76ers Blog: How Much Will Basketball Matter on Trip?
10/3/2013 8:48:00 AM
'There's no time for vacation' - Khalif Wyatt
On Wednesday, the 76ers wrapped up the 5-day portion of their training camp that was hosted by Saint Joseph's University; during that stretch, the Sixers went through a total of eight practices. Before departing Hagan Arena for the final time this pre-season, members of the team gave feedback on on the first batch of workouts overseen by new head coach Brett Brown.
'It's definitely been a real grind this past week,' said F Thaddeus Young. 'It's definitely been one of those things that's been different; the feel is different, and the organizational changes make it a lot different than it was the past few years.'
The physical and mental workload didn't discriminate between veterans, such as Young, and younger players, like rookie G Michael Carter-Williams. 'My body's fatigued and hurting right now, but I stuck with it,' said the 11th overall pick in this June's NBA Draft. 'I didn't take a possession off, I competed in every drill. That's what I'm happy about.'
At around 10:00 AM Thursday morning, the Sixers' itinerary shifts abroad to Europe, where they will head to Spain to take on Bilbao of la Liga Endesa, before meeting the Oklahoma City Thunder in Manchester, England. The Sixers are one of 8 NBA organizations taking part in the league's pre-season Global Games series. The Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets, Thunder, Golden State Warriors, and Washington Wizards will also represent the NBA overseas in locations such as Brazil, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Turkey.
Brown discussed his hopes for the trip, and was upfront about what he considered its main purpose. He indicated that capitalizing on the chance to create team chemistry will matter more than game outcomes or individual statistics.
'The fact that they can travel with each other, have a great experience together, I'm happy to sacrifice practice time for a relationship type thing,' Brown said. 'If it can be expedited now on an overseas trip, I'm excited more for that reason than I am watching us play basketball, really.'
Some newcomers seemed to be approaching the next few days with a more results-oriented view. Carter-Williams said going to Europe is about 'business,' and 'winning a few games.' Khalif Wyatt, the former Temple guard signed to an undrafted rookie free agent deal, is focused on solidifying a roster spot.
When asked what he was looking forward to most about leaving the United States for the first time in his life, the 22-year old Wyatt said, 'I really want to see the court and play, and play against professionals. For me, a guy in my position, there's no time for vacation. It's time to go out there and show that you belong.'
Brett Brown, with the Sixers still in the early stages of the pre-season, acknowledged it could get 'ugly' at times. 'We will compete. They will play hard, and we will compete. It's real a fine line these guys are going to go through, and I'm going to have to get them there as far as taking that aggression and being smart with it.'
- Rookie G Michael Carter-Williams appears to be taking his first NBA pre-season training camp in stride, sounding very even-keeled when discussing his progress. Brett Brown discussed the Carter-Williams' potential, saying, 'You see signs of really special size and change of pace speed. It's not like you're watching Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, where it's - BAM - A to B he's on the rim. He's got a controlled gear, and when he goes into that other gear, it's something special. He's a deliberate type of point guard that has size and can pass.'
- C Spencer Hawes was limited in workouts the past two days, but expects to take part in the Sixers' Global Games exhibition match-ups on Sunday at Bilbao, and next Tuesday in England. Hawes felt discomfort in his knee after slipping on the court earlier this week; he sat out practice on Tuesday, and was involved in non-contact activities on Wednesday.
- Head Coach Brett Brown acknowledged that, in addition to taking stock of his players' performances during training camp, he's also regularly self-evaluating his own coaching approach. He regularly monitors the effectiveness of his teaching and practice pace, making adjustments based upon how a predominantly youthful roster reacts. 'You're throwing all this stuff at them. You always walk this crazy balance of what's enough, how do you say it, positive / negative. Those type of assessments you make between every practice.'
** Audio links beneath image located in upper right corner of article **
- Head Coach Brett Brown ~ On basketball's international following, especially in Spain
- G Michael Carter-Williams ~ On evaluating his performance in training camp
- G Khalif Wyatt ~ On feedback on his game given by head coach Brett Brown