On the surface, Brett Brown’s comments about youth being the cause of the 76ers’ turnovers sounds like an inaccurate excuse.
That’s because the team signed almost 32-year-old Marco Belinelli, an 11-year veteran, and 30-year Ersan Ilyasova, in his 10th year, to free-agent contracts after both players were bought out by the Atlanta Hawks.
The Sixers start 33-year-old JJ Redick, who is in his 12th season, and they have 13th-year veteran Amir Johnson, 30, and 10-year vet, Jerryd Bayless, 29, on the roster.
Yet, the Sixers (38-30) remain the worst in the league in turnovers at 17.0 per game.
“I think that Ben [Simmons, 21 years old] and Joel [Embiid, 24] are,” Brown said of being young. “I think Dario [Saric, 23] is still. You forget how young by NBA standard he really is.”
Brown added that Simmons, Embiid and Saric feature a lot in what the Sixers do in regard to high volume touch-the-ball guys.
Monday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at Wells Fargo Center will mark the 89th game of Embiid’s career. Saric played six seasons overseas before signing with the Sixers on July 15, 2016. Ben Simmons was sidelined with a broken foot last season after being the first overall pick in the 2016 draft.
Embiid was fifth in the league in turnovers at 3.8 per game heading into Sunday night’s NBA action Simmons was eighth at 3.5. Saric is third on the team at 1.98.
“So when we use the turnover thing I think I used that line on,” Brown said, “I sincerely mean it.”
Starting with Monday’s tilt with the Hornets at Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers (38-30) have the most games remaining in the regular season with 14.
Nine of those games are at home. Currently in sixth place in the East, the Sixers play four teams with winning records — Minnesota (March 24), Denver (March 26), Cleveland (April 6), and Milwaukee (April 11) — with all four games at the Wells Fargo Center.
Daily glimpse at the Top 12 spots in the Eastern Conference standings. pic.twitter.com/PM7iKf9BG2
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) March 18, 2018
The 14 remaining opponents (through Saturday) have a .404 winning percentage, giving the Sixers the easiest schedule in the NBA the rest of the way. The third-place Cavaliers (40-29), who are 1 ½ games ahead of the Sixers, will be playing teams with a .483 winning percentage, followed by No. 4 Washington (.491), and No. 5 Indiana (.551, the sixth-toughest). The Wizards and Pacers, both at 40-30, are a game ahead of the Sixers.
Is Fultz a one or a two? Brown says he’s a player.
Markelle Fultz was a point guard his senior season at DeMatha Catholic High School and during his lone season at the University of Washington.
However, the Sixers were already invested in Ben Simmons at point guard when they selected Fultz first overall in June’s NBA draft. As a result, he was supposed to start at shooting guard and assume the ball-handling duties when Simmons was out of the game.
That never really materialized as Fultz is scheduled to miss his 65th game on Monday while learning how to reshoot a basketball. But he’s looked good as the primary ball handler during three-on-three scrimmages and leading the second team at practice. Fultz has been able to get all over the court with the ball in his hands. He’s also excelled in the pick-and-roll.
So is he a point guard or a shooting guard?
“I think he’s a player,” said Brown, refusing to answer the question. “I think we will learn more about Markelle what his position is as we coach him more. Right now, I think he does some special things kind of all over the place as a primary ball carrier, playing the second side of stuff when he can have a live ball or a pick-and-roll.”