76ers practiced today from about 10-1 at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. They got back from their two-game Canadian swing early this morning and they play the New Jersey Nets tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center.
We watched about the last 30 minutes of practice, all scrimmaging. Guard Royal Ivey joined forwards Rodney Carney and Stromile Swift on the sidelines: all have strained left hamstrings. All are listed as day-to-day though from watching Carney on the sidelines (the bike, etc.), he does not look like he will be playing tomorrow or anytime relatively soon. He looked a little gimpy.
Since we didn't travel to Canada, today was the first change to talk with coach Eddie Jordan about how things went. Jordan said the No. 1 issue going forward was keeping the tempo and pace of the game, especially with the offense. He said he felt the second game against the Toronto Raptors, the team walked the ball upcourt too much and didn't get into the offense quick enough. That's primarily what they worked on yesterday ... getting into the offense in 5 or 6 seconds instead of maybe 10 or 11.
I'm not going to try to assess what happened in those first two preseason games considering I wasn't there, nor were the games on TV. I know the team had a lot of turnovers, but that's to be expected with this new read-and-react offense.
Here's what I noticed from today: Samuel Dalembert looks happy to be running this offense and he's actually running it quite well. Considering we've been less than complimentary about Dalembert's state of mind the last year or so, I think it's only fair to say that -- so far -- Dalembert looks effective in the Princeton Offense. Which is surprising. Also surprising is that Jordan said Dalembert was the second-best shooter on the team, perhaps tied with Andre Iguodala (obviously Jason Kapono being the best). I'm not sure if I'd agree with that. But Jordan was effusive in his praise for Dalembert's pre-season effort, saying he's passing the ball well, being unselfish and effective within the offense. From what I've seen, that's actually not an exaggeration, Dalembert has looked really good.
During today's scrimmage, he had a couple of give-and-go situations where he dished to a cutter for a quick score. He's been moving well off the block, to the high post, in order to open up those lanes. He's also not been afraid to make a 1-on-1 move when it seems the right decision within the flow of the offense.
Dalembert himself said he's loving the offense and that he thinks opponents will have to worry about this added dimension to his game. We'll see, of course, once the season starts.
Until tomorrow ...