Maalik Wayns has seen much more recent playing time for the the 76ers rookie point guard hopes it is a steady pattern.
One thing for sure is that Wayns says he is now feeling 100 percent, which wasn’t the case in the beginning of the season. He suffered a head injury during the final preseason game, Oct. 22 against the New York Knicks in Syracuse.
“I thought that head injury took more out of him than we thought,” Sixers coach Doug Collins following Thursday’s practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Wayns has been especially productive in the last two games. He scored seven points in seven minutes during Sunday’s 104-101 win over Phoenix. In Tuesday’s win 100-98 over Dallas, Wayns scored 10 points in 13 minutes.
Wayns said he didn’t start feeling 100 percent until less than two weeks ago.
“I wasn’t myself for a while and was getting headaches sometimes,” he said.
He has naturally been encouraged by his recent playing time.
“The last two games I have tried to make the most of my minutes and my opportunities,” he said.
And while in there, Wayns is not expected to be shy offensively. The last two games he has 15 field goal attempts in 20 minutes.
“What I like is that if he knows he has a shot he shoots it,” Collins said. “He has taken 15 shots the last two games which I like.”
So does Wayns.
“Coach says all the time if I have a good shot to take it,” Wayns said. “He has the ultimate confidence in me.”
Wayns says it was frustrating when he was only seeing mainly mop-up time, but he said he worked hard with the assistant coach Aaron McKie, refining his game.
Collins values players with toughness, a trait he associates with Wayns. The Sixers coach says that Wayns plays with courage, a badge of honor for the rookie.
“I want to go out there and throw my body around against players who are three times biggher than me, guard guys bigger than me,” Wayns said. “I have no fear.”
Of course nothing is assured for an extended time so Wayns has to keep producing to earn minutes. Collins says Wayns has to become a more accomplished on-ball defender.
Collins also likes the speed that Wayns provides in the open court and his ability to hit three-pointers, especially early in the shot clock.
“We want to keep him going the right direction,” Collins said, “but I like the way he is going.”
Contact Marc Narducci at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sjnard on Twitter.