October 4 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Offense is why coaches love to have 76ers center Marreese Speights on the basketball court. His defense is what usually necessitates his removal from the floor.
The third-year 6-10 Florida product knows the concerns about his ability to defend and he is trying (emphasis on trying) to get better at not allowing the other team to score – though it is still a work in progress.
“He is in better shape and he is a kid that wants to please and do well,” head coach Doug Collins said after yesterday morning’s practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “He has a tendency when he gets tired that bad habits come back. He starts standing up on defense and not being in the right spots. The thing that was encouraging me today was he was the best player in the last 5 minutes after we’d been through a 2-hour practice. That’s what was encouraging to me. Because normally that’s when he would have broken down either tired physically or mentally. And today he came down the floor and he had four straight scores.”
Speights missed 20 games last season due to injuries to both knees. During his time out, he put on a little weight, and when he returned it took a while for him to find his game again.
He worked hard this offseason and reported to camp in his best shape as a pro. He is running the floor extremely well in practice, showing that his scoring is still a strong part and working on his defense.
“[Getting in better shape] ties into everything,” Speights said after yesterday’s practice. “I’m just going to work hard every day that I’m on the court. [My shape] wasn’t part of the problem. Defense is all mental, so I’m good. I’m going to work every day to get better on defense and help the team out.”
He should be able to do that on the offensive end of the floor on a team that seems to be lacking a lot of inside scoring.”
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