PHOENIX - The 76ers already have experienced some trying moments. With 54 games to play, the experiences are expected to get worse for the tanking franchise.

But no one said the pursuit of top lottery picks, by sacrificing wins now, would be easy on the current crop of Sixers (8-20).

That's why Brett Brown's role is much more than just that of rookie head coach. He's sort of the unofficial team psychologist, too.

The coach acknowledged that he filled such a role for the players, and that it was an important one.

"The [camaraderie], that staying together, is one of the hardest things to deal with when you are dealing with trade rumors, when you are dealing with rebuilding, when you are dealing with losing," Brown said.

The Sixers were tied with Orlando for the NBA's third-worst record heading into Thursday night's league action.

After winning their first road game, at Washington on Nov. 1, the Sixers have lost 12 consecutive games away from home.

There's a belief that the Sixers will extend the road losing streak with games at Phoenix (17-10) on Saturday, at the Los Angeles Lakers (13-16) on Sunday, at Denver (14-13) on Wednesday, at Sacramento (8-19) on Thursday, and at Portland (23-5 entering Thursday) on Jan. 4.

The team also is dealing with trade rumors involving veterans Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Thaddeus Young. And the Sixers have failed to win consecutive games since unexpectedly starting the season 3-0.

"You have a recipe that's built for disaster if you don't have character people that don't understand the pitfalls of what could happen among that turmoil," Brown said. "I talk about that all the time.

"It needs to be admitted and worked on."

Reserve demoted. Reserve point guard Lorenzo Brown was assigned to the Sixers' NBA Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. The 6-foot-5, 186-pound rookie remains on the Sixers' 15-man roster.

He signed with the franchise Nov. 20, when it cut point guard Darius Morris.

Brown played in 13 games, averaging 3.2 points and 1.8 assists in 10.9 minutes per game. His already limited minutes were set to drastically decrease once starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams returned from a skin infection on the front of his right knee. Tony Wroten will receive the bulk of the minutes at point guard when Carter-Williams is not on the floor.

So Brown was sent to the D-League as a way to get him playing time.