • The Sixers aren’t going to let Noel talk his way into a trade, claims Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel has been critical of the franchise for having three young centers on the roster who all need playing time and lashed out after playing just eight minutes in a game last week. GM Bryan Colangelo held a news conference Monday and delivered the message that Noel should keep quiet to avoid further damaging his trade value. “At this point, in order for us to fairly evaluate Nerlens and for Nerlens to be fairly evaluated [by other teams],” Colangelo said, “he needs to show that he’s healthy, and that he’s professional and he’s got a good attitude to everything that’s going on and that may lead to ultimately something that would lead to a move.”
  • No. 1 pick Ben Simmons is making progress in his recovery from the right foot fracture he suffered in October, according to Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. The team hasn’t placed a timetable on Simmons’ return because it wants to avoid any temptation to rush him back before he is ready. In the meantime, he is getting a classroom-style education about the NBA game and is preparing to be the Sixers’ primary ballhandler. “We’re going to play with probably a considerable amount of pace [with Simmons],” Colangelo said. “He tends to grab and go … rebound the ball and push the ball up the floor, pass ahead, all the things that he demonstrated not only in college, but quite clearly in summer league. I think that the desire of this team and this organization to play a certain style of play incorporates some of that.”

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Embiid, Celtics, Biyombo

Sixers coach Brett Brown met with Nerlens Noel today in the wake of his comments about the team’s logjam in the frontcourt, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Now that Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor are healthy, Brown faces a challenge in finding enough playing time to satisfy all three. Noel lashed out after seeing just eight minutes of action in Friday’s game with the Lakers. The coach said Noel displayed “tremendous maturity” and “a lot of class” in today’s discussion. “He’s highly competitive, he’s in a very unusual situation,” Brown said. “The fact that it came out as soon as it did caught me off guard. We’ve discussed it and I’ll be surprised if everybody’s not seeing how we all need to handle this better going forward.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Embiid is angry about the Sixers‘ blowout loss in an ESPN game Friday and talked about the need to “change the culture” in Philadelphia, Camerato relays in a separate story. “The last national televised game we had, it was the same thing,” Embiid said. “I don’t know if it was the pressure of that or if it’s just, I don’t really know, but that’s the second game in a row we weren’t focused, especially on the bigger stage.”
  • Noel, not DeMarcus Cousins, is the big man the Celtics ought to pursue in trade, argues A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. Noel would be the rim protector that Boston needs, Blakely states, and an unidentified assistant GM told him that Noel’s complaints are understandable given the abundance of young big men in Philadelphia. Cousins, on the other hand, has a short temper and a history of trouble and wouldn’t be a good fit with the current Celtics roster, according to the writer.
  • Magic center Bismack Biyombo has great memories of the single season he spent with the Raptors, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Biyombo helped Toronto advance to the Eastern Conference finals last season before a signing a four-year $72MM deal with Orlando in July. The 6’9″ center, who will face his former team for the first time Sunday night, said he was exchanging messages with Kyle Lowry DeMar DeRozan and other teammates all the way up to the start of free agency. “The expectation that everybody [had] was that I was going back there,” Biyombo said. “I had conversations with teammates before free agency was open. An hour before free agency was open I was still talking to all my teammates. Ten minutes before free agency opened they were still talking to me. So the expectations was high. But in the end, it was tough.”

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Simmons, Noel

Jahlil Okafor could be the odd man out in Philadelphia, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Sielski notes that Okafor is not a fit next to either Nerlens Noel or Joel Embiidand he’s the worst defender of the three players.

Noel had previously expressed concerns about the frontcourt logjam, but it appears he is now more open to playing alongside his teammates. Embiid, who is likely to get pushed to power forward for the time being, regardless of whether Noel or Okafor is traded, has no concerns over the logjam.

“I’ve always wanted to be a point guard,” Embiid exclaimed. “So that gives me a chance to get the ball, iso, play one-on-one from the three-point line, the pull-up jumpers. I’ll be more of a spacer, more of a stretch four.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Ben Simmons took a major step forward in his recovery from a fractured right foot, Brian Seltzer of writes. Simmons was able to shoot foul shots without a walking boot for the first time since suffering the Jones fracture.
  • Coach Brett Brown is pleased with Simmons’ understanding of the game, Selzer adds in the same piece. “From a non-medical standpoint and just his coach, the evolution that he and I have been able to have in a classroom and on a court, in talking things through over the past few months, is fantastic,” Brown said.
  • John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines how the Sixers have failed in previous drafts. The scribe breaks down the team’s last six drafts and finds the team missed out on top talent in nearly every one.
  • Earlier today, we learned that rival teams were discouraged with the results of their research on Noel and the Sixers may not be able to get much in return for him as a result.

Sixers Notes: Bayless, Noel, Okafor, Brown

Injured point guard Jerryd Bayless should consider surgery on his left wrist, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Bayless has only played in three of the Sixers’ 20 games because of a torn ligament. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection last week and plans to join the team for Monday’s game with the Nuggets. “I’m going to try to play,” Bayless said. “I want to play. I want to get to the point where I can play and not worry about it.” Pompey commends Bayless for attempting to play through the pain after signing a three-year, $27MM contract this summer, but he adds that surgery is probably the wiser move considering that the Sixers seem doomed to another non-playoff season.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers need to get Nerlens Noel back on the court before they can make a decision about whether to trade him or Jahlil Okafor, according to Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel has been sidelined since October 24th when he had surgery to take care of inflamed tissue above his left knee. Okafor has a much higher trade value right now, Cooney states, because he is a proven scorer and other teams are wary of Noel’s health. Once Noel returns, which could be in a couple of weeks, the team may have difficulty finding enough minutes for him with Okafor and Joel Embiid already in place.
  • Brett Brown isn’t in any immediate danger of being fired, Cooney contends in the same piece. Despite a league-worst 4-16 record, Cooney doesn’t believe the organization will get rid of Brown before he has a chance to work with No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, who has been out since the preseason with a fracture in his right foot.
  • The Sixers have started using Embiid and Okafor on the court together and the early results have been positive, notes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly“I liked our spacing, I liked the high-low stuff we were doing,” Brown said. “I think when you post Joel, that Jahlil is going to play sort of hide-and-seek on the other side of the floor, and work that low zone, and become — I hope — a potent offensive rebounder. When you post Jahlil, Joel has the ability to space to three.”

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Brown, “Trust The Process”

The Sixers saw another close game slip away this afternoon as Joel Embiid was limited by a minutes restriction, writes Derek Bodner of PhillyMag. Coach Brett Brown admits it can be frustrating to have to take out the star center with games on the line, but he considers himself the “steward” of the organization and wouldn’t consider deying orders in the heat of battle to try to get a victory. “You come up with some really hard decisions that maybe don’t favor me, or us, or whatever, but for the long-term lens that we all have, we have to be responsible with Joel Embiid, and our [other] players,” Brown said. “We all get what we have in Joel Embiid. So winning a game in the middle of November in 2016, sometimes that takes a back seat.”

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • Embiid is putting up All-Star numbers in his limited minutes, but he is just beginning to show how good he can be, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The rookie center is working to regain his full measure of athleticism after two seasons lost to injury. Embiid says he still can’t finish at the rim the way he expects to. “I feel like I can push myself to being more athletic,” Embiid said. “I haven’t really been able to, like when I attack the basket, to go up like and try to dunk on someone because I don’t have that yet. So it’s just about me getting in the weight room with it, just lifting and working on making sure I stay strong.”
  • Embiid wants to help bring glamour back to the center position, Pompey writes in another story. He is one of a handful of talented young big men who are putting up impressive numbers in a league that has de-emphasized post play.“I think the big man is the main piece,” Embiid said. “Offensively, getting rebounds, and when you got a big man that can score down low and do everything [it] is always good for the team.”
  • Brown enjoys the “Trust the process” chant that Philadelphia fans have adopted whenever Embiid goes to the foul line, relays Dave McMenamin of The phrase is a nod to former GM Sam Hinkie, who collected assets for years without fielding a competitive team in the hopes that a winner would eventually emerge. Embiid has taken on the nickname for himself, and the fans have responded. “When the crowd gets going with ‘the process’ and Joel anoints himself ‘Trust the process,’ there’s a side of it, I say, ‘Good for the crowd, good for Joel,’ and none of us are going to take ourselves too serious,” Brown said.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Knicks, Noah, Bennett

Injured forward Nerlens Noel met with Sixers coach Brett Brown on Saturday to discuss the tam’s plans for him when he returns, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel had surgery October 24th because of inflamed tissue above his left knee and has been doing rehab work in Alabama. He returned to Philadelphia on Friday to begin team-supervised workouts. “I’m not able right now to lay out the perfect road map to everybody,” Brown said. “But it was a great conversation. It was good to see him as we always do with our players and me with Nerlens. I’ve been with him a long time. It’s very clear and candid what his role and what’s going to happen. How are we going to try to make it work.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks had a team meeting Saturday with coaches and president Phil Jackson to discuss some early-season issues, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Carmelo Anthony called the meeting productive, and said Jackson didn’t speak. “Nah, he actually just listened this time,” Anthony said, “which is good.”
  • Joakim Noah understands that his first month in a Knicks uniform has been disappointing, relays Ian Begley of The free agent center, who came to New York on a four-year, $72MM deal, has seen his playing time decrease lately as coach Jeff Hornacek relies more on a small-ball lineup. “There’s still things I feel like I need to do a lot better,” Noah said. “I’m not happy with where I am right now. I feel like I can definitely play better, but I’m not going to get frustrated with the process. I’m giving everything I’ve got and looking forward to being better with this team, but not being frustrated with the process.”
  • Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is being rewarded for his faith in former overall number one pick Anthony Bennett, according to Bennett turned in two good performances this week, including 12 points in 21 minutes Friday night. “It was just an opportunity [for him],” said Atkinson, who urged Brooklyn’s front office to give Bennett a chance. “We look at practice and we look at how he’s been working, how he’s been doing and I felt like he deserved an opportunity.”

Atlantic Notes: Davis, Ainge, Brown, Poeltl

Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman isn’t a believer in the Anthony Davis to Boston trade rumors. Speaking on the Toucher and Rich radio show, Gorman said neither Davis or the Pelicans are interested in a trade. “Joel Meyers, who’s been around the league forever and is a great play-by-play guy who does New Orleans, [told Brian Scalabrine] and I  . . . ‘No shot [Davis is] leaving.’ There’s no shot he’s leaving. He is anchored to New Orleans, loves New Orleans, loves living there and wants to ultimately be the leader of a good team in New Orleans,'” Gorman said. “Well, good luck to him if that’s the case, because that’s going to take a while.” Gorman also doesn’t think DeMarcus Cousins or James Harden would be a good fit with the Celtics.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge speeded up the rebuilding process by making 19 trades since coach Brad Stevens was hired in July of 2013, writes Chris Forsberg of Forsberg analyzes all 19 deals and finds that Ainge got at least equal value in return every time.
  • A coaching change in Philadelphia would be a mistake, argues Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Daily News. Hayes states that Brett Brown can’t be judged fairly until Joel Embiid has time to develop his game, the minutes restrictions are lifted on Embiid and Jahlil Okafor and the Sixers acquire a decent starting point guard.
  • Jakob Poeltl and fellow rookie Pascal Siakam have already been used as starters by the Raptors, notes Spencer Davies of Amicohoops. It’s a unique position for young players to get that opportunity on a team coming off the conference finals, and Poeltl addresses that topic in a wide-ranging interview. “It’s great for us to be out there and get the chance to learn,” he said. “Obviously, we had some injury problems — like, that played into it — but it’s great for [coach Dwane Casey] to be like, ‘Okay you know, I’ll give these young guys a chance. Let’s see what they’ve got.’ I think that shows a lot about him.”

Eastern Notes: Brown, Smith, Hawes

If the Sixers continue to lose games at their current rate, team executive Bryan Colangelo could press ownership to fire coach Brett Brown, Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. With the team winless to start the season despite the presence of center Joel Embiid, Brown may end up shouldering the blame for the team’s woes now that former GM Sam Hinkie is gone, the scribe adds. “Yeah, I’m aware of it,” Brown said regarding the added pressure to win this season. “I’m not young anymore. I come in here and I do my job. I know what we do at practice. I know what goes on behind the scenes. I know the preparation we put into about everything.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • J.R. Smith, who signed a four-year deal with the Cavaliers this offseason, wants to remain in Cleveland for the rest of his NBA career and beyond, Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal writes. “It makes no sense to go anywhere else,” Smith said. “To get treated the way we get treated here from the people, from the police, from everybody. There’s nothing but love here. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”
  • The Knicks are a team rife with dysfunction after just six games this season and much of the blame should fall on team president Phil Jackson, Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post opines. The Post scribe calls out the executive for his stubborn insistence on running the triangle despite the players not buying into the system, as well as his puzzling decision to install assistant coach Kurt Rambis as the “defensive coordinator” despite him being an offensive specialist by trade and not having had success as a head coach in the NBA.
  • Hornets coach Steve Clifford is raving about Spencer Hawes‘ basketball IQ, something the player admits he has to rely on given that he is not an elite athlete, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer relays. “It’s his IQ. He understands basketball and has such a feel for the game. And he has a terrific skill level,” Clifford said. “He had 11 defensive rebounds [against the Pacers]. He’s always been a pretty good defensive rebounder, even for a center. He brings intelligence to the court every time he plays, which is important.”
  • The Pacers are struggling on the defensive end, something head coach Nate McMillan chalks up to the team’s new personnel not having great chemistry with one another yet, Mark Montieth of writes. “The offense normally is ahead of the defense when you start out,” McMillan said. “Most of the guys, that’s how they got here, their offensive skills. Defense requires you to commit, not only individually but collectively.”

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