In an off-season defined by a singular big-risk maneuver, Sam Hinkie’s August acquisition of Tony Wroten came at the expense of only a future second-round draft pick. Nationally, the move was under the radar, to say the least.
As Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweeted at the time, this type of move suited the Sixers perfectly. Wroten represented a “low-risk asset grab that wouldn't help them win this season.” Basically, the former first-round pick had the chance eventually to become a decent player, but needed to work through his problems on the court.
From a subjective standpoint, Wroten has added a lot of entertainment value to this Sixers team. The second-year lefty combo guard has been a ton of fun to watch, especially on his relentless attacks of the basket. Wroten is fearless and always plays really hard. There’s something to be said for that.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Sixers have lost eight games in a row on the road and they’ll look to break that streak tonight when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Sixers will be without rookie Michael-Carter Williams again, as he recovers from a sore knee/skin infection. It will be the eighth game MCW has missed this season and the Sixers are 1-6 without him so far.
Here are some keys tonight for the Sixers against the T-Wolves:
* Limit the amount of damage done by Kevin Love: The 6-10 forward leads the league in double-doubles with 19, but that doesn’t begin to tell the story of how dominant he can be. He is a very good three-point shooter, can handle the ball and is an above-average defender. He will get his points and rebounds, but that has to be it if the Sixers hope to win this one.
76ers rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams was out of the hospital and at the team's shootaround this morning as they prepared for tonight's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
He did not participate in any drills and it appears doubtful that he will play tonight. MCW was in the hospital the past three days with an infection in his knee. The team said he still has soreness and is listed as day to day.
The team will leave Tuesday for away games in Minnesota and Toronto. The team said MCW hopes to make the trip, but then emphasized that he is day to day. They also said he is taking antibiotics.
A few weeks ago, we detailed how Brett Brown has brought elements of the Spurs’ motion offense to Philadelphia. The three main actions — Strong, Weak, and Loop —comprise the Sixers’ base half-court offense.
For myriad reasons, teams can’t run only three offensive plays, no matter how good their personnel is. Defenses are too good to be allowed to key on so few actions; teams with less firepower like the Sixers especially have to run counters and other sets to keep defenses off-balance.
The Sixers are only ranked 24th in offense, scoring 101.2 points per 100 possessions. Considering their personnel, it’s probably fair to say Brett Brown is exceeding expectations at that end of the floor. It’s still only a month into the season, but the Sixers are far from the worst offense in the NBA, which was where many pegged them to finish. I sure did.
The free falling Sixers (6-11) visit the 6-10 Detroit Pistons today at the Palace of Auburn Hills in a game that certainly won’t get much attention in the Delaware Valley until the Eagles and Cardinals get done their football game. Here’s a look at some of the keys for the Sixers against the Pistons, coached by Sixer legend Maurice Cheeks:
*Equal Detroit’s bench: The Pistons leading scorer is Rodney Stuckey at just under 17 a game. He comes off the bench for Cheeks. The Sixers backups will be the first to get matched with Stuckey, so Tony Wroten and company will have to do a good job of keeping him out of the lane, something the Sixers were horrible at doing against New Orleans on Friday night.
*Stay even on the boards: In Andre Drummond (11.8), Greg Monroe (8.6) and Josh Smith (7.3) the Pistons have a trio of strong rebounders. That is not an area of strength for the Sixers. They’ll have to get strong board games from the guards as well as big men in order to stay close with Detroit. Drummond leads the NBA in field goal percentage at 63.6 percent.
The Sixers play the New Orleans Pelicans tonight and for the first time in many games may have a full roster with which to play. Spencer Hawes, who has missed the past two games with a tweaked left knee, said at shootaround this morning that his knee feels good and he hopes to be able to play. Tony Wroten, who has been battling a back strain which also cost him two games, could be back in the lineup tonight as well.
Here’s a look at some keys for the Sixers tonight.
*Get the ball into Anthony Davis: The Pelicans’ big man is a terrific shot blocker but mostly does it when off the ball. The Sixers need to take the ball right at him and then either look for a quick pass off or take it up strong into him.
Of all of Brett Brown’s objectives heading into the season, developing Michael Carter-Williams into a starting-caliber NBA point guard was probably most important. A rebuilding team’s rookie lottery pick is generally going to receive every opportunity to improve, no matter how much he struggles.
It’s still early, but while displaying an all-around game that has been a major catalyst for the Sixers’ better-than-expected start, Carter-Williams has entered the league with a higher baseline than most draft observers expected. In other words, he already looks the part of a starting point guard. The major question is why that is.
The playmaking ability that Carter-Williams showed in college was considered an area of strength as he made the transition to the pros. Among Draft Express’ Top 100 prospects last year, Carter-Williams ranked first with 7.3 assists per game. There was a major caveat, though: Carter-Williams turned the ball over on 26 percent of his possessions, third worst in the DX Top 100.
Losers of six in a row, the 2-8 Milwaukee Bucks invade the Wells Fargo Center tonight for a meeting with the 5-8 Sixers, who will once again be without starting forward Thaddeus Young, who is not with the team due to personal reasons.
Here’s a look at some of the keys for the Sixers:
*Get better play from Michael Carter-Williams: He made his return on Wednesday after four games off due to a foot injury and wasn’t very impressive. He seemed to rush his play when things weren’t going well and also seemed out of synch much of the game in the loss to Toronto. Though just a rookie, the team does seem to feed off of him, and that showed on Wednesday. They’ll need a much better effort from MCW tonight.