Arnett Moultrie in NBDL 'for as long as it takes'

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Arnett Moultrie in NBDL 'for as long as it takes'

Brett Brown said it wasn’t “a punishment” or “a scolding” or "a demotion." According to the Sixers head coach, the decision to send Arnett Moultrie to the NBDL was an attempt “to help professionals be professionals.”

On Tuesday evening, the Sixers announced that Moultrie had been assigned to their D-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. Moultrie had surgery on his broken ankle in September and hasn’t played this season.

Brown said that while Moultrie is “coming along,” the second-year forward still has “goals and things he has to meet, standard-wise.”

“A lot of times in coaching, you have things that are just vague,” Brown said before Wednesday’s game against the Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center. “With us there are standards -- exact standards fitness-wise that just haven’t come to be. And he’s going to continue to strive to reach those numbers, and when they happen, we look forward to him playing.”

It’s not the first time Moultrie’s fitness has been questioned. Last season, former head coach Doug Collins was slow to play Moultrie and hinted that he was out of shape. The Sixers subsequently sent Moultrie to the D-League where he appeared in seven games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Earlier this week, in an interview with the Delaware County Daily Times, Moultrie insisted that he’s healthy and rejected the out-of-shape narrative. He was assigned to Delaware the following day.

“It’s not my ankle,” Moultrie told the Delaware County Daily Times. “It’s not my conditioning. But at this point, I really don’t care. I’m just sick of all the excuses. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another thing.

“It’s just [baloney].”

Moultrie, who is listed at 6-10, 240 pounds, played in his first game for the 87ers on Tuesday. Brown said Moultrie “moved quite well” and didn’t “treat it like he was going to detention.”

“It was actually planned long before his comments,” Brown said about the timing of sending Moultrie to Delaware. “You see a young player who, competitively, wants to get out on the court. In a twisted way, you applaud that. The bottom line for us is we’ve asked our players to get into career-best fitness. That is one of those non-negotiables. We want him to play well when ultimately he gets on an NBA court. For him to not play for the duration he has, and then just throw him out when it’s not at the career-best fitness that we demand from our program, then we’re not going to do it. It’s really that simple.”

The Sixers selected Moultrie late in the first round of the 2012 draft. In his first year with the team, Moultrie appeared in 47 games and averaged 3.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 11.5 minutes.

How long might Moultrie be with the 87ers?

“As long as it takes for him to reach his fitness standards,” Brown replied.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.

The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."

Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries. 

He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days.