Questions abound via Twitter and email about the 76ers since they began training camp on Saturday at Saint Joseph’s. While it’s been difficult to get a real handle on a lot of the new players as the media hasn’t been allowed to watch hardly any of the practices (in years past we’d get to watch at least a half hour of scrimmaging), here’s some insight to most of the questions that have been asked.
1. What is coach Brett Brown like?
As I stated after a preseason meeting with him, Brown appears to be personal, filled with boundless energy and seems (for now) to be OK with the fact he is overseeing a group that he needs to grow for the future, not one that is expected to win any time soon. He is a stickler for detail, but aware that constant nit-picking with such a young group needs to be curtailed some time.
2. Is this the year Evan Turner proves that he was worth the No. 2 pick?
Believe it or not a media member asked this question to Turner on media day: “Is this going to be your year, or what?” Appropriately, Turner rolled his eyes because it has been the underlying question that has surrounded him since being taken in 2010. He hit his troubles on the head when he said that he puts too much pressure on himself at times. This should be a very telling year for Turner. Gone is his best friend, Jrue Holiday. But with Holiday now playing in New Orleans, Turner could have the ball in his hands much, much more. He says that’s when he’s at his best. We probably will find out.
3. Will Royce White be on this team and, if so, will he be able to make a contribution?
White has been very intriguing so far in camp as he has opened eyes with his talent and toughness. Brown said that White is still quite out of shape, and White admitted as much also. The 16th overall pick hardly played last season for the Houston Rockets as they battled to find a way to allow White to travel due to his anxiety disorder. He has said that he will fly this season when he has to, and that he will drive to games when he can. If all that can come to fruition and he can get himself back in basketball shape, the 6-8, 265-pounder could be a very interesting fit into this organization.
4. How has rookie Michael-Carter Williams looked?
The first answer is young. He has the rail thin body and the face of a teenager. He’ll have to work hard to get his body NBA ready because guys with the ball in their hands take a beating in the NBA. Teammates have cautiously praised Williams, which tells me there is a lot of growing to do. His shot hasn’t looked very good so far from what we’ve been able to see, and you have to wonder when the grind of NBA training camp is going to wear him down. But as Brown pointed out, it is his job to groom MCW. And that can’t be done unless he is on the court for plentiful minutes.
5. What has Nerlens Noel been doing?
For the most part he has been a bystander at practice, listening to Brown’s explanations of defensive rotations and what he expects offensively. He often has a ball in his hands on the sideline and when the team does shooting drills he can participate in that. Like MCW, he has to get his body NBA-ready. He says he is up above 220 pounds, which is a good sign after being 206 at the NBA combine. He has painfully thin legs, so putting too much weight on appears as if it could be difficult. Not being able to go through the grind of his first NBA season might be tougher than actually trading elbows with the likes of Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and others. This will be a tough mental grind for Noel. His hope is to be back sometime after the holidays. Whether that’s the team’s hope or not remains to be seen.