CAMDEN, N.J. -- Seventeen.

That’s how many games the Sixers will play in the month of November, including four back-to-backs.

“This is the when the NBA is at its most ruthless,” Brett Brown said Sunday after practice. “It’s relentless.”

The Sixers will play four games over the next seven days. On Monday they host the Jazz, play the Pacers on the road Wednesday, return home to face the Pacers again on Friday, then travel to Atlanta to battle the Hawks on Saturday. They wrap up the road trip in Houston on Nov. 14.

“In the past, we’ve talked lots about how you grow these guys mentally to navigate it,” Brown said. “On one side it is good, where you’re just playing basketball … On the other side of it, it is how do you navigate the challenges of that repetition of games. It’s an education I think as much of the mental side — how do I deal with it in my head — as it is as a physical challenge.”

The abundance of games presents obstacles for the Sixers. In addition to the workload alone, the team has to maneuver minute restrictions. Brown expects Embiid and Okafor to be capped at 24 minutes each Monday against the Jazz. He thinks Embiid’s playing time will remain the same until at least Christmas (see story). Neither big man played in the first back-to-back of the season, and it remains to be seen if they will in the Pacers-Hawks matchups.


“With the frequency of games this week, that is still on the table and I can’t roadmap that out,” Brown said. “We’re going to see how people pull up in the morning.”

The Sixers have to determine a balance of games, practices and rest. Brown will shape the schedule on his gut feeling based on injuries and input from the team’s sports science staff. The Sixers (0-5) still are looking for their first win of the season.

“I feel like we need to practice,” Brown said. “We need to get on the floor. We need to learn how to close out three-minute games. We need to be able to execute something on a sideline. We need to set better screens. We need to have less turnovers. That’s not going to happen by wishing and talking about it. So we need to be on a court to achieve that.”