Brown: 'We have this win in perspective'
Brett Brown was able to play only his starters in the final 6:37 of Wednesday's win over Miami. (USA Today Images)
Before training camp began, Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters why his team would be an alluring one for which to play. The reason was that Brown could offer players the one thing they wanted the most …
Brown held firm to that idea on the eve of Wednesday’s season opener against the Miami Heat when he told reporters he foresaw his rotation going 11 deep. With four injured players on the 15-man roster, that meant he wanted to get everyone in.
In reality, Brown went nine deep in the 114-110 victory over the Heat. Only Hollis Thompson and newly signed big man Brandon Davies were sidled with the DNP-CD. But of the nine guys who got into the game against the Heat, no one played fewer than 12 minutes and everyone scored a basket.
So maybe Brown has points and minutes to offer.
“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.”
Tony Wroten led the bench players with 14 points on 6 for 9 shooting in 23 minutes. He also hit a three-pointer, grabbed four rebounds, had a pair of assists and a steal. Though Wroten was the first man off the bench, he was far from the lone contributor.
“Look at the performance of Daniel Orton and Lavoy (Allen) coming in -- two solid interior players,” Brown said. “Tony Wroten came in and scored 14 points. Everyone had a say in the [outcome of the game].”
Indeed, Orton played a big role in his 15 minutes of action. Though he has been with the Sixers for just two weeks, Orton was matched up against the Heat’s Chris Andersen and helped the Sixers hang onto the 19-point lead they built through the first five minutes of the game.
The same goes for Allen. Although he had a rough preseason, fighting both injury and fitness issues, Allen logged 17 minutes, pulled down three rebounds and had four points.
No, those numbers don’t exactly pop off the stat sheet. However, for a team running an up-tempo offense, Brown was able to get his starters breathers for the hard minutes at the end of the game. Evan Turner led the way with 37 minutes as the other starters logged 36 (Michael Carter-Williams), 35 (James Anderson), 34 (Thad Young) and 29 (Spencer Hawes) minutes. This was important because Brown didn’t sub out any of his starters over the final 6:37 of the game.
In fact, the four bench players logged a combined 16 minutes in the final quarter. The starters were fresh enough to shoot 9 for 16 from the floor and 6 for 7 from the line.
“I felt good,” Young said. “I played 34 minutes and we had guys coming in and out to keep it flowing.”
Young wasn’t the only player that felt good about Wednesday’s victory. It’s easy to feel good when there is playing time to go around and everyone has a role in the win.
When Sam Hinkie came aboard as the general manager of the Sixers, the team made a full commitment to the use of advance metrics. However, after the opening game there isn’t much of a need to go too deeply into the numbers.
Look no further than the team’s shot selection to figure out how it hit its first 11 shots of the game and built a 19-0 lead in the first five minutes.
Of the 80 shots they took, the Sixers attempted nearly half of them (39) in the paint. They also got 24 points on 21 three-point attempts and were able to limit the long two-pointer.
The Sixers took 20 shots in the “yard” -- the area between the paint and the three-point arc -- and hit nine of them. More importantly, 11 of those 20 shots were inside of 17 feet, which is essentially the distance of a foul shot. The Sixers went 4 for 9 on those shots.
The Sixers shot 14 for 19 in that near-perfect first quarter. That includes 2 for 4 from three-point range and 7 for 7 in the paint. Of the remaining eight shots, the Sixers went 2 for 3 on those long two-pointers.
Check out the Sixers’ shot chart to see where they got their points: