PORTLAND, Ore. -- Neither Ben Simmons nor Jerryd Bayless will suit up this season, but Brett Brown feels it is equally important for them as it is for active players to be with the team on the road on this West Coast swing.
The 6-foot-10 rookie and the 6-foot-3 veteran, while opposite on paper, are going to be closely tied together in the Sixers' system next season if all goes as planned.
Brown intends to start Simmons at the one-spot. That's the same position as Bayless. Looking ahead, Bayless could either sub for Simmons or share the court with Simmons because of his ability as a combo-guard.
"I've made it quite public I want to try Ben at point guard," Brown said. "With that, I don't see Ben guarding point guards. So here comes Jerryd. He's got that ability. I see those two existing quite well."
The Sixers signed Bayless to a three-year deal last offseason. He fit the criteria for a guard to play alongside Simmons in an untraditional system. The pair didn't get the chance to play together beyond a short stint during training camp. Simmons fractured his right foot in the final scrimmage. Bayless suffered a left wrist injury early in camp. He had his cast removed this week after three months.
Brown hopes that what chemistry Bayless and Simmons can't yet form on the court, they can create by spending time with one another during shootarounds, practices and traveling.
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"In one sense you have a rookie that hasn't played a second," Brown said. "In the other sense, you've got our version of a veteran in Jerryd that can share other stories and join in that type of conversation that I really want to have with my players."
Bayless isn't the only experienced voice on the road. Former Sixer Elton Brand, who was hired as a player development after retirement, also is with the team for this trip. Brown sees Brand's 17 years of NBA experience as an invaluable resource the Sixers still can tap into even though he is not playing.
"He's one of these rare players that I've tripped on over my 16 years in the league that you really feel comfortable with and trust," Brown said. "He's obviously not poor; he doesn't have to do this. I say that because it's just another layer to confirming his heart is in the right place. He wants to help me, he wants to help our young guys."
Brand signed with the Sixers last January for his final season to provide leadership to a young locker room. Now in a personnel role, Brown describes Brand's presence as "an incredible sense of perspective, a calm mind."
"I just have a tremendous amount of respect for Elton Brand and appreciate his inclusion and his company," Brown said.
Joel Embiid is scheduled to join the Sixers in Los Angeles.