PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Brett Brown had to hold himself back on the first day of practice.
As the Philadelphia 76ers opened training camp Saturday morning at Saint Joseph’s University, the first-year coach dialed it back at the first official session with his new team.
“There’s a discipline I have to put on myself,” Brown said. “You do want to get going, you do want to come out in a sprint, and it’s not that.”
His experience as an assistant for six seasons under San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and as the Australian national team coach at the 2012 London Olympics taught him that it’s not beneficial to try to cram too much into the first day.
“Make sure that we’re smart with what physically you can expect from Day 1,” Brown said. “The first session of two-a-days, of multiple days, is always the most dangerous because you get so excited to coach again, you get so excited to play again, that I think if you go overboard in Day 1 it affects practices 5, 6, 7 and 8.
“We wanted to just go hard, go sharp, go at a reasonable duration and come back for another good one tonight.”
The Sixers will hold eight practices during a five-day training camp. The first one was a noticeable change compared to years past for Thaddeus Young, who is playing for his fifth coach in seven seasons with the Sixers.
“It’s a little bit different from previous training camps,” Young said. “We’ve kind of overloaded on the first day (in the past). Guys have come in for the second practice on the next day kind of worn down because they were trying to remember so many things.”
That’s exactly the kind of result Brown is looking to avoid.
“In this environment we had today, the structure of the practice didn’t burn them down,” he said.
Practice ended an hour earlier than scheduled. Still, it meant there were only six hours off before the team would be back out on the court again.
“You learn all the time with two-a-days that you blink and the second session is right on your doorstep. There’s not time,” Brown said. “We have to be smart with how long we practice, with what things we provide for them to get back on track physically.”
A little bit of chaos surrounded the first day on the hardwood, Brown said, which came as no surprise.
With a new coach and staff, six rookies on the roster and five more veterans in their first year with the Sixers, some disarray was to be expected.
“It’s an environment where you can’t assess. It’s quick, it’s fast, everybody’s in a hurry,” Brown said. “I can’t fault their effort. You can fault all the time with technique and right place, right time. It’s just too messy an environment to assess.”
Players didn’t necessarily feel overwhelmed. Newcomer Khalif Wyatt, a rookie out of Temple, believed the practice went smoothly.
“There was actually a good flow to practice today,” Wyatt said. “We’ve been doing voluntary workouts for about three weeks now, so that helped us a lot going in to make this day a lot easier.”
Young agreed, saying it was an effective way to get acclimated with his new teammates and boss.
“I think (Brown) did a great job today,” Young said. “We didn’t put too much in, but we got up and down, pushed and shoved a little bit, just got a feel for what’s new to come.”
NOTES: The 76ers on Saturday announced the signing of free agents Solomon Alabi and Nayal Koshwal. Alabi, 25, was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 50th pick in the 2010 draft and spent last year with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League and Ikaros Chalkidas of the Greek League. Koshwal, 25, competed in the NBA Summer League a year ago and played collegiately at DePaul. … Training camp runs until Oct. 2 at the Hagan Arena on the Saint Joesph’s University campus. The Sixers practice twice on Sunday.
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