Brown trying to help Evan Turner 'rescue' himself

ap-sixers-turner-brown.jpg

Brown trying to help Evan Turner 'rescue' himself

The numbers aren’t pretty.

Evan Turner is averaging 11.6 points on 34 percent shooting over his last five games.

Those numbers are in stark contrast to the 21 points and 46 percent Turner averaged during the first month of the season.

The fourth-year swingman has been far less aggressive and the numbers prove that.

For example, Turner, the Sixers’ leading scorer with 17.8 points per game, was 0 for 2 from the floor for zero points and attempted no free throws in the first half against Boston on Wednesday.

“I just let the game come to me,” Turner said afterward. “I just try to play and go with the flow. That is pretty much it and whatever happens, happens.”

Turner finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in the Sixers’ 114-108 loss to the Celtics.

“I think any coach has to help a player get involved,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. “I don’t want to just put him on an island and not find ways to help him, too. Every player will go through periods from time to time where they need a little bit of help.

“Generally, you always are hoping a player can participate in his own rescue. We need him if we are going to win games and close games out as he has shown to all of us in some of his great performances of this year.

Brown’s words echoed.

Hoping a player can participate in his own rescue?

They indicate Turner’s struggles, but also that it is on the player and coaches to help him get over the skid.

“I said it last night and I’ll say it again, you do hope that they participate in their own rescue,” Brown said. “It is a great white water instructor line. If you fall out of the boat you had better swim, and you have to help us save you.

“When it comes to Evan, you want to help him. You want to get him involved and remind him of who he is. He is a hell of a player.”

Turner is averaging 23.9 points per game in the Sixers’ 15 wins this season, supporting just how valuable he is to the club’s success.

“I love coaching Evan Turner,” Brown said. “He is extremely coachable. He is a good person. He loves basketball. He wants to please and he’s young.

“[You have to] participate in your own rescue. But I also share a significant weight and responsibility I feel, internally, to help him do well.”

Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor to play Sunday, Joel Embiid out (right elbow)

Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor to play Sunday, Joel Embiid out (right elbow)

CAMDEN, N.J. — Two bigs back, one big out.

Nerlens Noel will make his regular-season debut Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Noel has been out since the preseason after undergoing elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October.

Jahlil Okafor also will return following a bout of gastroenteritis, which sidelined him for the last three games. Neither Noel nor Okafor will have minute restrictions. 

Joel Embiid, on the other hand, will not play Sunday. He will miss the game because of minor inflammation in his right elbow, which he suffered in Thursday’s game against the Pelicans. The decision also is in conjunction with the load management plan the Sixers have mapped out for him. Embiid did not practice Saturday and will not travel to Detroit. 

“It’s very minor and we expect him back soon. Not much concern at all,” Brett Brown said of Embiid, adding, “I think it’s far more precautionary than anything people should get nervous about.”

With Embiid out, the addition of Noel will help the Sixers when they battle the Pistons and big man Andre Drummond, who is averaging a dominating 15.0 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks this season. Noel will come off the bench as he gets reacclimated to the team and the flow of the game. 

“I felt great [to be cleared to play],” Noel said. “I was anticipating it so I got my mind right and this is what I’ve been working for throughout the whole rehab process. I’m feeling good and looking forward to it.” 

The Sixers are mindful of the fact Noel has not played in a regular season game since the finale last April. He has been working on getting his wind back up, and the Sixers will watch it closely in-game when determining his playing time. Noel said he has a “good starting foundation” with his conditioning. 

“You can do as much as you want on a treadmill,” Brown said. “You can do as much as you want one-on-zero … but there is nothing that’s like an NBA game. Everything goes faster, everything goes quicker, you have emotions involved which can also drown how fast and how long you can go. Those things are just part of him coming back into it, and we’ll manage him accordingly.”

Noel’s debut is the first step for him, regardless of how many plays. His athleticism will give another look to the lineup. Brown foresees having Noel back will allow the Sixers to play faster and protect the rim with a greater “bounce.” 

“We miss playing with Nerlens, just his presence,” Okafor said. “He’s an athlete. Obviously we miss him on the defensive side. We miss him as a leader vocally. It’s just going to be great having him back on the floor.”

The Sixers could counter the Pistons with the combination of Noel and Okafor, a duo they struggled to utilize together last season. Brown’s decision will be based on matchups. He pointed out a situation in which Drummond and Jon Leuer are on the court would be more favorable than one in which Tobias Harris is playing power forward. 

“You just try to pick your moments where you can maybe pair those guys up,” Brown said. “I think it will be a more genuine conversation as Nerlens starts playing more with us. He’s just really come back into it. But we come back and you play Toronto and you have all three bigs available, then it becomes another level of a conversation. I do look forward to it when we have an opportunity to intelligently match up with other people and we’ll play it out like that.”

The Sixers' next game after Sunday is Wednesday against the Raptors, when they expect to have their bigs ready to go.

Sixers' game vs. Kings rescheduled for Jan. 30

Sixers' game vs. Kings rescheduled for Jan. 30

The NBA has determined a new date for the Sixers home game against the Kings, which was postponed on Nov. 30 because of unsafe playing conditions on the court.

The game has been rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. This will create back-to-backs for both teams.

The Sixers are playing in Chicago on Jan. 29. They will play consecutive games against the Bulls and Kings, then have a road back-to-back against the Mavericks and Spurs on Feb. 1 and 2.

The Kings will be on what is now an eight-game road trip. They will play a back-to-back against the Rockets the next night in Houston.