Sixers' 13th different lineup brings good luck
Injuries and roster changes have led to coach Brett Brown constantly shuffling the names in the starting five.
ORLANDO - Last night marked the 26th game of the season for the 76ers and coach Brett Brown rolled out his 13th different starting lineup.
It certainly can be a part of the reason his club continues to search for continuity on the floor and a big part of why they lead the league with 19 turnovers a game and the worst scoring average at 91.2.
Much of the shuffling has been done due to injuries. Much of it due to the variety of trades and call-ups the team seems to make on a weekly basis.
Forward JaKarr Sampson got his third start of the season in the team's 96-88 win over Orlando last night due to an illness to usual starter Hollis Thompson.
On top of all that, Brown is also trying to overcome what all young players go through in the league.
"My soul mission is to reclaim our spirit," Brown said before his third win in those 26 games. "I have a bunch of 20-year-olds that in their normal life their college season ended four games ago. We've played 33 games including our preseason.
"I'm looking at them and whether they've hit rookie walls. We go hard. I'm proud of the way we go, but I think there's a beat-down effect physically and mentally when you're losing that I have to be conscious of.
"I'm trying to reclaim their spirit so that we play with energy. If we don't do that we don't have much. That's my coaching mission and that means pushing different buttons and that's the mojo going into the two games before the Christmas holiday."
Of the 13 different starting lineups this season, Brandon Davies and Chris Johnson are no longer with the team. Davies started six games for the team before being dealt to the Brooklyn Nets while Chris Johnson started one before being released.
The most successful lineup for the Sixers is Michael Carter-Williams, Hollis Thompson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Nerlens Noel and Henry Sims. That group is 2-3 when starting together.
It is going to take a while for Sixers fans to get to know newly arrived Furkan Aldemir, as he sat out again last night with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Asked in the locker room before the game if he was feeling better, Aldemir replied that he was as he walked through, though whether he fully understood the question with the language barrier could have prompted his answer.
Aldemir was signed by the team on Dec. 15 and played that night against the Boston Celtics. In nearly 10 minutes of play, the 6-9 forward posted two points, two rebounds and an assist in the lopsided loss. When Aldemir will return is anyone's guess, though it would be surprising if he suits up tomorrow night when the team plays in Miami.
Perhaps he will be fit enough to play when the team begins a five-game West Coast trip on Dec. 26.
Also missing last night was Hollis Thompson, who has been battling an upper respiratory infection. Thompson made the trip to Orlando, but the team decided in the morning that it would be better for him to stay back at the team hotel. That left coach Brett Brown with just nine players at his disposal.