The message coming out of the 76ers training camp was that T.J. McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez were in a battle for the backup point guard spot. Then we learned that McConnell earned the starter's role after projected starter Jerryd Bayless became sidelined with what the Sixers are calling a sore left wrist.

But on Saturday, Rodriguez - not McConnell - will start against Detroit in an exhibition game at the Wells Fargo Center.

"There's no sort of madness from a discipline standpoint, from a performance standout," Brown said after practice Friday. "It's just that we got a few [preseason] games left.

"I want to see Sergio more at the start of a game with that group we have been looking at, bring T.J. off the bench and really let him be bothersome defensively as he is. That's the only motive behind that."

It probably won't matter who gets the starting nod. There's a solid chance that both players will get plenty of playing time. Rodriguez is the flashy point guard, while McConnell is more of the hard-nosed gritty type.

Both had so-so performances in the 100-79 setback Thursday to Washington at the Verizon Center. McConnell scored two points on 1-for-4 shooting. He had three assists, two turnovers, and one steal while playing a team-high 24 minutes, 8 seconds. The second-year veteran graded out at a minus-29.

Rodriguez had seven assists, two rebounds, and two turnovers in 17 minutes, 50 seconds. He was held scoreless, missing all five of his shots - all from behind the three-point line.

"You know we are going to play around with Sergio, jumping in from time to time in that starting group and see how that looks," Brown said.

One can argue that McConnell has had the tougher task of the two. He's had to go head-to-head with NBA all-stars Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, and John Wall in addition to another standout point guard, Mike Conley.

He is averaging 8.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 3.0 turnovers while shooting 48.5 percent in 25.2 minutes. Rodriguez is averaging 5.6 points, 5.6 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 3.0 turnovers while shooting 28.1 percent in 21.1 minutes.

Brown wants to see how Rodriguez pairs with center Joel Embiid. He also wants to see whether McConnell can become a defensive spark for the second unit.

The backup unit has run more smoothly than the first team in the first five games.

@PompeyOnSixers