CAMDEN, N.J. — Jerryd Bayless’ apparent opportunity to play his way back into the Sixers’ rotation may be short-lived.
Bayless suffered a left knee injury at the end of Sunday’s practice, according to Brett Brown. The Sixers are evaluating Bayless and will know more about the injury soon.
When Wilson Chandler went down with a left hamstring strain in the Sixers’ preseason opener, Brown gave Chandler’s minutes to Bayless.
“I decided to go with Jerryd and Jerryd has been practicing well,” Brown said Friday after the Sixers’ 104-84 win over Melbourne United. “If I’m true to my word where I say the gym will tell me and the gym will sort of be our compass for a while, and Jerryd deserved to play. He’s had a good training camp.”
Even after his injury, Bayless was one of the first names on Brown’s mind when thinking about who could slot into Chandler’s spot in the rotation come the regular season.
“You can look at Jerryd, you can look at a Landry Shamet type, you can pivot back out and recognize that T.J. (McConnell), no matter what you call him, is a pretty good player," Brown said. "Might shove him into the two spot. And all those things are on the table.
“It is arguably one of the most important things on my mind, is before the first game, feeling quite certain that you’ve given that situation a chance to tell you answers. It is a blow. It’s a blow to our wing rotations. But it will come from those other players I just mentioned, I believe.”
Friday night, Brown mentioned the Sixers prefer to play McConnell as a point guard.
“All the data and guts and coaching eye feel that T.J. is best as a one,” Brown said, “although if you go back to the Boston series, it would contradict what I just said. I’m really trying to find ways to let him come in in that environment more than just a two.”
McConnell is certainly undersized for a shooting guard at 6-foot-2. With Markelle Fultz playing at the one, however, Brown appears to recognize that he may need to play McConnell at the two if he wants his spark plug on the floor. McConnell played just 12 minutes against Melbourne United, all in the fourth quarter.
As for Chandler, he called his injury a “fluke situation” that resulted from awkward foot positioning as he was chasing his man around a screen.
It’s not the way he wanted to start with his new team.
“First game, first few minutes of the game, something happens that’s out of your control, it’s definitely frustrating,” Chandler said. “Two to three weeks is long enough. [At least] it’s not the whole season or half a season.”