A Spate Of Speights Questions

My email bin was bulging with questions about why rookie Marreese wasn't on the active roster for Wednesday night's 76ers opener. And beyond that, why he wasn't playing.

A couple were already touting Speights as the guy who should be starting at center in place of Samuel Dalembert.

My response: Lighten up. Think it through.

First, and this is just my perception, I believe coach Maurice Cheeks--correctly--paid repsect to the veterans by having them in uniform for the first night. Second, remember, they could only dress 11 men because Royal Ivey was sitting out the second leg of a three-game suspension but still had to be counted against the 12-man limit.

Third, I believe Speights is going to be a good player and that he is going to begin to get minutes reasonably soon. He has to get better at the offensive sets and defensive concepts. And again, this is just me, I think Cheeks wants the kid to earn his time, not have it handed to him. That worked wonders with Thaddeus Young last season.

Finally, for all the criticism of Dalembert that turns up in my email, the man took 17 rebounds against the Raptors. I know a handful of them were from his own misses, but he did go get them. And as many times as he missed or had the ball go off his hands, he did keep going after them. I would have liked to see the same energy from some of his teammates. He had nine offensive rebounds. The Toronto Raptors--all of them--had 10.

Dalembert's inability to transform more of those rebounds into points was an issue. But how about the team shooting 34.5 percent from the floor? Or 5-for-20 from three-point distance? Or coming up with just three steals? Or getting only four points off 10 Raptors turnovers? Or giving up 26 points on 18 turnovers?

I'm not so sure playing in that atmosphere would have been beneficial for Speights.

But keep the messages coming. This is all about dialogue, which is always a good thing.

Some unrelated stuff-----

If you haven't seen the news, Allen Iverson, a Denver tri-captain last season, isn't one this season's co-captains.

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, in the Houston Chronicle, on whether they can--will?--re-sign Ron Artest: "We've always signed everybody we wanted to sign. We never lost anybody we really didn't want to lose. And everybody's loved playing here, so I assume if Ron has a good season we'll sign him, too.''

From the ''Does this mean he's going to get minutes'' dept.: Indiana Pacers coach Jim O'Brien, in the Indianapolis Star, on young big man Josh McRoberts: "Josh is probably by a large margin our most athletic big man. He's the quickest off the ground jumping, probably the fastest big man that we have. He does a lot of very, very positive things. I'm very, very impressed with his potential, just because he's so big, so quick and runs so well. I think he's a guy that we value from the standpoint of the long term.''

He said it: New Jersey rookie Ryan Anderson had 20 points in a preseason game against Boston, but said ''It was a typo. I only had two, and they added a zero.''