Rebuilding Sixers prepare to start camp

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Associated Press

Posted on September 27, 2013 at 4:03 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young saw the Philadelphia 76ers trade away Jrue Holiday, they wondered if they would be next.

It didn't happen. Turner and Young are still here, though maybe not for long.

There's no hiding that the Sixers are in full rebuilding mode. They have a new general manager, a new coach and a new philosophy.

Training camp starts Saturday, and players are aware expectations are low.

"I was shocked they traded Jrue," Turner said at Friday's media session. "I was getting ready for it (myself). I said: 'Let's hope it's (a) warm (city).'"

Instead, Turner is still in Philadelphia. Same for Young.

"Once I saw Jrue go, I thought anybody can go," Young said.

Turner, Young and Spencer Hawes are now the cornerstones for a team that's expected to lose quite a few games this season.

"The thing that has impressed me the most is how curious they are on what I think about something," coach Brett Brown said. "They're enjoyable to talk to. I do look at them the way I used to with (Tim Duncan), Tony (Parker), and Manu (Ginobili).

"I want their opinion in a lot of different things. Obviously I feel strong in what I want to happen, but they know the lay of the land. They deserve to be heard. And their leadership is something we really want to cultivate."

Some would say the Sixers are tanking, but Brown and general manager Sam Hinkie consider it rebuilding from the bottom.

"We talked and I found them all to be professional," Hinkie said of Turner, Young and Hawes. "They understood what our season might look like and what their role might be, a role to be a leader for us and help a lot of our young guys come along and show them what it means to be a Sixer."

Young, a first-round pick in 2007, is the longest-tenured Sixers player. He averaged 14.8 points per game last year and had career highs in starts (76) and rebounds (7.5).

"Any time you hear rebuild or we're going in a different direction, it's frustrating because you feel like you are starting to go somewhere and poof, everything is gone," Young said. "This year, as opposed to every other year, I have to be ready to lead my teammates. Being a young team, we're going to take or bumps and bruises but we have to keep working hard."

Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, has struggled to live up to expectations in his first three seasons. He started all 82 games last year and had career highs across the board, including averages of 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

"There will be growing pains, obviously, but this is great for the young guys," Turner said. "It's a chance for them to develop instead of sitting behind guys for two, three years."

The Sixers went 34-48 last season after starting off with high hopes following the offseason acquisition of All-Star center Andrew Bynum, who didn't play a game because of knee injuries. The disappointing season ended with coach Doug Collins stepping down a year a year after leading Philadelphia to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Hinkie replaced Tony DiLeo and made massive changes, starting with trading Holiday to New Orleans for injured Kentucky lottery pick Nerlens Noel. Hinkie also drafted Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th overall pick in the first round.

"One of my personal goals is to win Rookie of the Year," Carter-Williams said. "That's by me being a team player. It's not going to come by me going for individual stats. I have to make the right play and do the right thing on the court and that's what I have to do for us to win."

NOTES: Forward Royce White, a 2012 first-round pick by Houston who never played for the Rockets, said he's planning to fly when needed and drive to games when he can. White was on the inactive list last year as he worked on an arrangement with the team to balance his acknowledged anxiety disorder with the demands of the NBA schedule. "I'm just happy to be here," White said. ... Forward Arnett Moultrie had surgery Thursday after injuring his left ankle last week. He's expected to return after January. ... Center Kwame Brown injured his right hamstring strain during offseason workouts and will receive a second opinion.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP__RobMaaddi

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