Royce White 'hit or miss' so far for Sixers

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Royce White 'hit or miss' so far for Sixers

The Sixers were overmatched Monday night to say the least, losing to the Brooklyn Nets, 127-97 (see story). Unfortunately for the team, there may be too many nights like Monday this season in which the Sixers' talent just doesn’t come close to that of the opposition.

But head coach Brett Brown will persevere and constantly look for silver linings, and the play of Royce White on Monday qualified as such.

In his second preseason game, White played 19 minutes, scoring six points and dishing out three assists. In fact, White made an eye-catching pass that caused a stir on Twitter.

The 6-foot-8 forward likes to put the ball on the floor, and good things can happen when he does. But watching White create plays is unsettling for his coach because the rookie likes to freelance.

“He scares the hell out of me,” Brown said. “That’s what [happened] in college -- dribble the ball up the court and reverse the ball to Royce and then say what’s going to happen now? Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad because he is a runaway train. But that’s OK right now.”

White committed three turnovers and had four personal fouls.

White also showed that same up-and-down game during his Sixers debut in the team's preseason win over the Celtics on the campus of the University of Delaware.

In less than three minutes, White picked up four fouls.

However, in a little more than eight minutes, White also had a dunk, a layup, a foul shot, three rebounds, a steal and a pair of turnovers (see story).

“When he starts making good decisions, he is dangerous in trail,” Brown said. “Right now, it is hit or miss. We just have to bite our lip a little bit. He has a lot of game. When you start watching him play -- his passing and feel for the game and the fluid way that he plays -- you can see why people were attracted to him.”

That attraction resulted in White being selected 16th overall in the 2012 draft by Houston after just one season at Iowa State.

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

Sixers being cautious with Jahlil Okafor early in training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers lost Jahlil Okafor for the final 23 games last season because of a small meniscus tear in his right knee. Now they are being cautious as he prepares for his second year.

As part of the Sixers’ prescheduled load management for Okafor, he participated in a portion of practice and then worked out individually with head strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright.

“They just told me to relax once I did what they wanted me to do today,” Okafor said. “I was off to the sidelines. I feel fine. I’ll be good tomorrow.”

Okafor learned during his first NBA season that he should speak more openly with the staff about his body.

“Communication is key,” he said. “I think last year I didn’t really communicate how I was feeling, so I wasn’t able to get the help I needed.”

The team held three practice sessions in the first two days of training camp. Okafor said he knew the Sixers would be cautious with his workload. He is poised to improve upon his rookie year in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last season.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said. “I’m all good.”

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

Joel Embiid adjusting to new challenges in 1st NBA training camp

GALLOWAY, N.J. -- With Joel Embiid's excitement to be on the court following two years of injuries comes the reality of his lengthy setback.

Embiid is participating in his first NBA training camp this week. While he has impressed with his natural abilities and improved skills, Embiid is facing challenges as he gets accustomed to the league.

"Everything is kind of off right now as far as catching the ball or shooting," Embiid said after practice Wednesday. "I've still got to get in the flow of the game."

Embiid has yet to play since being drafted in 2014. For the past two years he has worked out individually and in controlled settings. Practices, even in training camp, are different. 

"You see all the time when you realize he hasn't played basketball for a long time," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said. "He's trying to gather his feet and find his balance, he's trying to figure out stuff in real time speed on defensive assignments and rotations."

On Wednesday, Embiid went through practice without any minute restrictions and was feeling healthier from the cold and virus he had been battling (see story). Teammates have praised his physical presence and eagerness to compete. He makes an impact with his 7-foot-2 presence alone, but there is more he wants to improve. 

Embiid is adjusting to the speed of the game. He has been facing challenges with getting the ball in the post and spoke to the coaches about his frustrations. The staff explained they are focusing on pick-and-roll defense and getting out to run during training camp, but he will get that desired location in game situations. 

“You continue to see the size of Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “He's a big man and he's got a mindset to back up his physical gifts. He really wants the ball. He wants to get deep catches. He wants to dunk on people.”

Embiid always has been realistic about his transition to his rookie season. He has pointed out many times that he is a fast learner, and is anxious to soak up new knowledge and apply it to the court.

"It's really frustrating," he said. "But like I've said, you've got to trust the process, which I've been doing."