Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Notes: Carmelo says Knicks 'right there'

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NBA Notes: Carmelo says Knicks 'right there'

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Some of the players were old, though the New York Knicks say their team is young in its development.

So they feel they need time, not an overhaul, to get further next season.

"We're just fine. I love our team just the way it is," point guard Raymond Felton said Monday. "When you start making too many changes, you can't build on something. If you're going to be successful, you're going to be good, a team has to be a team, has to be together for a while. This is our first year together."

Most of the ones who spoke Monday considered it a good one, though Iman Shumpert said not reaching the Eastern Conference finals made it a failure. To have done that, the Knicks would've needed to win Saturday at Indiana, then win a Game 7 that would've been played Monday at Madison Square Garden.

Instead, they were holding exit meetings at their training center, believing they're not far from being at the level of the Pacers or even Miami Heat, who open the East finals on Wednesday.

"We're right there," Carmelo Anthony said. "When you look back, recap this whole season, just some detail-oriented things that we've kind of got to fix, but we're right there. I believe we're right there as a team."

The Knicks finished 54-28, the second-best record in the East, and reached the second round for the first time since 2000. Their Atlantic Division title was their first since 1994 (see full story).

Pacers' West misses practice
INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers forward David West is expected to play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at Miami, despite an injured right leg.

Team doctors held West out of Monday's practice with what coach Frank Vogel described as a calf strain or lower leg strain. He did shoot around with his teammates after practice ended. Vogel said doctors thought it would be best to give West a day off.

Pacers center Roy Hibbert had his right thumb taped after getting hit in practice. He finished the workout and it is not expected to keep him out of the Miami game on Wednesday night.

Backup forward Jeff Pendergraph did not attend Monday's workout to attend the birth of his daughter.

Indiana is making its first conference finals appearance since 2004 (see full story).

Jordan changing Bobcats' name
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A person familiar with the situation says Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is changing his team's name to the Hornets.

The person says Jordan will detail the timetable for the change to be completed at a press conference the Bobcats have scheduled for Tuesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the name change has not been publicly announced.

NBA deputy commissioner and COO Adam Silver previously has said it would take "about 18 months" for the Bobcats to change their name. That means Charlotte could once again become the Hornets by the 2014-15 season.

The Hornets resided in Charlotte from 1988-2002 before then-owner George Shinn moved the franchise to New Orleans. The New Orleans Hornets recently changed their name to the Pelicans (see full story).

Sixers to hold Blue-White Scrimmage at the Palestra on Oct. 1

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USA Today Images

Sixers to hold Blue-White Scrimmage at the Palestra on Oct. 1

If you’re a die-hard Process believer who can’t wait for the Sixers' preseason opener, you’ll have a chance to see the team in action three days prior, albeit in a scrimmage.

The Sixers announced Thursday that they will be holding a Blue-White Scrimmage on Oct. 1 at the Palestra from 1-3:30 p.m. Tickets will be free to the public.

“The building strongly represents the toughness and perseverance of the city of Philadelphia and of the 76ers organization,” coach Brett Brown said.

While Joel Embiid likely won't play in the scrimmage (see story), the event is a good opportunity to see No. 1 picks Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons. Fultz’s summer league campaign was cut short by a sprained left ankle.

The scrimmage is also an early chance to get a sense of what Brown’s rotation may look like this year, his fifth with the Sixers and first in non-tanking mode.

The preseason will begin at Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 4, against the Memphis Grizzlies. The first game of the regular season is on Oct. 18, a nationally televised contest vs. the Wizards in Washington, D.C.

Give and Go: What is the biggest challenge for Brett Brown this season?

Give and Go: What is the biggest challenge for Brett Brown this season?

With training camp starting next week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato and producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we discuss the biggest challenge for head coach Brett Brown this season.

Camerato
For years Brett Brown has faced the challenge of piecing together a shorthanded roster to put some kind of, any kind of, rotation on the floor. This season he will have healthier players to work with, and that in itself will pose a different set of challenges.

Brown has a young roster that is eager to play. Former No. 1 pick Ben Simmons has been waiting nearly 12 months to make his NBA debut since suffering a Jones fracture on the last day of training camp. Markelle Fultz, this year’s top pick, has not played since mid-February as a student-athlete at Washington. Joel Embiid last suited up on Jan. 27 before undergoing season-ending knee surgery.

These hungry players, and it is not limited to only the three mentioned above, will want to be in the game as much as possible. Brown will be tasked with managing eagerness and anxiousness to play all while following medical guidelines and restrictions. Lineups could change from a night to night based on player availability (back-to-backs, rest, etc.). Brown will have to establish consistency and flexibility at the same time, also keeping his players on board even if they can’t be on the court as much as they would like to be.

Haughton
Brett Brown will face a whole new world as head coach of the Sixers in 2017-18. He’ll have to find a way to make a rookie backcourt work, mix contributing veterans into the fold and, for the first time in his tenure, face some semblance of pressure to win.

But Brown’s biggest obstacle next season has nothing to do with X’s and O’s or wins and losses. The coach must maintain the spirit of the process.

At first glance, you may think that has something to do with continuing to lose games for the highest possible draft pick. No, not at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

In Brown’s four years at the helm, the Sixers have lost a combined 253 games. Some close, some by a wide margin and far too many of the nightmarish variety.

But no matter the previous game’s score, Brown always had his players on the court for the next matchup ready to give their max effort. His ability to stay positive amid the mounting losses and still push his guys to play all out every single night is somewhat remarkable (see story). It’s what the players love about him the most.

The egos that go along with high-level talent and the pressure of playoff aspirations mean Brown is sure to encounter some new challenges. However, it may just be that process mentality that gets the Sixers fully over the process.

Hudrick
For the last four years, Brown has barely had enough healthy players to form an entire team. And even when he had healthy players, most of them were borderline D-Leaguers (now G-Leaguers, of course).

The blessing and the curse for Brown this season is having real, NBA talent up and down his roster.

Nerlens Noel is gone so the logjam at center is over, right? Nope. Embiid is your starting center and franchise cornerstone. Richaun Holmes proved last year that he is a capable backup at the pro level. Jahlil Okafor is still here and needs to prove he's healthy if the Sixers hope to move him. Oh yeah, the team also went out and signed veteran Amir Johnson away from the Celtics. The uncertainty behind Embiid's status means there will be minutes available, but how many? Bottom line: This team still has four NBA-caliber centers.

The newest challenge for Brown is an overabundance of guards/wings. With Fultz, JJ Redick and a now healthy Jerryd Bayless added to the mix, where does that leave T.J. McConnell, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Nik Stauskas, Justin Anderson and Furkan Korkmaz?

Sure, it's a nice problem to have, but figuring out the rotation on an improving roster will be the biggest challenge for Brett Brown this season.