By Peter Gleason
Sixers coach Brett Brown was philosophical before last night’s season opener in Boston:
“I think we all, led by me, have to be reminded that he’s 20 years old,” Brown said about Markelle Fultz . “I try to coach him without the knowledge of his draft order. I feel like the more he can and I can, and really sometimes the fans, let’s look at him as a 20-year-old talent instead of some type of baggage that comes with being the first player chosen. That’s how I’m approaching it.
“It’s inevitable he will have ups and downs. It’s my goal for me that I won’t, that I’ll give this a chance to help him and grow him with Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid].”
Fultz wound up with 24 minutes, scoring 5 points and garnering three rebounds and two assists.
But Brown will still be cautious with Fultz, at least for now. On Tuesday night, he had veteran guard J.J. Redick start the second half. But he is aware that if the 76ers are to take a step this season, they will likely need Fultz to help them do it.
“By and large for me to start him and give him some minutes with the people we’re trying to grow, I like that,” Brown said. “The balance of growing Markelle Fultz, winning games and keeping our program in the direction it was heading in, and using J.J. Redick all factor into that decision.”