T-Wolves exposed Sixers' weak bench

T-Wolves exposed Sixers' weak bench

Brett Brown not pleased by poor defense against the Timberwolves

October 24, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Brett Brown's bench was outscored 85-32 in Wednesday's preseason finale loss to the Timberwolves. (USA Today Images)

The Sixers lost to the Timberwolves 125-102 Wednesday night in their final preseason game, but lost in the blowout was the fact that they actually led 17-10 with 5:52 to play in the first quarter -- the juncture of the quarter where Brett Brown made his first substitutions.

Not to say the Sixers' bench was solely to blame for the defeat, it is just this team’s depth is extremely limited.

Prior to the game, depth was a topic of conversation with Brown. Would the inexperience of his roster force his hand to substitute differently, say, leaving at least two starters on the floor at all times?

“I wish you could do it that way and you can't without playing them in two small clumps,” Brown explained. “My opinion is not many players can play 10 minutes straight, and I think to play five minutes straight isn't really enough.”

“I've been taking Evan [Turner] out and then putting Tony [Wroten] in and so I hear your point,” Brown said. “I don't know mathematically if you can do it unless you play in big minutes or little tiny clumps.”

A trademark of the Sixers in Doug Collins' first two seasons was one of the strongest second units in the league, spearheaded by Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams.

Wroten is definitely Brown’s sixth man and I think Royce White has a chance to be the first reserve big man he turns to, but scoring is neither player’s forte.

The Sixers' bench was outscored 85-32 on Wednesday. Starters’ minutes played a factor with four of the five Timberwolves’ starters playing less than 20 minutes versus the Sixers' starters averaging 25 minutes.

Still, one can’t ignore the 53-point differential.

“I really tried to put a lot of responsibility on our young guys and seeing what a second group could do,” Brown said. “In a regular-season game that [subbing] might be different, but tonight I just wanted to see these guys play as young guys and see if they could come together and they didn’t.”

“The flow and the rhythm and how we guard things fell aside,” Brown said. “But ultimately they are going to have to learn. You can’t go through this season playing seven guys. Even subbing creatively is going to be difficult to hold onto all three of those guys on the floor.”

When Brown says “all three of those guys,” he refers to Turner, Young and Spencer Hawes -- his most experienced talent on the roster.

Unfortunately that trio did not have their finest outing Wednesday, shooting a combined 11 for 37.

Turner, who was 2 for 15 from the floor, did grab 10 rebounds, hand out five assists and get to the line for nine free-throw attempts.

But the bottom line is this team cannot afford to have off days from those three.