Nov 012010
Sixers forward Marreese Speights

Sixers forward Marreese Speights

November 1:

Philadelphia 76ers news and stories from around the web…

Lost time in preseason hindering Sixers’ Hawes

November 1 Philadelphia Daily News:

“It’s only three games into the 76ers‘ season. There has yet to be a win and some of the concerns from the preseason certainly have showed why they warranted red flags.

Spencer Hawes, acquired in a trade that sent Sam Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings and was given Dalembert’s starting center spot, has struggled mightily in the first three games. His offense has been pretty much nonexistent, with just 10 points total so far. He is averaging less than 17 minutes per game, partly due to foul trouble, partly because his play probably hasn’t exactly instilled confidence in coach Doug Collins to keep him out there.

Hawes missed a couple of weeks during the preseason with a back injury that he says is fully healed now. But that time off the court was a major setback, according to Collins.

“He’s just struggling right now and I think a lot of it has to do with missing the time and not being able to get used to his teammates and get comfortable with what we’re trying to do,” Collins said. “It’s not easy to miss time the way he did with a new team, a new coach, and then jump right back in. It’s going to take some time for him, but we’re hoping he comes around quickly.”

Picking up the slack on the inside has been power forward Elton Brand, who has scored in double figures in each of the three games so far (14.7 average) and is pulling down nine rebounds a game.”

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76ers getting squeezed during tight stretches of games

November 1 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Doug Collins leaps out of his seat each time his team mishandles a pick-and-roll, or takes a difficult shot early in the shot clock, or surrenders a succession of offensive rebounds.

Collins, you may have noticed, is rarely seated.

The 76ers‘ season is three games old – or three losses old, depending on your viewpoint – and the problems that seemed like an impending headache have morphed into a full-blown migraine.

It’s not all bad. The Sixers did find a frantic energy guy to replace Reggie Evans in Andres Nocioni, but the team’s offensive deficiencies are proving as bad, if not worse, than expected.

A majority of the Sixers‘ games this season will be decided in few-minute segments that present themselves often at the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third.

The NBA is in some ways like a game of dribble knockout, a basketball drill requiring you to maintain your dribble within set parameters. When the game begins, the entire court is usually inbounds and all players can scamper around freely, rarely needing masterful dribbling tactics to be effective. As the game progresses, and players are eliminated, the boundaries move first to the half court, then inside the three-point line, and ultimately just inside the lane.

As the boundaries of the game shrink, skill and execution become paramount and precision is demanded.

Often, an NBA game mirrors this pattern: In the first quarter, as each team warms up and attempts to set a tempo, speed and athleticism can be just as important as skill and execution.

But at some point, the game is squeezed into a smaller space. It’s in these chunks of time that the Sixers‘ skills – running, dunking, jumping, filling lanes – are virtually worthless, easily trumped by an opponent with a go-to low-post presence, or a highly skilled wing player, or an effective point guard.

Or some mix of the three.

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Speights’ production for Sixers hard to see

October 31 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“The production of 76ers big man Marreese Speights has been microscopic.

Considered one of the team’s most talented young players, Speights, 23, had played seven minutes entering Saturday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers and was averaging 0.5 points, 0.0 rebounds, and 0.0 assists through the team’s first two games – both losses.

Last season, Speights averaged 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds. He scored 15 or more points in five of the team’s first 10 games. On Nov. 14, in a game at the Chicago Bulls, Speights suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, causing him to miss about a month of playing time.

After the knee injury, Speights’ effectiveness – and his minutes – diminished.

This season, Speights strained his right hamstring in a preseason game at Toronto.

Since then, he hasn’t seemed like the same player.”

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