Even though he’s 25-years-old Spencer Hawes is entering his seventh season, which qualifies as an older statesman on this young 76ers team.
Hawes, who returned to non-contract drills on Wednesday after twisting his right knee in drills on Monday, has some interesting observations as the Sixers prepare for a two-game trip to Europe, beginning with Sunday’s game against host Bilbao of Spain.
He says so many frontcourt players have been banged up that it has been hard to judge, but he sited the work of 6-foot-8, 260-pound Royce White.
“I think Royce has come in and made a good impression with his versatility,” Hawes said.
White’s story, about his fear of flying is well documented, but he was a first round pick last season with Houston and could be a player to watch for the Sixers.
Hawes also likes the work done by Thaddeus Young, who may be asked to be even more of a perimeter threat than in the past. Young has attempted just 34 three-point field goals over the previous three seasons.
“Thad looks good stretching his shot out, playing a little further out,” Hawes said.
This is all part of a plan to open up more space on the court.
“Coach (Brett Brown) is asking us big to space further out,” Hawes said. “It is going to be an adjustment period to it, but I think we have been receptive to the idea.”
That could mean even more three-point opportunities for Hawes, who was 31 for 87 (35.6 percent) from beyond the arc last year.
“I was shooting two’s earlier and coach gave me a hard time so I figured I better step back,” he said laughing.
Hawes has liked what he has seen of rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams. In the beginning of camp, Hawes said that MCW was “like a deer in headlights” but added virtually all first-year players are like that in the beginning.
“The last couple of days he has adjusted and slowed himself down and got back to playing with his strengths," Hawes said.
Hawes, a free agent after this season, has seemed to relish being among the leaders on the team. And he says Brown made a favorable impression in his first training camp.
“I have been impressed how hands on he is from the starting five to the last guy in camp,” Hawes said. “He is extremely focused on teaching everybody no matter their position or standing.”
Hawes says he is looking forward to the European trip, which concludes with Tuesday’s game in Manchester, England against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
He also expects to be cleared to play. “My knee feels good,” he said.
While training camp for any team provides positive vibes, Hawes understands the Sixers will experience their share of growing pains.
“It’s a work in progress the way we are trying to change the system here and style of play with getting up and down the court a little more,” he said. “There have been times it looked good and times it looked (bad) and you have to expect that.”