Seltzer's Notebook | Brown Happy to Have Simmons, Bayless Around

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Simmons, Bayless Getting Glimpse into Sixers’ Traveling World

Although not in uniform and playing, Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless have been spending plenty of time with the Sixers over the past two and a half weeks, particularly amidst the team’s recent travels.

As part of their respective rehabilitation programs, Simmons and Bayless joined the Sixers for the club’s four-game swing out West earlier in March. The two have also accompanied teammates on the Sixers’ current season-long trip, a five-game stretch that, since last Monday, has passed through Orlando, Oklahoma City, Chicago, Indianapolis, and now New York City.

In a holistic sense, Brett Brown considers it important to have Simmons and Bayless around. He realizes that both players – Simmons, a potentially multi-faceted, franchise-changing talent, and Bayless, a proven veteran combo guard – can only gain so much in the absence of live game action. Nonetheless, Brown believes that in the long run, authentically integrating the recovering duo into the team will only stand to benefit all parties.

“Completely, because it’s real,” Brown said Sunday in Indianapolis. “There is no greater example for me than to have them observe what’s growing before their own eyes.”

More and more as of late, Simmons and Bayless have been living and breathing the mechanics that make up the Sixers’ day-to-day in-season operation. How players interact with each other, how the team studies film, what Brown’s halftime coaching “rants” (his word) and instructions are like.

Brown said he wants Simmons and Bayless to “be ‘in the game’ as much as I can get them in the game” without them actually logging minutes. By doing so, Brown aims to provide Simmons and Bayless with tangible examples of the Sixers’ progress.

“We’re moving our program forward,” Brown said Sunday. “I’m proud of my coaching staff, I’m proud of how we act, I’m proud of the professionalism that we treat a shootaround, and how we pay attention in a video session.

“Albeit we’re not making the playoffs, albeit the only thing we’re sort of playing for right now is just the element of respect and pride. Every team chooses to handle this part of the year differently. It’s their own marching orders, and that’s fine. Ours is about trying to get better and grow our guys, and I have tremendous respect for how our team has handled this part of the year. I’m proud for Jerryd Bayless and Ben Simmons to witness that firsthand, because it’s real.”

The experience, Brown hopes, is one that stokes Simmons’ and Bayless’ excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead, and puts them in an enthusiastic, energized frame of mind heading into the summer, armed with a strong schematic and cultural understanding of how the Sixers “coexist.”

“All this stuff matters, even though they’re not playing,” said Brown. “It’s still a really important layer for me to grow our guys, those two guys.”

Check back later for additional entries to this edition of the Notebook.


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