Saturday, December 20, 2014

The First -- Not The Best -- Scrimmage

Maurice Cheeks was hoping for more in the first scrimmage, but--as he likes to say--that's what training camp is for.

The First -- Not The Best -- Scrimmage

STATE COLLEGE -- This was the first scrimmage of training camp, and it looked like, well, the first scrimmage.

''Raggedy,'' 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. ''This was the first time we actually played with a clock (and referees). The execution was; (overall), it was not good.''

Was he hoping for more?

''I was hoping for different,'' Cheeks said, laughing. "The first time running up and down in a controlled settinh, it's going to be a little raggedy . . . We need a lot of work in that area.''

For the record, this was the first unit: Samuel Dalembert at center, Elton Brand at power forward, Thaddeus Young at small forward, Andre Iguodala at shooting guard, Andre Miller at the point.

The second unit: Theo Ratliff at center, Reggie Evans at power forward, Kareem Rush at small forward, Willie Green at shooting guard, Lou Williams at the point.

Donyell Marshall was the first man off the bench with the first group, rookie Marreese Speights was first off with the second squad.

None of the above is necessarily set in stone, but it could be pretty close, with a role somewhere in there for Royal Ivey. I think this is pretty much what you'll see in tonight's open scrimmage (6:30, Bryce Jordan Center).

Some observations, some from Cheeks, some from me --

On Young: ''I think he looked pretty good,'' Cheeks said. "It's going to be a work in progress, because he played (''3'') a little bit last year at the beginning . . . He just has to basically defend and rebound the ball, and he's an opportunity scorer. We're not going to run a lot of plays for him.''

On Williams: ''I think we get caught up in (whether) Lou should be a 1 or 2, and I think he's just a basketball player.,'' Cheeks said. ''I was a 1 and couldn't play anything but 1. He can play some 1, some 2. He has the ability to score as well as anyone, and he has the ability to run some point. As he plays a little more, he'll be a better point.''

On Rush: "He's a shooter,'' Cheeks said. "I like that. A maker. He makes them. When you have a guy who can spread the defense (it makes a difference). Every night, he won't make all those shots but they still have to guard him. That can pay dividends, because when the ball goes in to Elton Brand or Andre Iguodala, they still have to guard him.''

On Ivey: "He's a physical player who can play some 1, guard some 2, who uses his hands very well. Kareem can do a little more with the ball, but Ivey is an aggressive player on the defensive end.''

Let's be honest, it's much too soon to make a bunch of judgments. I'll be surprised if this first unit doesn't start the regular season, but I'm certain we'll see a variety of lineups and rotations all through the preseason.

As for Iguodala and the mild ankle sprain that kept him out of the two sessions Tuesday, he seemed fine yesterday. Again, it's training camp. Guys will have tweaks, sprains and strains. That's when you find out how resilient most of them are.

Part of what Cheeks described as ''raggedy'' was quickly eliminated when the coach stopped the scrimmage, gathered the players and told them in no uncertain terms to leave the local referees alone and focus on the job at hand.

They should be better tomorrow.

''We get to scrimmage again,'' Brand said. "We enjoy the scrimmaging instead of running so much (in practice).

He said his previous teams -- the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Clippers -- didn't run as much.

''They didn't have the athletes this team has.''

 

 

About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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