BILBAO, Spain – Pardon the cliché. But the 76ers are literally as ready as they’re going to be for Sunday’s preseason opener.
“We are able structurally to play some sort of a game,” coach Brett Brown said of facing Spanish ACB league team Bilbao Basket at noon here at the Bizkaia Arena.
“You feel like you have something on the side,” he added. “You have something underneath. We haven’t spent any time on zone offense. You know that could hurt us in a foreign game.”
But realistically, this matchup is nothing more than the first of two exhibitions in Europe. A sightseeing tune-up if you will.
So it’s understandable that the Sixers were working toward for the regular season instead of Bilbao (3-2 in the ACB).
“There are always things that you wish you had done,” Brown said of preparing for Bilbao’s zone defense. “But when you allocate time, I’m happy where our guys have put their efforts.”
Sunday’s game will mark the Sixers’ first matchup against a foreign opponent since defeating CSKA Moscow, 85-71, in Cologne, Germany on Oct. 11, 2006.
I’m interested in seeing how rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams fares.
The 11th overall pick in June’s NBA draft is trying to adjust to the pro game.
“I just want to run the team and play as hard as I can,” he said. “That’s mostly it and make sure everything runs smoothly, we get into our sets, and we stick to our principles.”
Carter-Williams, who left Syracuse after his sophomore season, averaged 13.6 points, 6.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 4.8 turnovers in this summer’s Orlando Pro Summer League. He shot 27 percent from the field and 15.8 percent on three-pointers.
Follow Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers for updates from Sunday's game.