Brett Brown's plan for Sixers will take time

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Brett Brown's plan for Sixers will take time

Patience.

I know Sixers fans have heard this before, but after seeing the team on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center (see story), everyone needs to be patient.

New Sixers head coach Brett Brown is encouraging his young team to play an up-tempo style, which could be entertaining, but there will be growing pains. The Sixers are simply undermanned, but it does appear that they have a game plan to improve this team.

It begins with developing young players like Michael Carter-Williams, who has played well in four preseason games. Carter-Williams was shockingly compared to a young Magic Johnson by Celtic great Tom Heinsohn. In four preseason games, the young point guard has just four turnovers while learning Brown's system.

Brown is bringing his years of experience as an assistant for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio to his new role in Philadelphia. He is changing the culture by making everyone accountable for their actions. There is no doubt he will be challenged this season in a big way. He will need enormous patience just like the fans.  

The other big piece to the long-term future of the franchise is 6-foot-11 center Nerlens Noel, who isn't expected to see game action until December at the earliest. By all accounts, Noel is working hard at his rehab from a torn ACL, and at 19 years old, there is no need to rush this big man back on the floor.

This is no Andrew Bynum situation -- Noel is anxious to get on the hardwood and the Sixers need him to gain some valuable experience as soon as he is healthy and ready to go.

So get ready for lots of lumps this year like Monday night's 30-point loss to the Nets. Vegas has listed the Sixers’ over/under win total at 16½. That's potentially a lot of losses.

Times have been tough lately for our Philadelphia sports teams, and we all want to see wins now. But in the case of the Sixers, patience is the best way to approach this upcoming season.   

Sixers' Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

Sixers' Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

As the Sixers get two bigs back from injury, another goes down.

First overall pick Ben Simmons suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot on Friday. Simmons rolled his right ankle during the team’s final training camp scrimmage at Stockton University.

Simmons underwent an X-ray and MRI on his right foot and ankle. Sixers head physician Dr. Christopher Dodson and Sixers chief medical officer and co-chief of sports medicine orthopedics at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Glashow reviewed the images.

Simmons’ timetable to return is to be determined. The Sixers are considering further medical evaluation and treatment options. 

Landing the number one pick and selecting Simmons was the highlight of the Sixers’ next chapter. They were supposed to be healthy this time around as they entered a new phase following a 10-72 season. 

The news of the fracture adds to years of injury-related setbacks. Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie season rehabbing from an ACL injury. After undergoing two foot injuries in as many years, the 2014 third overall pick Joel Embiid is slated to make his NBA debut Oct. 4 against the Celtics in preseason action. Jahlil Okafor is also expected to play next Tuesday for the first time since his season-ending knee surgery in March. 

The Sixers drafted Simmons to become a focal point of their system. At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, he is a point-forward with the potential to change the look of a lineup. During training camp Brown experimented with multiple combinations, including playing Simmons at the point, shooting guard and small forward. 

Brown called the two-three combination of Simmons and Dario Saric “6-10, do-alls” (see story)

Simmons, 20, impressed his teammates during camp. In just four days of practices, it was easy for them to see how Simmons would improve the Sixers. 

“He’s really physical,” Joel Embiid said. “He’s just a big presence. When he pushes the ball, you can feel it. He makes you want to go with him. … He’s so fast and he’s so big.” 

Said Nerlens Noel, “He just plays basketball the right way. When your big man does that, it makes it a lot easier because he is very versatile being a point-forward type. That opens up a lot of things for him to be able to open up for his teammates."

The Sixers will be faced with filling a role they haven’t actually had yet. They had gameplans of how to utilize Simmons, but they were implemented only in training camp. The Sixers have a frontcourt logjam which will allow them to plug in other players at the power forward spot. They also can fill his experimented role on the wings with traditional shooters. But his absence will eliminate versatile lineups in which players are essentially “positionless,” a Warriors-style of play that causes mismatches of size and skills. 

Even though the Sixers have an abundance of bigs, Embiid and Okafor will be monitored for minutes at the start of the season. Throw in Simmons’ injury and this creates opportunities for other frontcourt players such as Richaun Holmes and Elton Brand. With Simmons absence, there also could be more minutes for Saric to play his natural position at power forward. 

Simmons wasn’t letting himself get too far ahead as he entered his first NBA season. He has been taking each day one at a time with an excitement of the newness of his rookie year.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” Simmons said on Media Day. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

Now it remains to be seen when Simmons will play his first game. 

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

Sixers Injury Update: Simmons rolls ankle, taken for precautionary imaging

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Ben Simmons rolled his right ankle during a team scrimmage on the final day of training camp. He was taken for precautionary imaging. The results have not yet been completed.

Jerryd Bayless did not scrimmage because of a sore left wrist, which the team continues to monitor. He sat out of Thursday's scrimmage for the same reason.

Jahlil Okafor participated in Friday's scrimmage in accordance to his load management. The Sixers are being cautious with players as they return from injury. Okafor underwent right knee surgery last season.