Old pro Carl Landry gets few chances with Sixers

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Detroit Pistons center Joel Anthony (50) looks to pass around Philadelphia 76ers forward Carl Landry (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich.

WASHINGTON - Carl Landry is a casualty of the 76ers' youth movement and tanking approach.

The nine-year veteran is one of the most effective players on the roster. He's making a team-best 57.5 percent of his shots from the field. Whether it's scoring, setting picks or playing defense, the 6-foot-9, 248-pounder almost always provides a spark when his number is called.

However, the 32-year-old's number is rarely called as the Sixers concentrate on developing second-year center Nerlens Noel, 21, rookie power forward Jahlil Okafor, 20, and second-year reserve power forward Jerami Grant, 21.

Rookie power forward Richaun Holmes, 22, sees some time on those occasions when minutes are available.

So Landry is basically the biggest unofficial cheerleader for the NBA's worst team, even though his services could boost the Sixers' chances to win. They fell to 8-52 Monday after a road loss to the Washington Wizards, becoming the first NBA team eliminated from the playoffs. They have lost nine straight games and 13 of their last 14 heading into their matchup Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets at the Wells Fargo Center.

But Landry is far from complaining about his role.

The Milwaukee native is usually the first player off the bench to greet teammates walking off the court. He coaches them up during timeouts.

Always mentally in the game, he has been seen jumping out his seat after spectacular plays, urging his teammates on during critical stretches of games.

"He's a great professional player," said Elton Brand, another veteran power forward. ". . . He's there every day, never sulks. He's a total pro. He just never gets the opportunity, and when he does, he plays great. Offense, defense, he plays great."

The loss on Monday was a prime example.

Grant got the start at power forward when Okafor missed the game with a bruised right shin. Noel picked up two early fouls and Holmes came in for the center with 4 minutes, 9 seconds into the contest. Without many options, coach Brett Brown inserted Landry with 4:52 left in the first quarter to give Grant a breather.

After getting his first shot blocked, Landry went on to make three of his remaining four field goals in the quarter to score nine points. He scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Landry made 6 of 8 shots in 15:02.

"I'm staying ready," said Landry, who has averaged 6.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 11.4 minutes in 18 appearances. "A lot of the stuff that I do, obviously, you guys don't see it. I'm at the gym every day taking care of my body, working with Elton, working with Kendall [Marshall] and the other guys who don't play, and they are pushing me.

"You never know when your number is going to get called."

The Sixers acquired Landry in a trade with the Sacramento Kings in July. The move was viewed as a salary dump for the Kings. There was a belief that the Sixers would release, trade or buy Landry out of his contract before the start of the season.

But he remained and missed the first 30 games while rehabilitating his right wrist. Landry saw action in 11 of 13 games after he was cleared to play. Since then, he has played in only seven of the last 17 games. Things would surely be different if the Sixers weren't in pursuit of the league's worst record.

"I just want to stay in this league as long as possible," said Landry, who has averaged 10.7 points in his career. "I know my role. I've got to be the vet guy that comes and gives knowledge that's always positive."

Pollack tribute

The Sixers will honor the late team statistician Harvey Pollack with a tribute at Wednesday's game. Pollack died on June 23. They will honor him on the 54th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game with the Philadelphia Warriors. Back then, Pollack was the Warriors' head of media relations.

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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