76ers

Sixers vs. Guangzhou Loong-Lions preseason: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Guangzhou Loong-Lions preseason: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

For the first time since May, the Sixers will play Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Here are the essentials for their preseason opener against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions, a Chinese Basketball Association team:

• When: 7 p.m. ET 
• Where: Wells Fargo Center 
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

A lot of faces, new and old 

Though Brett Brown has said he expects he'll begin the regular season with a rotation of 10 or 11 players, the Sixers currently have 20 players on their roster. All 20 are healthy, and it sounds possible that every one will play Monday.

"I'm going to rotate the team and there's not a ton of method to madness, except to get people some minutes," Brown said after practice Monday. "I'll pull out of some stuff, probably halfway through the third period, and look at some bench guys. But on the weekend, it'll go back to like, let's start to get some stuff right and how we sub and play this."

Al Horford, Josh Richardson, veteran big man Kyle O'Quinn, point guards Raul Neto and Trey Burke and rookie wing Matisse Thybulle are expected to be the notable new names on display.

Competitions

The competition between Neto and Burke for the backup point guard job has already been compelling to follow, and there's no obvious leader at the moment. Shake Milton, who starred for the Delaware Blue Coats last season and earned a full NBA contract in the summer, is also part of that discussion.  

Thybulle couldn't have been much better defensively at Saturday's Blue x White Scrimmage, and he's impressed his teammates with his ball-hawk skills at practice (see story). Zhaire Smith and Furkan Korkmaz are the two other main contenders for wing minutes off the bench.

How's this going to work?

The Sixers aren't constructed like the typical NBA team in 2019. They're huge, defensively imposing and determined to play a physical style.

Training camp and Saturday's scrimmage have given us the odd hint, but the questions of whether the Sixers will have sufficient outside shooting, who will take over Jimmy Butler's role as the commander of the offense late in games and how Brown will stagger his stars' minutes are all open.

And, of course, there's Ben Simmons' jump shot. He said at media day that he will take three-pointers this season if he's open

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A sneak peek at the Sixers' 2019-20 City Edition jerseys

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A sneak peek at the Sixers' 2019-20 City Edition jerseys

It appears we got our first peek at the Sixers’ 2019-20 City Edition uniforms.

Though the uniform won’t officially come out until Wednesday morning, team president Chris Heck gave us a sneak peek Tuesday during the last night of the 76ers Crossover: Art Exhibition.

The design is similar to the 2017-18 version, but with “Philadelphia” written and the copper stripe down the side. The copper stripe appears to be an ode to the Liberty Bell. Before Heck entered the exhibit, he said the jerseys would “tell a story.”

Apparently, that story is America’s. We’ll likely get more info when the uniforms are officially released.

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Sixers' imperfect fit has led to growing pains offensively

Sixers' imperfect fit has led to growing pains offensively

CAMDEN, N.J. — Through 13 games, the Sixers’ offense has been far from a well-oiled machine.

There are plenty of factors contributing to that. Joel Embiid missing four games hasn’t helped. Ben Simmons missing two hasn’t either.

But the biggest factor — other than perhaps Simmons’ unwillingness to shoot — is time.

Brett Brown, who slyly remarked, “I have no idea what you're talking about” Tuesday on reports that he’s in talks to coach Team Australia in 2020, has often cited Christmas as a time when he expects things to start to come together. Though he was vocal about his disappointment with the team’s defense in their loss last Friday in Oklahoma City, Brown is feeling good about that end of the floor.

But offensively, with his team’s size, it can be an awkward fit. Al Horford is figuring out how to play with a center as dominant as Embiid. Josh Richardson is learning how to play next to a 6-foot-10 point guard that doesn’t shoot from the outside. And Tobias Harris is still figuring out exactly what his role is.

It’s up to Brown and the players to figure it out, but it won’t happen overnight.

“But at some point, when somebody claims that part of the floor, other people have to react to like, well, that real estate's bought,” Brown said. “That takes time. And forget the coach on the sideline saying it, I bet if you ask the players, they'll give you heartfelt -- I hope -- answers on the truth and this is my point: You don't just click your heels [and win], even with talent. 

“This is a different type of team. It's not like you got a traditional point guard, a bunch of shooters, you know Joel Embiid and a stretch four — it's not that. It ain't that at all. I like what I got. I like the people, I like the talent, but it's not a perfect fit that happens straightaway. And that's not an excuse. That's just the way I truly see it.”

Horford’s struggles while playing next to Embiid are evident. His best minutes as a Sixer have been when being used at the five with Embiid out. He’s also shooting just 31.6 percent from three after connecting on 38.2 percent of tries during three years in Boston.

Though he wasn’t as willing to give a timeframe for things to come together, he echoed his coach’s sentiments about the team’s offense — and defense.

“I think we're just a unique team,” Horford said. “We want to play a certain way and it's more in the paint, bully ball and scoring at will with that. We need to continue to find ways to be efficient scoring in the paint but also hitting shots. But I always go back to defense. The more comfortable that we feel defensively I think that'll take us out of a lot of jams and put us in good position.”

There’s little doubt this team was built more for April and May than it was for November. We’ve seen stretches of how good they can be defensively when all five guys are engaged and on the same page.

One area where they should certainly be better and that can help them when the games get tougher is getting to the line. They're 21st in the league in free throw attempts per game. With their size, this should be a team that lives at the line.

Why is there such a disparity on a nightly basis?

“It's a trick question. I don't want to lose no money so ain't going to say nothing,” Harris said. 

When the reporter clarified that it was not a trick question, Harris gave a layered response.

“Look, my whole career I've haven't been really able to get to the free throw line at a consistent rate that I would like to. I've watched film, done a lot of studying how to draw those files and whatnot. It's still a work in progress. I'm not a flopper so I think that kind of like hinders me sometimes a little bit. 

“I think we can find some more ways to kind of get to the free throw line a little bit more [as a team]. Maybe that's limiting some midrange jumpers and getting all the way downhill. Maybe being more physical. But we'll work at it.”

Like everything else with the 2019-20 Sixers, it’s a work in progress.

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