TORONTO - Brett Brown constantly teaches his players - at practice, during film study, at team meetings, and during games.

For injured center Nerlens Noel, one of the assignments is to study opposing post players' offensive tendencies from the bench. Brown has had in-game discussions with the rookie, who has not played this year.

Friday night's subject was Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas.

Wednesday, Noel studied the Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic. The 6-foot-11, 285-pounder had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and a blocked shot in the Timberwolves' 106-99 win at the Target Center.

"I would talk a lot about defensive positioning, because that is going to be Nerlens' greatest challenge," Brown said of his in-game conversations with Noel. "Imagine Nerlens in a game like [Wednesday]. What's the pound difference - 60, 70, 50? You know, pick a number. It's big.

"So you have to be smart and position yourself when you are fronting a lot."

The 76ers coach wants his post players to use their athleticism, length, and speed against players like Pekovic.

"Otherwise you are going to get buried under the rim and it's going to be a long night and you are going to be in a lot of foul trouble," the coach said. "Those are the types of things I like pointing out to someone, especially like Nerlens."

Special partnership

The Sixers announced a community partnership with Special Olympics Pennsylvania on Friday. Rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams will serve as the franchise's spokesperson for the joint venture.

As a way to tip off the partnership, Carter-Williams will host a holiday shopping event for 10 Special Olympians and their families on Wednesday.

The team will have a Special Olympics Pennsylvania Celebration Night when it hosts the Detroit Pistons at Well Fargo Center on March 29.