Give and Go: Who suffered most in Sixers' skid?

uspresswire-ap-sixers-brown-mcw-fan.jpg

Give and Go: Who suffered most in Sixers' skid?

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Sixers to our resident basketball analysts and see what they have to say.

Running the Give and Go this week are CSNPhilly.com columnist John Gonzalez, CSNPhilly.com producer/reporter John Finger and CSNPhilly.com producer/reporter Matt Haughton

Who suffered the most during the Sixers' losing skid: Players, Brett Brown or fans?

Gonzalez
Yes. Choice D. All of the above. When a team ties the NBA record for losing, there's plenty of suffering to go around. Many of the players on the roster are probably thankful to have NBA jobs, but that might not fully mitigate the sting associated with getting your basketball teeth kicked in on television each night.

Brown signed up for this, but he couldn't have known the tank effort would be historic.

As for the fans, they've been asked to hang in there and wait for a brighter tomorrow. And tomorrow will be brighter. It must. Because, comparatively speaking, that's the only possibility.

Finger
The players come and go. In fact, the there will be very few players that were part of this historical season back next year. Michael Carter-Williams and Thad Young will return. So will Tony Wroten. Nerlens Noel also will be ready to play, but the streak has nothing to do with him.

This is all on Sam Hinkie. He's the architect. So as far as the suffering goes, it gets piled on Brown. It's his name that will be tagged next to the records and he had very little to do with putting together the roster.

Sure, Brown gets it. He understands the plan and what the organization is trying to do. But in 50 years when everyone has forgotten about what happened in 2013-14, Brown will still be the coach of a team that matched the NBA record for losses in a row. It doesn't seem fair to Brown or his legacy.

Haughton
Let's be clear: All parties involved have suffered to an extent. But with a contingent of fans rooting for a better spot in the draft lottery and Brown continuously saying this is what he signed up for, the players took the skid the hardest.

After all, the players were the ones on the court taking those bumps and bruises while suffering one loss after another. They knew that going into each game they would be at a disadvantage talent-wise but still had to put forth maximum effort and catch some breaks just to be competitive.

Tanking or not, when people look back on that 26-game skid years from now, all the talk will be about the players on this season's team and how they let such a thing happen.

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

Joel Embiid 'shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry'

NEW ORLEANS -- Of all the players Joel Embiid could be compared to, a similarity between a 7-foot-2, 270-something-pound center and a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard wouldn’t seem like a match.

That’s exactly what Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry sees, however, when looking at Embiid and reigning MVP Steph Curry.

“He’s different than anybody that’s been in this league in a long, long time,” Gentry said Thursday before the Sixers win over the Pelicans. “He’s a tremendous talent, he really is. I’ve never seen a guy that size, and with that kind of strength, that’s got such a soft touch. He shoots the ball with the touch of like Steph Curry. It’s so soft when it leaves his hand.”

Curry is shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from three. Embiid is 45.8 percent from the floor is 44.2 percent from long range.

Embiid flashed a big smile and paused to react when hearing of Gentry’s praise. He had been feeling hard on himself after going 0 for 5 beyond the arc against the Pelicans (see story).

“Steph is probably one of the best shooters in the league right now," Embiid said. "So that compliment means a lot."

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

NEW ORLEANS -- The weeks and months have quickly piled up. Nerlens Noel has not played an NBA regular-season game since last season ended for the Sixers on April 13. Nearly eight months later, Noel is nearing the return he has been eyeing for quite some time now. 

“It’s always an excitement to be able to play basketball after this amount of time, including the summer, not being able to play organized basketball at a competitive level,” Noel said Thursday. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I think I’ve gained some momentum coming back from this minor surgery, and I think I’m in a really good place and I’m feeling good with my body. Everything is on point.”

Noel has been sidelined since undergoing elective left knee surgery in October to address an inflamed plica. He traveled to New Orleans on Wednesday to join the Sixers ahead of their 99-88 win over the Pelicans (see game recap). Noel continued his rehab Thursday while the team prepped for the game. 

“I’ve been able do five-on-five, full contact,” Noel said. “I’ve tried to maximize my opportunities of that with the team being gone on the road. I came down here and went through most of shootaround and it went well. Now these next couple of days, [I will be] going through practice, still working on my wind. I do like where I’m at now.”

The Sixers’ next game is Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Brett Brown had given Noel’s availability for that game a “maybe” (see story)

“I’m not sure,” Noel said of playing Sunday. “I’m ready to go with these next couple of days and see how my wind feels and how my body feels, which I have been feeling good. So it’s a possibility.”

When Noel does return, there is a scenario in which he could be paired with center Joel Embiid. Last year, the Sixers struggled finding the best way to utilize Noel and Jahlil Okafor, also a center, at the same time playing the four and five positions. As Okafor has said of playing with Embiid, Noel also believes his off-the-court friendship with the towering rookie would translate onto the court. 

“I think it would be something that’s experimented,” Noel said. “It’d definitely be interesting.”

Noel candidly expressed his opinion of the Sixers’ logjammed frontcourt at the start of the season. Since speaking to the media after his surgery, Noel has mentioned he is in a good mental place (see story). For him, that means being out on the court again. 

“I love myself and I love the game of basketball,” Noel said. “When I step out here to come and play, it just brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me. Regardless of what the details of it are, I just love the game and I’m happy to just be playing.”