St. Joe's Day 3


76ers are now three days into training camp with only two days of camp remaining and only five days before their first pre-season game. That's to say, sure, it's still early, but we'll be seeing an on-court product -- still a work in progress, of course -- very shortly.
The team is practicing twice today. From 10-to-1ish and from 6 -to-7:15ish. Again, there's now 18 guys at camp. Yesterday's addition, Rashad Jones-Jennings, practiced today. Stromile Swift was out again this morning: He hasn't practiced since the first session on Monday. The Sixers have 13 guys under contract, 5 are here as free agents.
Onto the basketball stuff: Sixers went about 3-1/2 hours this morning. We watched the last 40 minutes or so. When we got in, they were running through 5-on-0 baseline and sideline out of bounds plays. Soon after, they went into scrimmaging situations (with refs) that started with either a sideline or a baseline out of bounds play. Coach Eddie Jordan differed the lineups a little bit while we were there: Jrue Holiday was playing a decent amount on the second team. It's hard to nail down the 6 through 12 rotation because of the extra guys. But the first team is solid with Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, and Samuel Dalembert.
There was an equal focus on offense and defense for these last 40 minutes. The offense had a few pretty smooth possessions with some strong backdoor cuts, dribble hand offs, flash cuts, and quick cuts off the post. Usually, there is about a strong 10-second segment, but rarely is the entire possession smooth. That's to be expected. But when there is a flash cut and handoff, it's a nice thing to watch (even if the rest of the possession becomes stagnant). Only Day 3, but this offense -- run well -- is good basketball.
Towards the end of the practice, assistant coach Randy Ayers took over and worked specifically on pick-and-roll defense. Not a bad thing for the Sixers to be working on considering it has been a problem area with them for years. Ayers has the screener's defender showing hard against the ball handler, letting the on-ball defender slip on top of the screen (but below the show defender), and recovering to his man. Of course, this leaves the show defender behind, since their man has rolled to the basket. Ayers was going over all these rotations and it's the first time we've actually been watching as they went over these defensive principles. It's early, but they looked improved in this area. Jordan also began teaching a full-court press they'll be using ... which I think he called 43.
A couple of other things:
1.) Since this is hump day, most of these guys are tired and sore. Jordan said they had a meeting this morning talking about having a good practice despite the soreness, bangs, and bruises. Elton Brand, who'd been looking strong the first couple days, did seem a little tired today, not having the same pop off the floor, physicality, etc. Jordan said that was to be expected.
2.) Jordan seemed high on Rodney Carney, saying he was a guy that had been on the camp "honor roll." Jordan said the coaches picked about 5-to-6 guys a day, based on effort. He said Rodney and Dalembert were on the "honor roll" so far. Dalembert has looked good with the ball in the center. He's made some nice dump off passes to cutters and a couple of strong moves to the hoop. He does seem to be grabbing his right shoulder after most plays, though, so that's something on which to keep an eye. I'd be surprised if he didn't take off at least one training camp session.
And, like I said, I'll be promo'ing the Twitter account until I have 1,000 tweeps. All Sixers, all the time. Join here: DeepSixer3.
Check out the Deep Sixer videos in the player to the right. There will be (soon) one from today's end-of-practice scrimmage and another of Iguodala playing a little 1-v-1 after this morning's practice.