Brett Brown

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Saric, McConnell

The Sixers lost to the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals and Lavoy Allen believes that if Philadelphia had prevailed in that contest, the franchise would be in a much different position, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays.

“We would have had a couple of more years with [Nikola Vucevic], Andre Iguodala, and a few of the guys,” said Allen. “We would have had some more good years if we would have kept that team together.”

Instead, the team pivoted, making a trade for Andrew Bynum. The big man wasn’t able to stay on the court and a year later, The Process was born.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Coach Brett Brown would like to see Ben Simmons participate in summer league, but it’s unclear if the 2016 No.1 overall pick will be healthy enough to play, Pompey passes along in the same piece. “His health and the judgment of his health rules the day. I don’t know what that looks like when we are talking about the summer league,” Brown said.
  • Brown would like to see the Sixers add shooters this offseason, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News relays. “We need shooters,” Brown said. “That’s kind of the bottom line. We need to get Ben Simmons the ball, we need to have Joel be Joel, and get a bunch of shooters around them.”
  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes Dario Saric is best suited for a role off the bench next season. The scribe believes Joel Embiid needs someone who can shoot from behind the arc next to him in the frontcourt and Saric only made 31.1% of his 3-point attempts this season.
  • If the Sixers want to win next season, T.J. McConnell may give them the best chance to do so, Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News opines. Hayes is a fan of the point guard’s defense and he believes McConnell will return better immediate value at the position than Simmons or a first-round draft pick would.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Lowry, Hornacek

The Sixers are near the top of our Reverse Standings, owning a record of 28-52. The team is optimistic that it can climb the real NBA standings next season and Joel Embiid is a major reason why there’s hope, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“The thing I get most excited about with Joel is he has such a long ways to go,” coach Brett Brown said. “He is just scratching the surface of what ultimately he’s going to be.”

Embiid remains out as he recovers from knee surgery, but the organization expects him to resume basketball activities this summer.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors are still working to incorporate all their new players, Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun details. The scribe notes that Kyle Lowry, who recently returned to the lineup following a wrist injury, hasn’t yet found a comfort level with new addition Serge Ibaka.
  • Coach Jeff Hornacek admits that the all-in switch to the triangle mid-season may not have been the best move for the Knicks, Al Iannazzone of Newsday relays. “It shouldn’t have been that big of a deal,” Hornacek said. “But from the players’ side they probably thought it was too big a change. We’ll figure what’s best for us, what everybody wants to do and try to go from day one and leave it like that.”
  • If the Celtics are going to make a deep postseason run, they must rediscover their 3-point shot, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet argues. Marcus Smart, who will be eligible for a rookie extension this offseason, is among the team’s bench players who have struggled from behind the arc since the All-Star break.

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Anderson, Rose

The Sixers may have found a long-term backup to injured big man Joel Embiid in 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes. Holmes, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, has thrived given the chance to fill in and step into a larger role.

Holmes has averaged 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 25.9 minutes per game since the All-Star break, about twice what he contributed for the Sixers prior to it.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown acknowledges the improvement and thinks that Holmes’ success could be here to stay. “I think a lot of the good teams have those lightning-in-the-bottle players that can just change a game,” Brown said. “You know, initially, you are wondering can he be one of those. Is he a duration player? I think since he’s come into the starting five, you are recognizing that there’s more durability.”

  • If the Knicks decide to release Derrick Rose, it will free up $18MM in cap room for them to find a point guard or draft one this offseason. As Bobby Marks of the Vertical explains on Twitter, the pending free agent otherwise has a $30MM cap hold set for this summer. Earlier today we wrote about Rose missing the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus.
  • Though the refs assigned Kyrie Irving a flagrant foul for his shove on Sixers forward Justin Anderson Friday night, the victim doesn’t take it personally. “He was just protecting his teammate, I think he saw LeBron James went down [on the previous play],” Anderson told Joe Noga of Cleveland.com.
  • Second-year forward Justin Anderson is getting his best opportunity to show the Sixers what he’s capable. Anderson has seen his role increase now that Robert Covington has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, writes Brian Seltzer of the Sixers’ official website. “My job is to go out there and make the most of it,” said Anderson. “It’s not to try and become All-Star in this little bit of time. My job is to show that, no matter what, this team can rely on me, I can be consistent, and bring the energy playing defense, rebounding the basketball, and then contributing on offensive end in many different ways.
  • The Celtics have been a model team for rebuilding clubs looking to turn their fates around, Taylor C. Snow of the Celtics’ official site writes. Rival Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek cites the roster full of hard-nosed guys as one of the major reasons behind their success.

Atlantic Notes: Long, VanVleet, Marks, Porzingis

Shawn Long has seized his opportunity with the Sixers; most recently scoring 18 points with seven rebounds in Friday’s win over the Bulls. Coach Brett Brown spoke with Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly about Long’s emergence in the absence of Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel.

“I think that Shawn Long has really grabbed his brief opportunities and been more than serviceable,” Brown said. “He’s shown reasons why he should be considered a genuine NBA player. Opportunity uncovers different qualities in people.”

While Long’s contract is partially guaranteed over the next two seasons, the 24-year-old has asserted his role in the league over the last nine games.

More from around the Atlantic…

  • Fred VanVleet‘s season with the Raptors has affirmed his self-belief. VanVleet, who was disappointed to go undrafted following a successful career at Wichita State, worked his way from Toronto’s summer league squad to their regular season roster. “As a young player, any experience you get is beneficial – even if it’s learning from mistakes,” VanVleet told Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “It does give you some personal satisfaction, proving [you belong in the league] when you’ve known you’re good enough for your whole life and you know all the work that you put in and everybody counted you out. It’s good to know that I wasn’t crazy for believing in myself. It’s nice confirmation.”
  • While Milos Teodosic appears unlikely to sign with the Nets– the Serbian standout cited “competitive ambitions” among his NBA requirements- Brooklyn GM Sean Marks continues to search for Euroleague point guards. NetsDaily detailed Marks’ activities during the GM’s recent trip to Barcelona (article link).
  • Kristaps Porzingis‘ transition to the Knicks‘ primary scoring option has been an “ugly work in progress,” Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. As coach Jeff Hornacek has reduced Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose‘s minutes, Porzingis has faced significant expectations in running the offense. “Porzingis is a helluva player, but he’s young,’’ Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after Monday’s match-up with New York. “You just don’t walk into the league and change. He’s going to be a superstar. There’s not any doubt. But there’s not a lot of patience from what I remember when I played in New York. We’re going to have to allow him to be great.’’

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Embiid, Crowder

Add one more intriguing young big man to Philadelphia’s seemingly endless frontcourt log jam. Which is a good thing, we suppose.  The improved play of 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes of late has ignited conversation that not only could the Sixers have their backup center of the future, but – per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer – a possible starter.

In the Sixers’ last five games, Holmes has averaged 14.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game – or roughly 22.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. What’s more, the Sixers have won three out of those five to boot.

You can count on him,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of the 23-year-old. “Those effort, energy sort of type things are the reliable part of his game. The other things [three-point shooting, making open 18-footers] at times are outliers and really tip him over the top when he starts doing those other things.

Pompey isn’t the only local reporter to praise the upstart second-year big man. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia spoke with teammate Justin Anderson about Holmes recent play for the Sixers.

He’s a beast,” Anderson said. “I’ve [seen] that for a while. I remember watching him in summer league. He plays extremely hard, and then now he’s shooting the three, his ability to just dunk on people. He’s really good. He’s a really good player. I’m happy for him. When he gets going like that, we’re a tough team.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Injured Sixers rookie Joel Embiid is back in Philadelphia while the information from his time rehabilitating his knee in California is reviewed. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia tweets that there has been no timetable for the next steps.
  • That rebounder the Celtics were said to desperately need could very well be right under their nose. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England suggests that forward Jae Crowder could be just that. Blakely writes that Crowder has averaged 7.7 rebounds per game since the All-Star Break.
  • Both Brett Brown and Brad Stevens were hired as head coaches four years ago but the rebuilding processes that the Sixers and Celtics have taken ever since differ, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Cooney suggests that the C’s have had the leg up all along because they started with a better base.

 

Sixers Notes: Long, Brown, TLC, Anderson, Embiid

Shawn Long is likely to stick with the Sixers after his 10-day contract expires, Jessica Camerato of CSN reports. Long, whose contract expires Wednesday, has earned the respect of coach Brett Brown.

“I think we’re going through that,” Brown said of making a decision on Long’s contract. “It wouldn’t surprise me. I have no desire, personally, to look elsewhere. He’s a part of what we’ve been doing.”

“We feel like he’s ours. His ability to step out and make a three, his ability to have a finesse move at a post, he does have length, he does play hard, he is fluid in his movements. All those things give you hope that maybe there is a place for him. He’s young, he’s a good young man, he works. There’s really nothing but positives that come to my mind when you mention his name.”

As Camerato mentions, the health of Tiago Splitter may influence the team’s decision to tender Long another contract. As Keith Pompey of Philly.com recently reported, the team was considering working Splitter out with the Delaware 87ers.

More from the City of Brotherly Love…

  • While injuries have decimated the Sixers’ lineup, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has impressed in his rookie season, Bob Cooney of Philly.com writes. “Luwawu-Cabarrot isn’t all the way there yet, but he has turned his game into something that could be very complementary next season,” Cooney writes. “He uses his athleticism very well on both ends of the court, and for a team that is always going to be in need of perimeter defense, that is a huge asset. His floor vision has improved to the point where he is a legitimate triple threat when the ball is in his hands. He hasn’t even really had the chance to play with Embiid yet, which could be so helpful in opening lanes and giving more time for jumpers.”
  • Deadline acquisition Justin Anderson held a Q&A with Ed Barkowitz of Philly.com. Anderson claimed to have “gotten over” the shock of being traded, and now embraces a “great opportunity” in Philadelphia. “Here, they have high expectations for me. I’m willing to grind and work. It’s a young team that’s going to play hard and fast.”
  • Anderson also relayed a funny tidbit about Joel Embiid, who he tried to recruit for the University of Virginia: “I tried to recruit him to come to Virginia. I was his host when he came on his official visit. Downstairs (from the dorm), there was big glass windows and he didn’t see the glass and he just walked right into it. It was hilarious. But the cool thing came when I asked him what he wanted to do. Do you want to go out? Do you want to get food? Movies? He said, “I’m just trying to go to the gym.” So it was like 12 o’clock at night and we went back to the gym to get some work in. It was impressive.”
  • Coach Brown has proven himself as the leader of this team, Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes. While there are still questions about Brown’s long-term future within the organization, some coaches around the league are “amazed” he’s managed a 23-42 record. “I think he should be coach of the year,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “You talk about all the players that are out with injuries, but every day, he is upbeat, he’s teaching, he’s coaching, and he’s trying to put his team in a position to win. I am a big fan of coach Brown.”

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Splitter, Brown, Silver

Despite a lingering knee injury, Jahlil Okafor hasn’t considered shutting down his season, Jessica Camerato of CSN reports (Twitter link). Okafor’s been experiencing soreness ever since a March 2016 surgery, but the former No. 3 overall pick will be relied upon in Nerlens Noel‘s and Joel Embiid‘s absence.

“We just rest and do treatment whenever we think is necessary, and just go from there.” Okafor told Keith Pompey of Philly.com.

More from Philadelphia…

  • Tiago Splitter could spend part of his rehabilitation process with the Delaware 87ers, as Keith Pompey relayed in the article linked above. Splitter, who has been sidelined with a calf injury all season, was acquired in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova at the trade deadline. “We are discussing his return to play. Some of it could look like involvement with D-League stuff, practicing, maybe playing,” coach Brett Brown said. “It’s a vehicle to return to play. He hasn’t played basketball for a year. I think the path to return to play can take different looks. That’s one of them that I just suggested.”
  • Commissioner Adam Silver told Brian Seltzer of NBA.com that he is excited about the Sixers’ progress this season. “It’s fun coming to games here. Just as I was walking through the tunnel pre-game, I ran into Allen Iverson and Julius Erving. [It’s] nice to see that they’re back, they’re believers, and I am, too,” Silver said. “This is a great sports town. Understandably, the fans are very demanding here. They expect to see a great product on the floor. I know the ownership is committed to that. It takes time to build a great franchise.”
  • The Sixers have shifted their focus toward acquiring a top lottery draft pick, Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes. After shipping out Ilyasova and Noel at the deadline, they’ve recently given playing opportunities to Justin Harper and Shawn Long“The realities of our roster are very clear to everybody. There’s no mystery to what our roster is right now,” coach Brown said. “It’s going to take some extra effort and extra luck in finding ways to compete.”

Sixers Notes: Valentine, Okafor, Brown

The Sixers should try to acquire Denzel Valentine from the Bulls if they are going to send Jahlil Okafor to Chicago, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. The Bulls reached out to the Sixers regarding an Okafor trade last week.

The details of their talks have not been made clear, though it presumably involves at least one prospect heading to Philadelphia. Valentine or Doug McDermott are potential trade pieces and Brookover believes the former is the better option should the Sixers have to decide between the two. The scribe envisions Valentine developing into a playmaker whom can stretch the floor, while he views McDermott as a career bench player.

[RELATED: TRADE CANDIDATE: JAHLIL OKAFOR]

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders why Okafor hasn’t improved all that much since coming to the Sixers. Murphy points out that Nerlens Noel and T.J. McConnell have improved considerably, while Okafor has plateaued.
  • Brett Brown is impressed with the way Okafor has handled hearing his name in trade rumors, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The coach said that Okafor should be proud of his work both on and off the court. “We remind him, ‘Go read your resumé,’ “ Brown said. ” ‘You go have a look at who you are.’ And he’s got a lot to be proud of on the court.”

Sixers Notes: Noel, Okafor, Henderson, Brown

Philadelphia’s desire to deal Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor is complicated by their declining trade value, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel is in the final year of his rookie deal and will be a restricted free agent after the season is over. Any team that acquires him faces the risk that he will receive a large offer that it would have to match to keep him. Okafor’s value is driven down by a hurting right knee, defensive problems and the feeling that his old-school game is only effective in certain systems. The Bulls have reportedly contacted the Sixers about Okafor, but Pompey suspects the best Philadelphia could hope for is a young player and a mid- to late-first-round pick.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Okafor has heard about the Bulls’ interest, and says trade talk is nothing new for him, Pompey relays in a separate story. “Trade rumors are something that’s going to be a part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA,” Okafor said. “I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about being traded.”
  • Many of the players who are helping the Sixers improve now understand that they won’t be around when the team expects to become a contender, notes Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. One example he cites is Gerald Henderson, a 29-year-old guard who has has been an important contributor, averaging 9.7 points per night and starting 29 games. “That’s what the NBA is,” Henderson said. “… You come in and do your job. Focus on that, and you go home. The future of this franchise will be what it’s going to be. They’ll make a decision to get whoever they want to be in this locker room. But for the group that we have, we play for each other. We try to do our jobs and win every night, and that’s it.” 
  • Brett Brown’s former boss, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, has noticed the challenges Brown has faced in managing a team through “The Process” that involved three straight years of losing and rebuilding, writes Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com“There’s nobody that could do the job that he’s doing, considering the situation as it has been,” Popovich said. “His demeanor and ability to stay positive and just teach, and get satisfaction out of watching young players absorb things is beyond my comprehension. He’s a consummate teacher, and upbeat individual.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Acy, DeRozan

The Sixers were without rookie Joel Embiid Sunday night as the 7’2″ center sat to rest a sore left knee. Now he’s listed as questionable for Monday’s game, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Just last week Embiid sat for three straight games nursing a bruise on the same left knee but returned in dramatic fashion with a 32-point showing when the Sixers played the Rockets on Friday night.

Asked if the big man returned prematurely, Sixers head coach Brett Brown spoke confidently of the team’s approach. “No, I don’t think so,” Brown said. “I think you end up going with the doctors’ advice.”

Embiid didn’t make the trip to Chicago for Philly’s Sunday night matchup with the Bulls, opting instead to undergo treatment at the team’s practice facility.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Considering the headlines that have come out of New York this month, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is well aware of the fact that Carmelo Anthony is in charge of his own fate. “He has control,” Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “[…] At the end, he has the final say. He’s going to keep playing for us, and guys have to put all that stuff aside and keep playing.”
  • After two successful 10-day stints with the Nets, Quincy Acy officially has two years of job security. The forward agreed to a two-year deal after proving that he can be a source of physicality and defense for the Brooklyn franchise, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “We’ve been pleased with how he’s adapted,” said head coach Kenny Atkinson. “We like his versatility, how he brings a toughness. And his perimeter shooting is obviously intriguing.” In 15 games of action, Acy has shot .480 from behind the arc.
  • After three games on the sidelines nursing a sprained ankle, DeMar DeRozan made his return for the Raptors on Sunday. The shooting guard played 36 minutes for Toronto but, according to Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun, looked slow out of the gates.
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