Dei-mails: What will happen with Sixers' vet trio?

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Dei-mails: What will happen with Sixers' vet trio?

In this latest edition of Dei-mails, we touch on the Sixers’ veteran core, Michael Carter-Williams’ minutes and the rookie point guard’s best comparison.

Here we go:

What will happen with Turner, Hawes and Young?
A reader named Brad posed this question, as well as whether the Sixers’ front office would keep Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young around to help with leadership on the club.

I think the Sixers will definitely make a move by the trade deadline. I do not think it will involve Hawes because he is in the final year of his contract and his $6.5 million salary is not enough money to come off another team’s cap to land a impact free agent in the offseason.

Young and Turner have both increased their trade value. Heading into this season, there was definitely a belief neither guy was in the future plans of this franchise. While that may still be the case, Young and Turner are still just 25 years old with plenty of time to grow as players.

Sam Hinkie loves draft picks, that much we know. Still, trading Young to a contender for a first-round draft pick this year would not be enough in my eyes, even though this upcoming draft class is said to be deep in talent.

A first-rounder and an expiring contract would definitely have Young on the move. He makes close to $9 million this year and has two more years left on his contract.

Turner’s payday is coming in the offseason and I just don’t see the Sixers being ready to spend what he will demand on the open market. They are still a few years away from being a team that can contend in the Eastern Conference.

I think a sign-and-trade happens in the summer involving Turner.

Is Brown going to burn out Carter-Williams?
A Twitter user (@LoyalJohnHall) was concerned about Michael Carter-Williams’ minutes on the court.

The worry is understandable. Carter-Williams has already been sidelined earlier this season with a foot injury and is now dealing with a sore knee.

Carter-Williams is averaging 36.6 minutes per game, the most among all rookies. His minutes are second-highest on the Sixers behind Turner’s 37.1. The rookie point guard’s minute are rank 17th in the entire NBA.

As a college sophomore, MCW played 1,409 minutes over a 40-game season. He is already a little more than one-third of the way to logging those same minutes in his first pro season.

The increased number of games, playing at a high tempo and a drastic increase in travel is certainly an adjustment. However, those things are best dealt with by youth.

Who is a good comparison to Carter-Williams?
A reader named Michelle said that Carter-Williams reminds her of “a skinny Magic Johnson.”

I decided to look at Magic’s numbers as a rookie through 15 games and compare them to Carter-Williams’ marks. Johnson’s points are all that are listed game by game and he averaged 19.6 a night in his first 15 games.

For the season, Johnson averaged 17.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.4 steals a game. He shot 53 percent from the field but just 22.6 percent from three-point range.

Carter-Williams is currently averaging 17.7 points, 7.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game.

Carter-Williams is shooting 40.8 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from long distance.

Noel, Brown have had open dialogue about Sixers' big man situation

Noel, Brown have had open dialogue about Sixers' big man situation

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Nerlens Noel’s recent comments on the logjam of big men on the Sixers' roster did not come as news to head coach Brett Brown. While Noel had not been this publicly outspoken on the issue, he and Brown have been having open discussions about it. 

“I have been talking to Nerlens a lot and I have a fondness for him,” Brown said Tuesday on the first day of training camp. “I don’t begrudge Nerlens Noel at all for what he said. I don’t have any problems with it.”

The Sixers' crowded frontcourt this season is a continuation of last season’s conundrum in which Brown was tasked with playing Noel and Jahlil Okafor, two natural centers, together. The depth has increased with the return of Joel Embiid and additions of Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. 

So when Noel doubled down on Monday by saying, "I don't see a way it can work,” Brown recognized where the center's opinions were coming from as he enters his fourth season in the NBA. 

“I feel if we do anything well, we communicate with our players freely,” Brown said. “It is one hundred percent transparent — hard conversations ahead, easy conversations ahead. I have spoken with Nerlens about this a lot. 

“My messaging and my mood and attitude and things that come out of my mouth haven’t changed once. I feel very confident that I’m giving him the advice that he should hear from me and it still allows me to do my job. 

“We have talked about it freely, like I have talked about it with Jahlil and Joel. Those situations are part of pro sports. They’re ever-present with me and us right now.”

Noel has been a rare mainstay among a revolving door of players over the past three years. He is in a unique situation with Brown in that the two have experienced a long list of the team’s ups and downs together. Noel feels comfortable talking honestly with Brown about his viewpoints. 

“I’ve known Brett probably longer than most guys here and we’ve built a different type of relationship,” Noel said. “It’s been very front and forward and we talk and we keep it real. That’s what he’s been doing with me and that’s why I’m able to continue to talk to him about myself and him just telling me what position I’ll be in — he’ll try to put me in — to succeed.”

With Brown having an understanding of Noel, his focus is on what Noel can bring to the team this season. He believes Noel has an edge over Embiid and Okafor for minutes early on because Noel is the only one among the trio starting camp without restrictions from previous injuries. 

There is a tough competition for playing time among the bigs, and camp is about proving oneself through basketball, not through personal opinions. Brown was impressed on the first day of camp by the manner in which Noel approached the morning practice amid the comments.

“He has handled it with me and in the training session today like a pro,” Brown said. “He came to mean it. He didn’t back down at all. There was no moping or sulking or him being stubborn. He played. That’s what he has to do. I think that’s a real reflection of anybody of how you handle adversity. Today he handled it like a true pro and a true competitor.”

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

The Sixers finished in the basement of the NBA standings last season with a league-low 10 wins. But with the influx of young talent and addition of a couple veterans to the roster, the Las Vegas oddsmakers are betting on the Sixers to make some strides upward in the 2016-17 standings.  

Last week, the WestGate Superbook in Las Vegas set the Sixers' over/under for wins this season at an optimistic 27½, which was the fourth-lowest projection in the league.

Similarly, while Bovada is projecting another season of basketball filled with mostly losses in Philadelphia, the sportsbook doesn't view the Sixers as a shoo-in to finish as the league's worst team for the second consecutive year.

Per Bovada, the Sixers have the fourth-longest odds (125/1) to capture the Atlantic Divison title for the first time since 2001-02, beating out the Nets (250/1) by a considerable margin.

The favorite to win the division is the Celtics at 20/21, trailed closely by the defending division champion Raptors (21/20). The Knicks are between the Raptors and Sixers at 10/1.

The Sixers (150/1) also edged out the Nets (200/1) in odds to win the Eastern Conference championship. The two teams in the conference directly ahead of the Sixers in that futures bet are the Hornets (100/1) and Magic (50/1).

The Cavaliers are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference at 5/11, followed by the Celtics (5/1) and Raptors (14/1).

Least surprising of all futures odds, Bovada has the Sixers tied with four other teams for the longest odds to win the NBA title. The Nuggets, Kings, Nets and Suns were tied with the Sixers at 500/1 odds to win the Larry O'Brien trophy.

The early favorites to win it all are the same two teams that met in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors are alone at top with the shortest odds at 4/5 trailed by the Cavaliers at 3/1.