The Sixers will look for the second win in as many games tonight when they face the Washington Wizards down in the nation’s capital.
Here’s a look at a few keys to the game for the Sixers.
+ Keep sharing the ball. The team did a very good job of moving the basketball in the season-opening win over the Miami Heat. Shot distribution was good, probably right where coach Brett Brown envisions it being most of the season. That has to remain the same. If someone on this team is taking more than 20 shots in a game it’s probably not going to be benefial.
The Daily News' Bob Cooney reports from Wells Fargo Center where Allen Iverson formally announced his retirement before the 76ers' season opener against the Miami Heat.
The Sixers open their season tonight at the Wells Fargo Center against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. In what will certainly be a season of many losses, the question that fans are asking is: “What should we be looking for?”
Whatever it is, fans will have a chance to see it. There isn’t going to be any hidden agendas. Coach Brett Brown is going to throw all of his players into the mix and find out who can hang and who can’t.
“I think that this year has to be more reflective of what we’re doing and I stand by that,” said Brown when asked about how much attention he is going pay in scouting opponents night in and night out. “Along with that there needs to be an education for these guys on the league and how we guard different personnel and schemes. We most definitely do that, we touch upon it but not to the in-depth stage that I have been used to.
When he was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, the 76ers were often a team that Brett Brown had to scout. The main focus of his report for many years was how to stop Allen Iverson. Brown is now running the show here in Philly and Iverson will announce his retirement here tomorrow afternoon. We asked Brown today of his thoughts on Iverson.
“Philadelphia was my scout team for years,” Brown said. “He was amongst the hardest people you had to scheme to guard because he could do it in so many ways. He is a great scorer, a great competitor. I think my most vivid memory of him was at the All-Star Game and I had the good fortune of coaching in two All-Star Games with Pop [Gregg Popovich] and our staff. You go into a room and there’s 24 of the best players in the world in a small room. I had my son with me and I look over and I see A.I. over in a corner and I can’t believe, physically he’s small, small waist, strong and cut, but small relative to all of the other great players. I’m looking at him and to do what he did on a night-to-night basis and play with that toughness and get hit and fall down and get back up and have that fierce competitor in him with really a smaller type of body. He amazes me. That is one fierce competitor. For him to have the career that he had here in Philadelphia, I know the city is proud of him and what he’s accomplished. Having to guard him was a really, really hard assignment for the Spurs and scheming against him was very difficult, if not impossible.”
Asked to give a scouting report on how to guard Iverson, Brown said:
The Sixers have released four players, a source told the Daily News. They are Temple product Khalif Wyatt, forward Royce White, forward Mac Koshwal and guard Vander Blue.
There are a couple of surprises there. It was generally thought that Blue and Wyatt were competing for one of the roster spots. But when coach Brett Brown gave them very limited minutes in the final few preseason games, it appeared that maybe neither had won the battle.
Perhaps the bigger surprise is the release of White. At 6-9, 265 pounds and with a versatile game, he appeared to be an intriguing part of where this team is heading. But anxiety issues make flying on the team charter always iffy for him, and he didn’t appear to have the best of attitudes, something that is high on the list for Brown, as he oversees his first roster as a head coach.
It wasn’t so much of a bombshell as a matter-of-fact statement by 76ers coach Brett Brown. But talking in the hallways outside of the arena on the campus of Ohio State before his team took on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, Brown strongly hinted that rookie center Nerlens Noel would be sitting out the season while still recovering from the torn ACL in his left knee he suffered in February, in his only season at Kentucky. Said Brown:
“It’s going slow. I doubt, everybody doubts, that he’s going to play this year. I like the fact that he is with us every single day in every single way, in video sessions, practice, shootarounds, in the classroom. It’s an opportunity for him to learn me and the NBA. We don’t want to waste this year. I think from a skill perspective it’s an opportunity to break down his shot, really work on his free throw, start a little bit from ground zero. He’s bought in. He’s been great. On my staff, we have Greg Foster, who has played in the NBA for 13 years, and a fellow NBA big can pay attention to him. Although we won’t see him on the court, I feel good that his path is a little bit more directed by him being with us.”
There was talk that the hope of Noel’s return would somewhat coincide with the New Year, though several NBA executives I talked to after the Sixers acquired Noel in a draft night trade with New Orleans said Noel fell to the No. 6 pick because of the doubt that he’d play this season. While Brown’s words weren’t an official announcement, it seems as though the Sixers’ brass is certainly leaning toward letting Noel not only get the knee completely healed but also allow him to get his body NBA-ready. He was carrying a rail-thin 206 pounds on his 6-11 frame at the NBA combine, though he now says he’s closer to 230. Adding that bulk on a not-fully-healed knee would probably do more harm than good, so perhaps sitting him out is a no-brainer.
Sixers forward Lavoy Allen was back on the practice floor Sunday, a day after he missed the team’s open practice at the Palestra. On Saturday, coach Brett Brown said that he heard Allen had overslept and that the ramifications of Allen’s actions would be taken care of.
“We will handle it internally and it has been handled,” Brown said. “I expect more. He expects more of himself. We need more and it’s in him. It’s really that simple. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and it’s [due to] injury and a new system and his time is coming.”
Allen provided little information as to why he missed practiced, repeating the line: “I met with coach before practice, addressed the team about it and we’re moving on from there.” He then added: “We’re moving on.”
The team signed free agent center Daniel Orton yesterday and released center Tim Ohlbrecht. The 6-10, 255-pound Orton, 23, spent last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and spent time with Thunder’s NBA Development League affiliate Tulsa 66ers. In 29 games he averaged 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and shot 53.4 percent from the floor. Orton played a season at Kentucky before declaring for the 2010 draft. He was selected 29th overall by the Orlando Magic.
He played 16 games, including two starts, for Orlando in 2011-12 and averaged 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.7 minutes. Last season for the Thunder Orton played 13 games and averaged 2.5 points and two rebounds in 8 minutes. Orton has very good hands and possesses a very good touch around the rim and is a tough, very good athlete. His offensive game still needs improvement and his perimeter defense is suspect, according to a scouting report.
With so many big men down, Orton continues the Sixers search for someone who can fill some minutes in the post off the bench.