ORLANDO - For the first game of the Summer League here in Orlando, coach Doug Collins sat across the court from the bench while assistants Aaron McKie and Quin Snyder ran the club. Collins could hardly contain himself being out of shouting distance from his players, so during today's game he was seated near the end of the bench.
He is a players' coach. He continually shouted words of instruction and praise. He called players over just to give them a slap on the hand, or give them a thumbs up. Though prized rookie Evan Turner struggled again initially, Collins knows that he is struggling because of fatigue and the fact that he hasn't played organized ball since late March.
Turner scored 13 points, turned the ball over and four times and, at times, seemed confused with the referees' calls during the Sixers' 86-69 win. But he shrugged it off and acknowledged that he's a little bit up from all the practices and games that the team has gone through. The assembled group has been down here since Thursday and has been practicing and playing games since.
Newly acquired Spencer Hawes flew to Orlando today and was on the bench for the game. He will be here for the rest of the week, working out with the team but not playing in any games.
"I asked coach Collins if it was OK for me to come down here because I wanted to get to know the guys," Hawes told me after the game. "I know Jrue [Holiday] and Mo [Speights] and Jodie [Meeks] a little from playing against them, but I wanted to get to know Evan, too. It's a really exciting atmosphere. I'm glad to be here and can't wait to get started."
GM Ed Stefanski will talk tomorrow after the team faces Oklahoma City at 3. He has to be happy with the play of Holiday, who was the best player of the eight teams on Monday, and posted 10 points and five assists yesterday.
Question of the day: Who do you think will be the starting five, provided the team is constructed as it is now. My guess is this: Holiday, Turner, Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Hawes. Let's hear yours.