NEWS: Head coach Maurice Cheeks said they will "probably make a cut or two before Wednesday" (the first preseason game, against Boston, at UMASS). These cuts will involve the training camp additions, nothing including the final, active roster.
After nearly four days -- and 13 hours of practice -- tucked away in the auxillary gym at the back of the Bryce Jordan Center, the new-look 76ers will make, ostensibly, their public debut tonight.
Sure, it's about three hours from Philadelphia. But it's an arena and there will be fans (how many remains to be seen).
This morning the Sixers went through a light practice, mainly running sideline and baseline out-of-bounds plays.
Head coach Maurice Cheeks said of this morning's workout: "We just kind of walked through some things today. We didn’t do a lot of running, very little running at all, but just some execution mainly to try and get ourselves ready."
When asked what his first-team lineup would be tonight, Cheeks said it had yet to be determined. But today, the group running through the plays on the "Black Team," was the same lineup Cheeks used during yesterday's end-of-practice scrimmage: Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Sam Dalembert.
Tonight's session should include drills as well as scrimmaging.
Here is what Elton Brand had to say of his expectations for tonight: "We want to play hard, execute, not turn the ball over, run our plays correctly, and not be sloppy out there. It’s only the second day, really, of playing five-on-five with referees, but we want to have a good showing out there not just for the fans, but for ourselves.
How are guys holding up?
"A lot of guys are sore, but that’s what training camp’s about," Brand said. "It’s about playing hard and getting in shape. And we’ve done it. Today we had more of a mental day. Not a lot of running. So we better bring it tonight or tomorrow’s going to be heck."
Cheeks said he isn't looking for anything specific from his team tonight. He said his main concern is general execution.
"I want to see execution on the offense and defensive end," Cheeks said. "And that’s what training camp is. It’s not trying to pick out this thing and that thing, it’s about trying to get some cohesiveness between your team and work on a lot of things that we’ve put in … I don’t want to see us, like, offensive rebound the ball or defensive rebound the ball, I want to see a collection of things and particularly on the execution."
So if Cheeks doesn't want to get more specific about what he wants to see tonight, we'll toss a few things out there.
1.) Iguodala's outside shot. If he is going to stick at shooting guard, he has to, er, shoot ... right? He brings so many other things to the court, but I imagine even he would say he has to nail some shots. Here is what he said this morning about his outside shot:
"Yeah, I’m fine. We scrimmaged once yesterday and there wasn’t too many shots and our defense looked good so we got a lot of transition points. So hopefully tonight we’ll get some more looks ... It will be key to get Elton the ball and read off what he does with the ball."
2.) Sam Dalembert: How is he working into the offense? It's no secret this offense is geared to run through Elton Brand. But what does that mean for Sam? How can he really complement Brand and the rest of the offense? Here is what Sam had to say about that:
"We try to be on the same team and play together as much as possible. Try to know each other's habits, offensively, defensively. I think so far we’re gelling, getting things down."
3.) The fringe guys, the borderline guys ... I guess it's time to start thinking about which of the 13 guaranteed-contract players won't make the 12-man active roster. The list to draw from would have to include Royal Ivey, Willie Green, Kareem Rush, Marreese Speights and, possibly, one of the veterans, Ratliff or Marshall. I know, you're probably thinking, isn't that half the team? Not really going out on a limb, yet, with who the odd man out is. But it's situations like tonight's and, of course, more importantly, the preseason games, where that will be decided.
The open session is from 6:30-8 p.m. We'll get something up after the scrimmage about who looked good, how it went, etc.
Until later ...