Brett Brown has long had his eye on Kyle Kuzma

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Brett Brown has long had his eye on Kyle Kuzma

LOS ANGELES — Lonzo Ball isn't the only Lakers rookie to watch for Wednesday when the Sixers play at the Staples Center.

Forward Kyle Kuzma quickly has made his mark just 14 games into his career. 

"He's a hell of a rookie," Brett Brown said. "That was a great pick by them."

Kuzma already is looking like a sleeper steal in the 2017 draft. The Lakers selected him 27th out of Utah, two picks after the Sixers chose draft-and-stash center Anzejs Pasecniks.

Kuzma is averaging 15.9 points and 8.6 rebounds in seven games this month. He ranks third among rookies in scoring and fourth in rebounding (Ben Simmons leads both categories). Kuzma is just barely behind John Collins for second in rookie field goal percentage (50.3).

"I think he's a modern-day player," Brown said. "He can play with a bounce. He can make a three. He gets out in open court."

Brown was impressed by Kuzma long before the season started. Kuzma was one of the many players who participated in pre-draft workouts for the Sixers. There are some players Brown meets with whose interaction stays with him. Kuzma is one of them.

"He had a big personality," Brown said. "He was great to speak with. There was sort of a cocky side that I was attracted to. ... He's somebody that personally I was paying attention to a lot and paid attention to even more after you interview him because he was very endearing to me."

Sixers injury updates
Joel Embiid did not participate in shootaround because of rehab (left knee) and rest. He will play against the Lakers. 

Justin Anderson (left shin soreness) and Jahlil Okafor (upper respiratory) are listed as questionable. 

Jerryd Bayless (left wrist contusion) and Markelle Fultz (right shoulder) are out. 

Shootaround swishes
Sixers shootaround ended with Robert Covington and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot draining these two long-range shots just short of half court.

NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

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NBA admits mistake that leaves Sixers scratching their heads

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers were right.

The Sixers argued they should have set up at halfcourt, not fullcourt, for a decisive final possession of double overtime in Friday’s game against the Thunder. After a closer look following their triple-overtime loss, the NBA ruled the Sixers were proved correct. 

“After review, it was determined that the 76ers called timeout with 00:01.2 remaining on the game clock, which was prior to Saric's (PHI) dribble. Therefore, they should have been given the opportunity to advance the ball into their own frontcourt for the inbound,” the NBA Officiating’s Last Two Minute Report noted.

The confusion occurred at the end of the second overtime. Dario Saric got a defensive rebound and the Sixers called a timeout before he dribbled the ball. Because of this, the Sixers should have been allowed to set up a final play in the halfcourt, which is exactly what they had practiced and called.

But the referees made a last-second change as the Sixers were setting up. The Sixers were told they had to inbound from fullcourt, which would have been the case if Saric had dribbled before the timeout. The Last Two Minute Report indicated he, in fact, did not. 

“Respect that they are that transparent, but complete disappointment that it can happen,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “You really scratch your head. It’s significant.”

Every play, every basket can make a difference for a team fighting to make the playoffs. The Sixers were confident they could have won the game with the halfcourt play. Instead, they dropped back down to .500 and currently 10 in the Eastern Conference.

“Those things you need to avoid to give yourself every chance to win,” Brown said. “We can point to many other things that were self-inflicted wounds that we’ve got to do better. But when it’s that exposed and that prominent of an environment with 1.2 seconds left, it’s disappointing. But like I say, they’re transparent. I respect the fact they admitted it and we move on.”

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

Joel Embiid out Monday against Bulls; 2 other Sixers sidelined

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid does not play both games of a back-to-back, but whether he plays in either of the Sixers' next two matchups will have to be determined.

Embiid is not traveling with the Sixers to Chicago for Monday’s game against the suddenly-streaking Bulls, who have won five straight. The big man usually plays at home in these scenarios, and considering he played 49 minutes in Friday’s triple-overtime loss, the decision was expected.

Embiid’s availability for Tuesday at home against the Kings, though, has not been finalized at this point. This is not surprising either being two days ahead of the game. Embiid, who has been dealing with back tightness, did not participate in practice Sunday. The Sixers will evaluate, monitor, and go through treatment with Embiid before making their call.

“Unsure at this stage,” Brett Brown said Sunday. “I do know he’s categorically out tomorrow and we’re going to learn more about him being available when we come back [for] Sacramento, I’d expect in the next 24 hours.”

The Sixers do know they will be without another two players for some time.

Trevor Booker will miss at least the next two games after suffering spraining his left ankle Friday. The newly acquired reserve will be reevaluated in approximately five-to-seven days.

Even though Booker was traded to the Sixers less than two weeks ago, he already made an impact on the second unit. Brown has seen enough over the last four games to know what the team will be missing.

“His toughness,” Brown said. “He’s got a motor. He plays with such a spirit. He’s a man. He’s a pro. He’s been in the league for a while. He gets it. It’s everything that you miss. It’s really everything this team needs.”

Furkan Korkmaz likely will be sidelined even longer. The rookie suffered a Lisfranc injury on his left foot while playing for the Delaware 87ers on Dec. 15 and is out indefinitely. The Sixers recalled Korkmaz from the G League and he is going through evaluation and testing. There is no timetable set for Korkmaz at this point.  

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons described the injury as, “Lisfranc (midfoot) injuries result if bones in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn. The severity of the injury can vary from simple to complex, involving many joints and bones in the midfoot.”

Korkmaz has been going back and forth between the Sixers and their G League affiliate in Delaware to get playing opportunities as part of his development in his first NBA season.