Seltzer's Notebook | Candid Conversations Promote Growth

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

Friday Frank Talk

Before being letting go of whatever lingering, residual disappointment there was from Thursday’s narrow loss at Sacramento, the Sixers had one final order of business to take care of Friday, when they assembled for practice at St. Ignatius Preparatory, tucked along San Francisco’s Pacific Coast.

They needed a cleansing, said Brett Brown.

Instead of using traditional ingredients, however, the Sixers relied on frank film study, and frank conversations. The primary themes of the day were late-game execution, and accountability, two areas in which Brown hopes to grow his young group.

“For me, personally, the pain of losing is far greater than the joy of winning - it’s not even close,” Brown said.

He called the format of Friday’s workout, and its tone, “very therapeutic.”

“It’s the drumbeat, the rhythm beat of an NBA season, where you don’t want to put your head in the sand,” said the fifth-year head coach. “You want to get ahead of the story, and fix stuff, talk candidly with the players, and have the players talk candidly among themselves.”

Brown thought that objective was accomplished on the eve
of a match-up with the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

“Now we know,” said Ben Simmons. “We got to come into
every game ready. It’s not easy to win in this league...every game’s tough, there are no bad teams.”

Simmons Self Critiques

On the heels of games, win or lose, don’t expect Ben Simmons to necessarily be content.

Take Tuesday’s 104-97 win over Utah, for instance, when the rookie managed to manufacture a 16-point, 13-rebound double-double to go along with 6 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks.

All things considered, not a bad showing for someone in his 10th career game, right?

Simmons, though, wasn’t impressed.

Driven to constantly seek out ways to refine his skill set, Simmons said Thursday he’s always been demanding of himself.

“Oh yeah, for sure,” said Simmons, who, with averages of 17.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 7.8 assists, leads his first-year peers in all three statistical categories. “I don’t really worry about what other people expect of me or want me to do. I have my own expectations, and what I believe I can do, so I stick to that.”

Simmons indicated Thursday that lately, he’s been particularly focused on minimizing turnovers, At times, though, the Aussie realizes that committing giveaways comes as a result of being aggressive and well-intentioned in an attempt to help teammates. The balancing act isn’t always easy.

“Some [turnovers] are mental, making sure I’m concentrating when I have the ball, and making the right plays, and not trying to force something,” said Simmons, who also wants to cut down on fouling. “You got to put it in your mind to take care of the ball.”

Brown appreciates the 21-year old’s attitude.

“He’s very prideful,” said the head coach. “He’s quiety aggressive. He’s very sort of aware of the areas that he needs to improve on to help the team. He’s as harsh a critic on himself as there is.”

Korkmaz Returns

The Delaware 87ers, the NBA G League affiliate of the Sixers, opened their season last weekend, and in the days that have passed, Furkan Korkmaz has been on the shuttle between the two franchises.

The rookie swing man was assigned to the Sevens following the Sixers’ November 3rd win over the Indiana Pacers, then was recalled by the NBA club in advance of Thursday’s match-up the Sacramento Kings. He arrived in the California capital Wednesday night following a cross-country flight.

“I think it was a good experience for me to go there,” said Korkmaz, who made two appearances with the Sevens. “I think they’re going to help me a lot.”

In back-to-back contests against the Westchester Knicks Monday and Tuesday, Korkmaz combined to score 26 points (9-27 fg), while producing 13 rebounds and 9 assists. Brown wanted the 20-year old Turk to play loose and free.

“Exactly, I’m going there to have fun and improve myself also, offensively and defensively,” Korkmaz said. “The players they try to help me during the game, and coaches also. I help them, also.”

Korkmaz added that at the G League level, the game moved a little bit slower for him. As a result, he felt his confidence grow.

“That base is important,” said Brett Brown. “That environment, we run the same system, it’s our program, we use it well. We can transfer him back and forth and not have to learn new plays. I think that experience is great for him.”

Brown indicated Korkmaz’s status with both the Sixers and Sevens is “fluid.”

“When we have the chance to bring him with us, we’ll manage that responsibly,” Brown said.