It's going to take new 76ers coach Doug Collins some time to figure out the whos, whats, wheres, whens and whys of his team. Hopefully it won't seem as long as last night's preseason game with the New Jersey Nets did.
When two team that combined to win 39 games last season match up in an early preseason game, you can't expect a masterpiece.
Nonetheless, Collins did see some positives from his team during its 103-96 loss to the Nets, though some concerns he had going into the game also were apparent.
Let's start with the good. Elton Brand looked very active and quicker than last season in posting 15 points in 22 minutes. The team got out on the break well, outscoring the Nets by 22-5 in that category. There was a good amount of movement on the offensive end, and the team did get to the line 49 times. They also turned the ball over only nine times while forcing 17, an advantage Collins has been stressing all of training camp.
The interior defense was lacking, and Nets center Brook Lopez took advantage with 26 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. As the game wore on and players got more tired, the Sixers seemed to settle for jump shots too often and as a team shot only 37.5 percent from the floor. Andre Iguodala missed all five of his shots and scored just four points in 24 minutes.
Rookies Evan Turner and Craig Brackins got extended minutes in their first NBA game. Turner, who played primarily at the point, finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and only one turnover in 25-plus minutes. He made just one of his six shots from the floor, but was active enough to get to the foul line 12 times. Brackins posted five points and five rebounds in his 21 minutes and was active all over the floor.
More questions might be answered Wednesday night when the team plays the Boston Celtics in Manchester, N.H. Collins said before the game that Brand and Andre Iguodala won't be playing due to their extended minutes against the Nets.