MCW practices again, says he's 'ready to go'

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MCW practices again, says he's 'ready to go'

Michael Carter-Williams is the most attractive piece of the Sixers’ current puzzle.

His play excites fans and gives them reason to believe a bright future will one day replace this 7-19 state.

Carter-Williams has had two straight practices after dealing with a right knee infection.

With the Nets coming to town on Friday night, will the rookie point guard be in the Sixers’ starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 3?

“He is definitely not definitely,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said, getting a chuckle out of the assembled media. “Nobody is making a 100 percent commitment to him playing. We think he is. He has practiced well, so we assume he will be in the lineup.”

“I have had two good practices,” Carter-Williams said. “I felt good. I was shooting after, so I am ready to go.”

Carter-Williams, who has missed the last seven contests, is officially a game-time decision. However, there is plenty of optimism surrounding his status.

MCW certainly spoke like a man that intends to play. He was aware of the Sixers’ scouting report for Friday’s game against Brooklyn, which had plenty to do with slowing down the Nets’ backcourt duo of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

“We can’t let Joe get off early. We can’t let him get in a rhythm,” Carter-Williams said of Johnson, who scored a season-high 37 points against the Sixers on Monday. “We have to make him take tough shots and stay down on Deron and keep him in front. They are tough, tough guards and they are going to be a challenge for us, but we are going to go out there and be aggressive.”

Carter-Williams is not pain free. He said the pain in his knee is a one or a two on the scale of 1 to 10.

Carter-Williams is prepared to deal with some soreness when he gets back out on the court and his coach is ready to see some rust.

“We will be smart, but he will play,” Brown said. “We are not going to wrap him up. We will be smart with it and inch him along. There are going to be some growing pains getting him back in the mix, but we are not going to be too restrictive.

“He is not that precious. He’ll be fine. He’ll get through, it but we will be smart. We are going to have to bite our lip.”

Carter-Williams missed four games earlier in the season with a bruised arch in his foot. When he returned to the court from that injury, he shot just 2 of 10 for 10 points to go along with six rebounds, six assists and six turnovers.

“That was my first time coming back from an injury and this is my second time,” Carter-Williams said. “I am looking to adjust to it and that I am not as rusty as the first time I came back.”

Rusty or not, Brown is just excited to get his floor general back.

“I am thrilled that he is back,” he said. “I am thrilled that he is with me and I am glad that he is a Philadelphia 76er, 22-year-old, rookie point guard.”

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.

Bryan Colangelo: 'Never a period of discomfort' with Sixers' bigs

Bryan Colangelo: 'Never a period of discomfort' with Sixers' bigs

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers on Friday unveiled their brand new, state-of-the-art practice facility in Camden, New Jersey (see story).

Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, while speaking to media members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, touched on a variety of topics. That included the team's surplus of big men, an issue that has been years in the making.  

One of the major questions surrounding the Sixers this offseason is how the team plans to utilize all three of its talented young big men in Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid. With Embiid finally healthy and on track to play this season, the Sixers have some tough decisions when it comes to balancing playing time as well as maximizing each player's potential.  

There have been rumors throughout the summer that Colangelo has been actively trying to shop either Noel or Okafor because of his discomfort with having three big men on the roster. His comments on Friday cleared up the situation. 

"We're excited for the season. We’re excited to have three, talented young players that can play that position," Colangelo said. "I said something this summer that was somewhat tongue and cheek that was taken so seriously and everybody hung on that one word that I would be uncomfortable going into the season or absolutely uncomfortable, it was literally overstated so many different times. It was never a period of discomfort, in fact, it's actually comfortable knowing we have that much talent there.

"The discomfort comes in trying to manage and maintain the happiness of three talented young players and that’s something that I think will work itself out."

This offseason has been one of transition for the Sixers. The days of "The Process" are long gone, and the Sixers seem poised to finally become a competitive franchise again after years of tanking.

During their summer overhaul, the Sixers brought in nine new players in hopes of forming a roster that features actual NBA-caliber players that could compete on a nightly basis. 

The team now not only features a surplus of bigs, but for the first time in a long time, a healthy balance of talent at each position. 

"The availability of those players is going to be an experiment all season long, not just with the bigs but with this entire team," Colangelo said. "We’ve got a good mix of talent and there's going to be a lot of competition at every position."

Colagelo expressed that under the former regime ran by Sam Hinkie, the Sixers lacked any sort of competitive drive and identity, something that he emphasized greatly when first put in charge. 

"We really have brought some things to this team that I think was sorely lacking," Colangelo said. "One was veteran leadership, whether it's Gerald Henderson, Jerryd Bayless or bringing Elton Brand back. Playmaking ability between Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriquez, Dario Saric coming into the mix, Ben Simmons — these are playmakers as much as they are good basketball players and scorers.

"So we’ve got a good mix of talent, but what we actually have will play itself out on the court in the coming months."