Season's First Cuts


The Sixers released three players between Saturday's practice in State College and today's session at PCOM: Mo Rice, Andre Emmett, and Cory Underwood.

Of the five training camp additions, two remain: Antywane Robinson and Jared Reiner.

Technically, the Sixers have one spot open (they currently have 14 guaranteed contracts). Cheeks said after today's practice that Robinson and Reiner have "made it thus far." Cheeks said he liked Robinson, who played at Temple, because he can play both small and power forward. Cheeks said he liked Reiner because he competes and understands what the Sixers do (I take that to mean he quickly learned the sets).

Cheeks said, chances are, both these guys will play during Wednesday's preseason opener against the Celtics because "nobody is going to play 40 minutes."

Other news: Sam Dalembert practiced. He sat during Saturday's session with a left-shoulder strain. Cheeks said he was full-go today. Kareem Rush left practice midway through with a left ankle sprain. Cheeks said Rush injured himself about an hour into practice, came back, went up and down a few times, then said he couldn't go. Word on Rush is that he is day-to-day (aren't we all?).

The Sixers will practice tomorrow at 11 a.m. before flying to Boston.

Today's Practice

We watched about 25 minutes of practice. The teams broke down as such:

Black Team: Andre Miller, Willie Green, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Sam Dalembert (Donyell Marshall rotated in for Dalembert).

White Team: Lou Williams, Royal Ivey, Thad Young, Reggie Evans, Theo Ratliff (Marreese Speights rotated in for Ratliff).

There was no scrimmaging. Cheeks appeared to have them playing a competitive game beginning on sideline-out-of-bounds sets. A few minutes later, they shifted to baseline-out-of-bounds. The Black Team won on a 15-foot jumper by Brand. I could go into more detail about these plays, but the main thing is that Iguodala/Young took the ball out of bounds on the sideline play, then ran off a backscreen. Perfect situation for both those guys. On the baseline plays, the point guard, Lou or Andre, took the ball out and there was a screen-the-screener situation.

Photo: Again, I'm under no illusion that the photo accompanying this post is good. I do ask you to consider that it was taken through glass, on the second floor, in 5X zoom, on a camera phone. In case you can't tell, that's the Sixers in the photo. You have Andre Miller taking the ball out of bounds (they are working on a sideline play). Lou Williams -- in the white long-sleeve shirt -- is guarding Miller. Elton Brand is wearing black, standing on the block. He is guarded by Marreese Speights.

Okay, but let's talk about Willie Green. I suppose I'm getting tired of speculating about this shooting guard spot, but it's one of the only things on this team not solidified. Here's what Cheeks said after practice about Green playing on the Black Team:

"I put different guys in that position to see how he plays," Cheeks said. "Maybe tomorrow Kareem, if he’s healthy, will be there. Just trying guys in different spots."
(Cheeks must think it slightly humorous that every day we all take note of who is playing the shooting guard spot then ask him what it means. And every day he says it doesn't mean anything, he's just rotating guys into the spot to see how each fits. And here I am, again, blogging about it.)
We're getting to the point (or have we reached it already?) where there is little left to write about until the team gets on the game floor. Luckily that is only two days away.
Here are some quotes from today's practice.
Mo Cheeks
On Donyell and Theo
"Theo has been great with our guys. I allow him and Donyell both to step in and show them different things they can do on the court. Especially down low, where I don't know as much."
On the rookie ... Speights
"He’s learning. It’s a learning process. Everything he does on the court he’s probably been doing for the first time. And he’s getting hit. He’s getting beat up a lot. And while he tries and he listens, he has a long way to go in terms of understanding the pro game. A lot of things he’s doing now, he doesn’t have a knowledge of it. He’s trying."
Theo Ratliff
On Sam Dalembert
"I feel Sam should be an All-Star this year, with the centers that our in the league, in the East. I told him that. It’s the little things he has to learn and be able to do on the floor to be recognized in that manner."
On Speights
"He is a nice scorer. He has a grasp for being around the ball and rebounding the ball. [He needs to work on] Defensive-wise, positioning on the floor, playing guys a certain way, things of that nature.
Life as a rookie ...
"Yeah, a lot of guys are just riding him, of course he’s a rookie. Fortuntely I had older guys like myself when I first came in the league helping me."
Marreese Speights
Is his mind racing with everything he needs to learn?
"Right now it is because it’s the beginning, so yeah, it's going 100 miles per hour. I try to learn different stuff and listen to different people."
Until tomorrow ...
-- Kate