Game Preview | For Luwawu-Cabarrot, Learning by Doing Makes Difference

Scene Setter:

CAMDEN, NJ – Remember back in your early schooling days, you were told about the different types of primary learning styles?

There are visual learners, auditory learners, reading and writing learners, and, lastly, kinesthetic learners.  

If you fall under the latter of the four categories, that means you learn best by doing, through experience. According to research, you might even have better odds at succeeding in sports.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that growing up in the southeast French coastal city of Cannes, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot found himself to be part of this group. Hands-on reps have often always been the most effective teaching tool for the 22-year old, which can explain why now, at the outset of his second season with the 76ers, he feels more at home.

There was a lot for Luwawu-Cabarrot, chosen 24th in the 2016 draft, to absorb as a rookie. New team, new league, better players, and – arguably biggest of all – new city, new country, plus a new language.

“Last year, some games, when I came in, I didn’t really know the player in front of me – if he’s a shooter, a driver, a slasher, just a defender,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said. “Now, I know who I’m playing against, how I’m supposed to play against that guy, and I’m able to play better defense.”

As much as Luwawu-Cabarrot did his best to prepare for games with the help of film sessions and scouting reports from his coaches, he discovered that there was no substitute for real, live NBA action. Playing in games helped him gain a true sense of the league’s physical demands, introduced him to the Sixers’ schemes, and exposed him to tendencies of opposing players.

“You just know who you’re playing against,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said earlier this week.

Armed with this knowledge, Luwawu-Cabarrot thinks he’s currently in a “way better” place to contribute, especially lately, now that he’s back at full strength.

With averages of 6.1 points and 1.3 rebounds in 13.4 minutes entering Friday’s pairing with the Indiana Pacers (7:00 PM EST; NBC Sports Philadelphia, 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network), Luwawu-Cabarrot has filled a steady role in the Sixers’ wing rotation.In fact, through the first two weeks of the season, he’s actually been scoring at a rate 3.0 points higher (16.5) than his per 36 minutes mark from a year ago. His individual defensive rating (101.8) has lowered slightly, too.

To that end, defense is precisely the area where Brett Brown wants Luwawu-Cabarrot focused. The Frenchman’s ability to provide a scoring spark, through layups and 3-pointers, is appealing and valuable. The latest example came Monday, when he ripped off 11 straight first-quarter points en route to finishing with a season-high 17 in the Sixers’ win over the Houston Rockets.

At the end of the day, though, when it comes to Luwawu-Cabarrot’s development, defense is Brown’s priority.

“I think Timmy has to be better defensively,” Brown said Thursday. “I think his athleticism is elite. He’s really good in open court. His judgment will also be reflected in making some threes at a reliable rate.”

Recently, Luwawu-Cabarrot has obliged, hitting 6 of 12 3-point attempts during the Sixers’ three-game winning streak.

“His game is quite simple,” said Brown. “I saw it with [San Antonio guard] Danny Green. He ran his lane, he made shots, and he guarded. As simple as that sounds, if [Luwawu-Cabarrot] can do that for us, that’s a long way to claiming and understanding a role.”

Getting opportunities to learn by doing, Luwawu-Cabarrot believes, will only help his cause.

“I feel more comfortable in my position with the team, chemistry with players, the coach,” he said. “I just have to figure out what is my rotation, position with the team. It’s on the right path.”

Opponent Outlook:

Like the Sixers, the Indiana Pacers (5-3) are one of a handful of teams tied for the second-longest active winning streak in the NBA, having rattled off three victories in a row. Their last time out, the Pacers rolled past division rival Cleveland, 124-107. Indiana’s surge began last Sunday with a 97-94 triumph over the San Antonio Spurs. This summer, the Pacers sent All-Star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the youngsters Indy received in return are performing well. Guard Victor Oladipo enters play Friday with a scoring average of 23.8 points per game, while big man Domantas Sabonis accounts for 13.1 points and 11.1 board per contest.

Follow Along:

Video: NBC Sports Philadelphia / NBC Sports app

Audio: 97.5 FM The Fanatic / Sixers Radio Network

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