Sixers Storylines: Hinkie, Brown to face old clubs

Sixers Storylines: Hinkie, Brown to face old clubs
November 11, 2013, 9:00 am
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Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown will face their old teams this week when the Sixers take on both the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. (AP)

The Sixers are back home following a thrilling double-overtime loss in Cleveland on Saturday night for a pair of games against some tough teams from Texas.

For new coach Brett Brown and new general manager Sam Hinkie, it will be the first time they go against their old clubs when the Sixers take on the Spurs on Monday night and the Rockets on Wednesday.

After that, the team heads out on its first real road trip of the season with games in Atlanta, New Orleans and Dallas starting on Friday night.

Here are a few subplots to the week ahead for the first-place Sixers:

The teacher and the student
Brown spent the past decade working for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. So if there is anyone who understands Popovich and knows what tricks the legendary coach has up his sleeve, it’s Brown.

Then again, they say the master never reveals all his tricks to the pupil -- so Brown is sure to see Popovich unveil something totally different when the Western Conference champions arrive in Philly for Monday night’s game.

Maybe one of those tricks will be a rest day for Spurs veterans Tim Duncan or Tony Parker in the second game of a back-to-back. Then again, Duncan and Parker didn’t pile up the minutes in Sunday’s 31-point victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

If the vets suit up, Sixers rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams will be tested by yet another elite point guard in Parker. For those keeping track, Carter-Williams has faced the Miami Heat, John Wall, Derrick Rose, Steph Curry, Wall again and back-to-backs against Kyrie Irving.

New-look Rockets
Since Hinkie left Houston to join the Sixers, the Rockets haven’t made too many off-season moves. But that one acquisition they did make was a pretty big one.

Dwight Howard, the most-coveted free agent on the market, signed with the Rockets and got a new position. Instead of playing center like in his first nine seasons with the Magic and Lakers, Howard is playing power forward next to big man Omer Asik.

Either way, Howard is a force in the paint and adds even more size to a large Rockets’ lineup that boasts four players taller than 6-10.

Meanwhile, the Sixers’ 7-footer, Spencer Hawes, is arguably the team’s best three-point shooter.

Hinkie’s fingerprints are all over the Rockets’ roster with draft picks Patrick Beverley, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Chandler Parsons and Greg Smith, along with free-agent signee Jeremy Lin.

James Harden was also acquired via a trade when Hinkie was working for the Rockets, but really ... how tough is it to trade for James Harden?

Hitting the road
The Sixers haven’t strayed too far from home this season with road games in Washington and a short flight to Cleveland. That changes this weekend when the Sixers go to Atlanta on Friday and New Orleans on Saturday. The team will spend Sunday on the road before going to Dallas for a game on Monday night.

After Wednesday’s game against the Rockets, the Sixers play 16 of their next 24 games on the road.