There's A Rotation In There Somewhere

Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks has been saying since the preseason that he intends to settle on a substitution roation and stick to it, rather than trying to spot additional guys for a few minutes here and there.

He says he has done that, even though it has been difficult to tell at times.

That's what can happen in a 2-4 start that has including blowing a 23-point lead in Atlanta and having a dreadful performance in Miami.

''I have settled on a rotation, but the games have been so out of whack, and the games that haven't been in our favor, I've tried different combinations to get us going,'' Cheeks said.

This, essentially, is the way it has been so far:

Starters: Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala.

Rotating Reserves: Willie Green, Lou Williams, Reggie Evans, sometimes Marreese Speights, sometimes Kareem Rush, occasionally Royal Ivey.

Rotating Inactive List: Theo Ratliff, Donyell Marshall.

The rotation wouldn't be an issue if Iguodala could get untracked, if Rush could find his niche as a spot-up shooter, if Speights could continue to develop, if Brand and his teammates could find a comfort level with one another.

I know, I know, a lot of ''ifs.'' Charles Barkley used to say ''If 'ifs' were gifts, every day would be Christmas.''

Six games, though, isn't exactly a huge sample. Most coaches and general managers like to use 20 games as a barometer. But given the expectations surrounding this team, sooner might be better.