Royce White 'hit or miss' so far for Sixers

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Royce White 'hit or miss' so far for Sixers

The Sixers were overmatched Monday night to say the least, losing to the Brooklyn Nets, 127-97 (see story). Unfortunately for the team, there may be too many nights like Monday this season in which the Sixers' talent just doesn’t come close to that of the opposition.

But head coach Brett Brown will persevere and constantly look for silver linings, and the play of Royce White on Monday qualified as such.

In his second preseason game, White played 19 minutes, scoring six points and dishing out three assists. In fact, White made an eye-catching pass that caused a stir on Twitter.

The 6-foot-8 forward likes to put the ball on the floor, and good things can happen when he does. But watching White create plays is unsettling for his coach because the rookie likes to freelance.

“He scares the hell out of me,” Brown said. “That’s what [happened] in college -- dribble the ball up the court and reverse the ball to Royce and then say what’s going to happen now? Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad because he is a runaway train. But that’s OK right now.”

White committed three turnovers and had four personal fouls.

White also showed that same up-and-down game during his Sixers debut in the team's preseason win over the Celtics on the campus of the University of Delaware.

In less than three minutes, White picked up four fouls.

However, in a little more than eight minutes, White also had a dunk, a layup, a foul shot, three rebounds, a steal and a pair of turnovers (see story).

“When he starts making good decisions, he is dangerous in trail,” Brown said. “Right now, it is hit or miss. We just have to bite our lip a little bit. He has a lot of game. When you start watching him play -- his passing and feel for the game and the fluid way that he plays -- you can see why people were attracted to him.”

That attraction resulted in White being selected 16th overall in the 2012 draft by Houston after just one season at Iowa State.

Give and Go: How much credit does Brett Brown deserve for Sixers' improvement?

Give and Go: How much credit does Brett Brown deserve for Sixers' improvement?

With the team at the All-Star break, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

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

In this edition, we analyze the job head coach Brett Brown has done this season.

Haughton
Brown's performance has already resulted in more wins than any other season under his leadership, but it continues to be a complex judgment.

He's still tied to an extremely young roster, which lends itself to the high number of turnovers, mistakes coming out of timeouts and defensive breakdowns. 

However, he has managed to get several players to show growth in their games and make sure the Sixers remain balanced even with Joel Embiid's emergence. That can also be attributed to Brown's emphasis on state of play and not state of pay.

He turned to T.J. McConnell ($874,636 salary) at starting point guard over Sergio Rodriguez ($8 million) because the second-year pro has proven to be a better fit and has routinely moved Gerald Henderson ($9 million) from starter to reserve.

Then of course, there has been Brown's handling of the Sixers' mashup at center. The coach has found each guy minutes when he can and, according to the players, been up front about all potential minutes and trade scenarios.

Perhaps Brown's finest job this season has come in a role he thought was over: team delegate. Once Sam Hinkie exited and Bryan Colangelo proclaimed he would be more open with information, Brown certainly had to think his days of standing in front of the media to explain every single thing going on with the franchise were over. Think again. 

Still, Brown's been there each day, answering just about every question thrown his way from injuries to trade rumors. If nothing else, he deserves to be commended for dealing with that ... again.

Hudrick
It's amazing what a few NBA-caliber players can do.

After accumulating a 47-199 record over his first three seasons, Brown has led the Sixers to a 21-35 mark so far this season. Sure, much of the credit for the team's success has to do with adding legitimate NBA talent (and a legitimate NBA star in Embiid). With that said, you're finally starting to see Brown's fingerprints on the Sixers.

A protégé of Gregg Popovich's with the Spurs, Brown preaches defense and ball movement. The Sixers' defense has been a catalyst for their success this season. As Brown says in his Bostralian accent, the defensive end is where the Sixers' "bread is buttered." 

With unselfish players with decent court vision like Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson added to the mix, the Sixers don't look like a total disaster in the half court. They're ninth in the NBA at 23.5 assists per game. They haven't finished higher than 15th in the league in any of Brown's three seasons. 

When you consider what Brown has gone through and how he's managed to keep everything positive, it's incredible. Hinkie pegged Brown as his guy, knowing that Brown was an excellent teacher and had the right attitude to deal with losing. You have to be encouraged by what you've seen out of Brown and the Sixers this season.

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid practices fully but doubtful for Friday and Saturday

Joel Embiid was a full participant Wednesday during the Sixers' first practice back from the All-Star break, but he's listed as doubtful for their games Friday and Saturday.

The Sixers host the Wizards Friday night (7/CSN) and face the Knicks Saturday night at Madison Square Garden (7:30/CSN).

If Embiid misses both games it would be 13 in a row and 16 of 17.

Still, it's a good sign he was able to practice in full Wednesday.

Ben Simmons, meanwhile, has a CT scan scheduled for Thursday in New York. The appointment should show whether his foot has healed enough for him to take the next step in his rehab.

Simmons did individual work at Wednesday's practice.

CSN Philly's Jessica Camerato contributed to this report.