Brett Brown knows his 76ers squad is young, inexperienced, and lacks NBA- caliber depth.

All of it shows in nearly every game, after all.

Yet not everything is grim for the Sixers, despite the mounting losses.

"In a real twisted way, I love it," said the first-year head coach, who experienced nothing but success as a longtime San Antonio assistant. "I really enjoy coaching this group. The challenge at times keeps you up late at night.

"But I really like my job, and I'm excited about the challenge."

The challenges for the Sixers (7-18) have been many. They have lost six straight and 14 of their last 16 games.

They continue to struggle with poor shooting, turnovers, and defense. The Sixers have done well in spurts, but nothing more.

"There are only a handful of times - a very, very tiny handful of times - where you feel embarrassed," Brown said. "By and large our team has played a style of play and played with an aggression that I'm proud of."

Even though he yearns for a victory, the coach knows that's all he can ask for from his group.

By now, just about every NBA team knows that fielding a winner this season has never been the Sixers' focus. They are content with starting their rebuilding process by sacrificing wins. The main goal with this group is to assess talent and develop it.

While it hasn't led to more victories, Brown's player-development-based staff has done a great job with the task it's been given.

They are evaluating young players to see who will fit into their plans. They are putting veterans in positions to excel while showcasing their strengths.

Spencer Hawes has benefited the most. The center, who is in the final year of a two-year, $13.1 million contact, is playing the best ball of his seven-year career.

As of Friday, Hawes was producing career-best numbers in every major statistical category: 15.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.5 steals, 50.0 field-goal percentage, and 43.98 three-point percentage.

That's not bad for a player who was averaging 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists over his career.

"I think this is just a long time coming," Hawes said of what, so far, is a career year. "You put in a lot of work. You try to continue to develop every offseason. But sometimes with bigs, it takes a little bit longer to get that comfort.

"For me, I feel like I'm in a pretty good rhythm right now."

The University of Washington product also gives Brown credit for using his strengths. It's not uncommon to see the 7-foot-1, 245-pounder, who will be a free agent after this season, at the three-point line, where he's the team's best shooter.

Evan Turner was also averaging career bests in scoring (20.4 points), rebounds (6.8), steals (1.1), and field-goal percentage (45.2). The swingman was not offered an extension past this season.

Hawes and Turner are potential trade pieces for championship contenders looking to add depth.

Meanwhile, Hollis Thompson is showing that he could find a spot with another NBA team if he's not with the Sixers next season. The starting shooting guard went undrafted out of Georgetown in 2012.

Tony Wroten is making the most of his extended minutes stemming from the absence of starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who is sidelined with an infection and soreness in his right knee.

"Everybody, you know, is moving forward," Brown said. "I think the program is, too. We don't have a lot of wins to confirm that or show that to the outside world.

"But internally, I'm happy with the direction that we are all going."