Are young Sixers worried about morale?
Brett Brown, Michael Carter-Williams and the Sixers have lost nine of their last 11 games. (AP)
When the Sixers won their first three games of the season, it was exciting. They looked so opposite of what the prognosticators said they would be. They played fast and hard. They were fun to watch and still are, only there are more losses associated with their play now than one month ago.
The Sixers have lost nine of their last 11 games and have dropped to 11th in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 6-11.
For those who have their hearts set on the Sixers getting one of the top five picks in the 2014 NBA draft, they are breathing a sigh of relief. Finally the losing they expected and want is occurring.
Unfortunately for Brett Brown, there is no relief in being on the losing side of the ledger on a nightly basis.
“There is nothing in anything that I am thinking about tanking anything,” Brown said vehemently after Saturday’s practice. “We are here to mean it. We are here to develop. We are here to demand. We are here to instill accountability. We are building something. You don’t just blink and say 'OK let’s try to do it now.' That isn’t going to happen so it starts from the get go. That is the only way I know how to do it and it is how we are all wired.”
Brown is a type-A personality as is his entire staff. They are wired to succeed. They are meticulous and thorough but they are not naïve. As much as their job is to teach right now they must also counsel because losing wears on people, especially young people who are used to winning.
“It is not going to effect me that we have lost how many out of how many,” Michael Carter-Williams said. “That is not what we are worried about. You can’t worry about that or you will continue to lose. We are going into every game positive. We go in play our best and do the best we can.”
Friday night the Sixers did not display their best defensive effort, giving up 121 points. Half of those points came in the paint and the Pelicans shot 55 percent from the floor.
The Sixers have had some troubling defensive numbers this season, namely that they've given up an NBA-worst 109.8 points per game and opponents are shooting 38.5 percent from three-point range.
“I always break it down," Brown said. “It’s technical we didn’t do something that we drilled into them well. It’s mental. They came into the game and they didn’t know we were switching Ryan Anderson on pick and rolls. It’s effort. We got problems. It is just effort. We want to try always and at times the effort isn’t A-plus and it needs to be A-plus plus.”
The good news is Brown’s starting point guard sounds like the coach when he described Friday’s defensive shortcomings. That is a good thing because you want your point guard to be an extension of the coach.
“They got to the paint way too many times,” “Carter-Williams said. “We didn’t force them to take jump shots. They got to the paint early and it was a rippling effect. Once one guy got in the paint the rest were confident getting in there and getting easy lay-ups. We have to do a better job on the perimeter, in the paint and we have to shift also.”
Sunday in Detroit, the Sixers have their next opportunity to show they are getting better and have learned from past mistakes, proving the grand scheme is in motion.
“We are here to develop and build a genuine serious program that has a foundation that can grow into the future,” Brown emphasized. “You don’t just decide to do it. I had to start from day one and that is what I am trying to do.”