Sixers begin first training camp under Brett Brown
New Sixers head coach Brett Brown talks with reporters after the team's first practice of training camp. (AP)
Getting that first official practice out of the way was a relief for new Sixers head coach Brett Brown, as well as his players.
“You can see they want to please but it is messy for all the obvious reasons,” Brown said after a two-hour practice, the first of two practice sessions held on Saturday at Saint Joseph’s University. “They have a new coach, new teammates, new language so you have to expect it to be messy.”
Day 1 with the Sixers was a very different experience from what Brown had grown accustomed to seeing as an assistant coach to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio for the past 10 years.
The Spurs are a well-oiled machine with three future Hall of Fame players and a future Hall of Fame coach. The Sixers, on the other hand, are in the beginning stages of laying a foundation for what they hope becomes a blueprint for their own future successes.
“Training sessions at the Spurs, you did your due diligence with defensive drills and this and that, but we quickly got to scrimmage environment,” Brown said. “It rolled but those guys have been playing together 10 years so there was a rhythm. You would walk into their gym and say 'I know exactly what this team wants to achieve on offense and defense on day one, three or four.'
“With us, we are trying to do everything,” Brown continued. “It is very herky-jerky and it is going to have to be like that for awhile.”
Rookie Michael Carter-Williams was part of a starting unit that also included James Anderson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. It is only the first day of a preseason that has 31 days still to come, but positions and roles are being assigned.
“As time unfolds maybe I put Evan (Turner) in a better place then I have him, but initially it is putting in a system,” Brown explained. “I will make several adjustments along the way but initially they have to learn the system.”
“I need to be a vocal leader,” Carter-Williams said. “Even though I am only a rookie I am the point guard on the team. I am trying to be a leader and learn the plays. That is one of my biggest difficulties. I have to tell people where to go and tell them the plays we are running, but first I have to know them myself. I am really working on balancing that out.”
Carter-Williams does not have to go at his job alone. He has a three-year veteran on his perimeter in Turner, a guy Carter-Williams identifies with.
“Evan has played some point guard and he is a bigger guard," Carter-Williams said. “I can relate to him. He has been in my ear a lot so he is very helpful.”
The Sixers will continue their training camp at Saint Joseph’s University through next Wednesday.