Seltzer's Notebook | Team, Young Standouts Garnering Increased Attention

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

Getting Extra Attention

While it was probably an exhausting labor of love, passion, and dedication for many fans back home to stay up late and keep tabs on the Sixers during their now-completed road trip, the squad was drawing plenty of eyeballs out West.

Over the course of the 5-game, 10-day trek, a steady flow of prominent writers, reporters, and camera crews from national - even international - media outlets spent multiple days tracking the team. You’ll probably soon see the fruits of their work in the days and weeks ahead.

Garnering particular interest were, understandably, the Sixers’ two budding stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Brett Brown feels the difference-making duo has been adapting just fine to the brightening spotlight.

“I think they’re good, I think they’re grounded,” Brown said of Embiid and Simmons. “They’re different people, and each of them have handled it sort of differently.

“I think in general the attention the program is getting is exciting. It’s really exciting. It’s come, I think, over the past few months, with the excitement of Ben and Jo. The marketplace thinks they’re pretty good, and so does their coach.”

And that statement was made before the tandem turned in another sterling performance, combining for 64 points, 24 rebounds, and 17 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers in a 115-109 win.

Afterwards, this was how Brown was left feeling about the two potential faces of the franchise.

“I’m always critical - you’re always trying to be a coach, you’re always trying to [get] better and move forward,” said Brown. “The excitement that I get is more out of what we can be than what we are, by a mile. Those two guys, there’s just so much more to grow them into, and so much more that we all have to give in our growth together.”

Simmons Continues Strong Stretch

Please forgive us if, while trying to digest and process the gargantuan magnitude of Joel Embiid’s performance Wednesday, we didn’t allot enough space highlighting Ben Simmons’ night.

It was just another double-double for the rookie, who whipped together a sparkling stat line highlighted by 18 points (8-13 fg), 9 rebounds, 10 assists, and a career-high 5 steals.

Simmons’ 9 double-doubles ranks as the fourth-highest total in NBA history for a player in the first 14 games of his career.

“When you look at Ben Simmons, he too at times was dominant,” said Brett Brown. “We all see his gifts, we see his skill in open court, we see his amazing athleticism and skill package at 6-foot-10. Ben, again, had also I think a very borderline dominant type of game.”

Time to Head Home

Leaving Los Angeles, the Sixers, all things considered, were in a pretty good spot. Not only had they gotten back on track via consecutive wins at STAPLES Center (the first time the Sixers won twice at the venue in the same season since 2008-2009), the group finished its longest Western Conference trip of the season with a record of 3-2, moving its overall mark to 8-6, which was tied for fifth-best in the East as of Thursday morning.

“I think we have a good base in relation to what we believe we want to do offensively, defensively,” Brett Brown said Wednesday. “It’s just now tightening it up, continuing to tighten it up. You find you get into the current of the NBA - it’s sort of unforgiving. It’s game, off; game, off. You just sort of get caught of the current, and that can be good and bad. I think we’re in a good current right now. We’re playing good basketball.”

“We wanted to win every game,” Ben Simmons said of the Sixers’ road trip, latter adding, “It’s just the start.”