Wyatt, Sixers close summer league with first win

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Wyatt, Sixers close summer league with first win

In their final game of the Orlando Pro Summer League, the Sixers notched their first and only win by beating the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, 89-86.

The Sixers did so on the shoulders of Temple product Khalif Wyatt.

The guard poured in 27 points in 18 minutes off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 12-of-14 shooting from the charity stripe. Wyatt also hit a trio of three-pointers and handed out four assists.

The Nets, who finished their summer slate 0-5, played with just six available players. Brooklyn's Chris Wright misfired on a three-point attempt in the final seconds, as the Sixers held on to finish 1-4 overall in Orlando.

Michael Carter-Williams played 28 minutes and posted 11 points and five assists. The No. 11 overall pick in the 2013 draft shot 5 of 16 from the field, made a three-pointer and committed three turnovers. The Syracuse product started all five of the Sixers' games and finished with these numbers in 31 minutes of action: 13.6 points per game, 6.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 turnovers, 27 percent shooting from the field.

Wyatt, who went undrafted, concluded the summer league as the Sixers' leading scorer. He put up 13.8 points per game in 19.2 minutes and shot 43 percent from three-point range.

Second-year forward Arnett Moultrie started all five games and led the Sixers in rebounding (7.4) and was third in scoring (12.2).

Sources: Sixers to interview Jay Larranaga
The Sixers remain without a head coach, but two NBA sources informed CSNPhilly.com's Dei Lynam that the team will interview Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga for their coaching vacancy. Larranaga just completed his first season as an assistant with Boston following two years as head coach of the NBDL’s Erie BayHawks (see story).

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Training camp is an opportunity for Brett Brown to assess all the pieces he has available to construct the best roster possible. There are no clear-cut formulas to create the most successful lineups, not when the team has so many players that can be utilized at multiple positions. 

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Brown said Wednesday after Day 2 of training camp. “You’re going to see a bunch of different looks, blue and white. That’s part of my job. That’s part of what I’ve got to get done when we play on opening night.” 

Among these combinations is pairing Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. Given their versatility, the rookies can play multiple positions to share the court. Brown has eyed their size and skills at the two- and three-spots.

“The pluses are you have 6-10, do-alls that really can jump into a very versatile defensive world with perhaps a lot of switching,” Brown said. “I think they’re elite defensive rebounders that can rebound and lead a break and take off. ...

“The disadvantages are, you’re playing two guys out of position that’ve never played a second of NBA basketball and have never played together. It comes down to familiarity, it comes down to some type of comfort level that they’re going to have to navigate and figure out each other a little bit more.”

Saric and Simmons, like the rest of the Sixers, are learning one another’s games in training camp. Saric described Simmons’ skill set as “amazing” considering his stature and speed, noting, “I never played with somebody who’s that [many] kilograms.” 

“I think we will find a way to play together,” Saric said. “I think we can do it. Coach said most of the time we will play together. Maybe I can push the ball, he can push the ball too. ... He’s an unbelievably good passer and I think we’ll find a way how to play and I’m very happy because of that.”

Simmons entered the league touted as a point-forward. Exceeding the combo position, Simmons has played pure point at times, both on the offensive and defensive ends. He has been tapping into the Sixers' guards and veteran leader Elton Brand to help enhance his communication running the floor.

“[The] challenge is probably guarding the point guard position. They’re a lot quicker,” Simmons said. “But I also have a lot more length and strength. I think just being able to get to the rim. Also, if I have a smaller guy I can post it up.”

Saric also has ball handling skills in his arsenal. He grew up playing point guard from ages 8 to 14 before hitting a growth spurt. Saric looked up to Magic Johnson at the position. 

“To make other players happy and to make other players better, I think that’s the role of point guard,” Saric said. 

Brown will use the next four weeks as a trial period to maneuver different combinations and looks, including a towering duo of rookies.  

“Now is the time to do that," Brown said, "with the end game being whenever that type of thing happens, you have something quite special if they’re paired — when they’re paired, because I’m going to play them together — when they start really feeling each other’s game out in the environment that I've put them in a lot better."

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.”