5 observations from Sixers-Cavs

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5 observations from Sixers-Cavs

LAS VEGAS – The Sixers played their second Las Vegas Summer League game and Nerlens Noel played his first game since last Wednesday in Orlando when the team faced the Cleveland Cavaliers at Cox Pavilion on Monday night.

Here are five observations from the Sixers’ 86-77 loss to the Cavs (see game recap):

Fear the flat top
Noel had three of his four blocked shots in the first quarter. He also picked up his second and third personal fouls in the second quarter, which limited his same aggressiveness protecting the paint.

The Cavs shot 6 for 16 in the first quarter. They were 10 for 16 in the second.

Noel was not pleased getting into foul trouble, a discussion he had twice with the officials.

Early in the third quarter, Noel swatted his fourth shot of the night by sending Anthony Bennett's floater away.

Noel finished with those four blocks, but Sixers front office members had him altering nine other attempts.

Noel has touch around rim
We will spend more time talking about Noel's defense this upcoming season, but he does hang around the rim to catch a lob or put back a missed basket.

Noel shot 6 of 10 against the Cavs and two of his six rebounds were offensive.

Wiggins will blossom quickly alongside LeBron
Andrew Wiggins is an incredible athlete who is always moving on the floor.

The start of his career in the fall took on a whole different feel last Friday when LeBron James said, "I'm coming home" in announcing his return to the Cavs. James will do for Wiggins what Michael Jordan did for Scottie Pippen. Wiggins will become the perfect wingman that develops into his own greatness.

James is further along in his career than Jordan was when Pippen joined the Bulls, but the four-time MVP and Wiggins can become their own damaging duo.

Wiggins scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds against the Sixers.

Bennett is not a bust in Vegas
Anthony Bennett, the No.1 overall pick from 2013, had a rookie season to forget. However, he appears more confident in summer league play this year.

Bennett made 5 of 12 field goal attempts for 14 points.

For his size, Bennett should be a better rebounder. He had four rebounds and five turnovers on Monday.

Bennett still has much to prove, but to be teamed up with James, Wiggins and Kyrie Irving and having a fresh start with new coach Dave Blatt, are all positives.

McDaniels and McRae deserve our attention
Jordan McRae led the Sixers in scoring with 18 points. His fours steals were impressive, too.

K.J. McDaniels played solid defense, taking the challenge of guarding Wiggins. McDaniels did not fill out the stat sheet as he did in his Orlando games, but good things happen when he is on the floor.

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."