The 76ers entire roster practiced Thursday for the first time since training camp started last Sunday.
“Everybody participated today, so that was terrific to see,” coach Doc Rivers said following practice. “Everybody was on the floor.
“We had all 1,022 players practice today,” he said laughing, using a figure slightly higher than the actual total of 20. “It was kind of nice. It was nice to see everybody out there.”
Rivers gave the roster update after being asked about first-round draft choice Tyrese Maxey, coming off a positive COVID test, who didn’t practice Wednesday, and Matisse Thybulle, who has been hampered by an ankle injury.
The Sixers open their two-game preseason schedule Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center against the Boston Celtics.
Under Rivers, the Sixers will be using more pick and rolls this season. When Rivers was asked who looked good in the Sixers two-man games, he said, “Anybody with Joel [Embiid] turns out to be a decent player. I am half-joking with that.”
He was also half-serious.
Rivers said he encourages his assistants to be heavily involved in practice.
“I give my assistants a lot of voice,” he said. “I always have. Dave [Joerger] offensively and Sam [Cassell] offensively and Dan [Burke] and Popeye [Jones] defensively are very involved.”
Rivers played in the NBA for 13 years and he found that hearing just the head coach could be a bit wearisome.
“When I was a player I never liked when I heard one coach’s voice the whole practice,” he said. “By game 50 we were done with it.”
NBA COVID update
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced that of the 541 players tested for COVID-19 since Dec, 2, eight have returned positive tests.
Previously, 48 players returned positive tests out of 546 tested during the initial return-to-market testing phase from Nov. 24 through Dec. 1.
Not lacking confidence
Rookie forward Paul Reed, a second-round pick (58th overall) from DePaul, is on a two-way contract with the Sixers.
Each NBA team is permitted to have a maximum of two players under two-way contracts. A two-way player for the 76ers will provide services to the team’s G League affiliate – the Delaware Blue Coats – but this year may also be active for up to 50 of the 72 NBA games.
Wherever he plays, Reed, who averaged 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 1.9 steals this past season as a junior at DePaul, won’t lack confidence.
“I think I do it all,” Reed said when asked about his skills. “I pass, dribble, shoot, dunk, rebound, defend. It’s deeper than how bigger somebody is than me. It’s about heart for me. That is how I feel about it.”