A rebuilding and tanking team trying to gather high-level lottery picks and cultivate young players. Sound familiar?
While the Phoenix Suns’ situation isn’t exactly like the Sixers’ Process, there are similarities.
After just 24 games, the team has already endured an 0-3 start that included the worst loss in Suns history, the firing of head coach Earl Watson, and the trade of Eric Bledsoe, who desperately wanted out.
Now, with interim coach Jay Triano leading the way, the focus is on developing young talent such as Devin Booker and 2017 No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson.
Triano, who was head coach of the Raptors during part of Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo’s tenure in Toronto, sees similarities between the Suns and Sixers.
“We’re in the same boat,” Triano said Monday morning. “Our young players have the same goals, and I have the same aspirations for our young team. keep them playing, play the right way, play hard all the time and eventually we’ll get this thing turned around.”
Triano said he understands what Sixers coach Brett Brown went through and feels the pressure of coaching a team that has trouble winning. He also has a lot of respect for Colangelo and the way he’s handled things in Philadelphia and said he has no doubts that Colangelo will continue to lead the Sixers down the right path, a path he hopes the Suns will be on soon.
“They’ve got the right pieces,” he said. “I just think they’ve built the team the right way.”
As for the matchup with the Sixers, Triano pointed out the obvious in the matchup problem that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid bring to the table.
“Versatility, size, [Simmons’] ability to do a variety of things at his size makes him a tough, tough matchup,” Triano said. “I think his basketball IQ and Joel Embiid, you’ve got two guys who think the game as well as they do, that’s a real positive.”
Simmons scored a season-low five points in the Sixers’ 108-103 win over Detroit on Saturday, but after looking at tape of the game, Triano said that it doesn’t matter if Simmons is slowed from a scoring standpoint because he is such a willing passer that he impacts the game everywhere. Booker agreed.
“He’s been playing unbelievable,” Booker said. “He can do a little bit of everything.”
Suns reserve center Alex Len (ankle) who did not play against Boston on Saturday, will be available to play against the Sixers.