With the Philadelphia 76ers off to a 3-0 start, fans must ask themselves if this will continue. Although rookie coach, Brett Brown, realizes he has a flawed team, his impact on player development is already noticeable.
He’s got three rookies, a pair of second-year players and three third-year guys on a roster that’s easily one of the NBA’s youngest. His players have an average of 3.3 years of experience, a number skewed greatly by a duo of 13th-year veterans (Jason Richardson and Kwame Brown) that will get little playing time due to injuries. He’s got a healthy 11-man rotation. And he’s got a rookie point guard who will be permitted to play through mistakes.
Youth is one of the Sixers biggest obstacles, but it is also a future strength. Brown has always had success with his player development. He has brought those same developmental skills from Patty Mills, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili to now Michael-Carter Williams, Spencer Hawes, and the rest of the Sixers’ bench.
“My anticipation is that guys will get a little tired and a little bit quicker,” Brown said.
Brown believes his team can still increase the pace. Even though preseason was a disaster, maybe Brown’s high expectations are a factor in the Sixers fast regular season start. Brown specifically noted how well his roster is suited to playing fast, pushing the pace in lieu of settling for slower half-court sets.
“I feel like to take our roster and find ways to score … it’s going to be with speed and it’s going to be in open court. It’s not going to be against a static half-court, Chicago Bull-type defense,” Brown said. “That is not an environment that we want to play in.”
Brown is going to have to use his developmental skills on their thin bench in order to sub out the six main guys. Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, James Henderson, and Spencer Hawes are the obvious starters. Center/Forward Lavoy Allen is also an experience NBA player who is getting back into shape. Brown used a nine-man rotation during their win last Wednesday against Miami. During that win against the Heat, no one played fewer than 12-minutes and everyone scored a basket.
“That’s the key to the whole program, and I don’t want to over dramatize anything,” Brown said. “That’s where we put our efforts and that’s where we put our philosophy. When you have a team like we have, it is our responsibility to develop players. So we have designed a coaching staff and put in plans so the players can see it come to fruition in a game. Watching people do what they practice in a game is the Holy Grail. We were able to see some of that.”
Philadelphia is hosting Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors (2-1) tonight at 7:00 PM (ET) as they attempt to improve to a 4-0 start.