Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Observations from three days of training camp

The Sixers have completed three days of training camp and there are some nice surprises.

Observations from three days of training camp

After just three days and five practices of training camp at Saint Joseph's, there can be no difinitive conclusions as to who will do what for new 76ers coach Doug Collins.

One thing is pretty certain - the Sixers aren't going to scare many teams with their interior offense. Collins even stated that if there were a game of H-O-R-S-E between his big men and small men, the bigs would win.

Ideally, Collins wants Andre Iguodala to bury his outside shot, particularly from three-point range. I don't mean bury as in make, I mean bury as in don't use it. It is blatently obvious, and Collins has said so, that Iguodala's best offensive game is when he's on the wing on a fastbreak and flyting to the basket or cutting there off screens in the halfcourt. Same goes for Thad Young. So in order for lanes to open up and defenses to be spread, the Sixers will have to consistently drain shots from the outside. So far, so good.

Jason Kapono was on fire during a scrimmage again last night, and center Spencer Hawes is pretty deadly, too. Rookie Craig Brackins got himself open around the three-point line and nailed three jumpers. After practice, he stayed late and was really impressive with his outside shooting.

It's not a great thing to rely on, for sure. But besides Mo Speights, there really is no consistent inside scoring on this team. Elton Brand seems to be relying more and more on a game that consists of 10-15 foot jumpers. Hawes prefers to face the basket and is  a very good passer from outside the lane and newly acquired Darius Songaila also is a nice outside shooter. Besides Speights, who has to improve his defense to get any significant time, there is no real inside presence.

That problem could be negated should the outside shooting hold up. But that's a scary way to run an offense.

On another note, it is really eye-opening how good Jrue Holiday appears to be. He plays at a pace that just keeps defenders confused, with a great combination of quickness and speed. When he drives to the hole, he is strong enough to finish in traffic and after contact and when he does pass, he usually makes the right decision. He is really, really good.

Rookie Evan Turner has mostly been playing the point with the second unit, with Lou Williams the two guard. Tonight, Turner was matched up with Iguodala in a scrimmage and hit three jumpers and played well with the ball in his hands. Still, the team drafted him to be an off-guard. It will be interesting to see how much time he gets at that position in the preseason, which opens Tuesday against the Nets in Roanoke, Va.

Predicted starting lineup as of now is: Holiday, Iguodala at the shooting guard, Young at small forward, Brand at power forward and Hawes at center.

Bob Cooney
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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