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76ers Ball Pit: Wednesday's Guests, Danilo Gallinari and the East Dillon Lions

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It's that time again. The 76ers Ball Pit has been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized (no thanks to Tony Battie who left his under garments in it) and is back for another day.

Can you believe it? One week from today, the Sixers start their 2010-2011 campaign against the Miami Heat. It's crept up so quickly on us, mostly because nobody has really gotten to witness the pre-season games. But before that happens, the Sixers will have one more pre-season battle tonight against the Knicks. Shockingly, it's on Comcast (please refrain from rioting out of pure elation)!

But enough about the game tonight, let's take our shoes off and hop into the ball pit! Today in the links we'll address the Carmelo to Knicks rumor and how it effects the Sixers, Chris Quinn, Doug Collins' health, where the Sixers stand in the Eastern Conference, and defensive lapses.

Your destiny (or density) awaits you after the jump.

Coach Curry, Kapono Not Happy with Defense: CSN Philly

"As assistant coaches we have been telling the guys relaying messages for coach," said Curry. "He is getting a look at everybody, but you have to play defense to stay on the court. Aaron [McKie] and I both played for coach, so we know. He is going to stick to that; he may be looking at different combinations in the preseason but guys can’t let their offense dictate how they play defense. I thought we started off playing really soft and when you play one of Byron’s [Scott] team’s soft they get into a rhythm offensively. That’s what happens and we let them dictate everything."

"We haven’t really been putting forth the effort," Kapono conceded. "I’ll be the first to say it. We are just not getting the job done. We do it for spurts. We played pretty well first quarter. We played alright for first seven minutes of the second and then the last seven minutes they scored 33 points. They scored as many points in a third of the time. Right now we are just not a focused team."

Iguodala Seems to Like Kapono with Him on the Court

"Kapono being out there definitely helps," Iguodala acknowledged of his ability to get to the line. "When you have a shooter out there people helping out of the paint and my shot fakes were there today. I was able to draw fouls and we were swinging the ball. When we play fundamentally sound it helps." 

Check out the highlights from the pre-season match-up with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Update on Coach Collins' Health: Philadelphia Inquirer

"He had a spill this summer out in Arizona, and I think he got a concussion from it," said Collins' son, Chris, an assistant coach at Duke University. "And since then, he's had some dizzy spells."

Sixers president Rod Thorn said the team hopes that Collins' absence will be brief. No decision had been made on Collins' availability for Wednesday night's preseason finale against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center.

"They just came in and said he's flying back to take a few tests - that's about it," Young said. "They didn't tell us any more than that; they didn't want us to worry."

Collins' Health Update Part II: Philadelphia Daily News

"Mo Speights actually noticed something, he's very observant," said forward Elton Brand. "When we saw coach [yesterday] morning, he kept saying 'What's wrong with coach? He looks sick or something.' "

"Evidently he's been having some headaches and a little vertigo. I didn't notice it and not being a doctor . . . " said Thorn.

"Obviously, in the short term, the loss of any one person, a great player or a great coach like Doug, the impact will be minimal," said ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy. "But over the long haul, if you lose somebody of that stature it's a major thing. Thankfully, it's a preseason game." 

Rod Thorn has kind words for Evan Turner: Cleveland Plain Dealer

"He's a wonderful kid, number one. He works as hard if not harder than anybody on our team, comes early and stays late. He needs to improve as a shooter. But otherwise he's done fine. He's a good player. He just knows how to play," Thorn said.

Asked the biggest differences between the NBA and college basketball, Turner said, "The players are 10 times better and the game is super-quick." 

Chris Quinn Looks to Make Final Roster Anyway Possible: Philadelphia Daily News

Quinn is fighting an uphill battle to make the team. Jrue Holiday is cemented as the team's starting point guard, and Collins said he envisions him playing 35 minutes a night. Rookie Evan Turner, who will start at the point tonight, can play both guard spots, as can Lou Williams.

"It's just a matter of me continuing to play hard and taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves," said the 6-2 Quinn, who spent three seasons in Miami and last year in New Jersey. "I'm just trying to play hard and compete and help the team win any way I can. It's getting down to the real deal now, so it's important for the team to get ready for that."

"I've been a starter for games, I've been the 15th guy. The only thing I can do is control what I can control. The 76ers, as an organization, are headed in the right direction and I'd love to be a part of that." 

Collins on Quinn:

"We're going to see what the numbers are. Our biggest concern right now is we have 14 and we have to take a look and see what we're going to have to do. Do we need more big guys? Are we going to keep another point guard? But he's been great, I couldn't ask for anything more from him."

Melo Talk - What Could it Mean for Sixers to be the Third Team in Melo to Knicks Swap: Depressed Fan

(1) The player the Nuggets would prefer is Andre Iguodala. Their interest in AI9 has been reported a couple of times, now. (2) The package the Sixers would get in return would include Danilo Gallinari.

One variation would have JR Smith and Chris Anderson joining Danilo in Philly. Another would see Anthony Randolph coming to Philly with Danilo.

Bottom line, any deal centered around Gallinari would serve a couple of purposes for the Sixers: (1) They'd add a top-notch shooter to their perimeter group of Jrue and Turner. A shooter who is only 22 and contributes in other areas besides just shooting (plus, he rarely takes long twos, which I like). (2) The team would be worse this season, meaning a higher draft pick, plus cap space sooner.

The downside: I don't see anyway the Sixers would wind up with an extra draft pick that has any value in the deal, and Anthony Randolph is probably the most-talented big who could possibly be included. In my mind, he isn't exactly a game-changer. 

Eastern Conference Power Rankings: Chicago Now

Group 4: Bad

10. Indiana Pacers

11. Philadelphia 76ers

12. Detroit Pistons

13. New Jersey Nets

Group 4's awful, but the Pacers and Sixers have the talent to make trouble from time to time.  

Completely Un-Sixer-Related News of the Day: 'Friday Night Lights' Premieres in One Week, New Trailer Released

Only one week until we get to head back to Dillon, TX and check in with those East Dillon Lions. Maybe JD McCoy will get hit by a oncoming old-folks home tour bus this season. One can only hope.

If you have Direct TV, I'm extremely jealous of you.  Either I have to find the episode in terrible quality on the internet or wait until the summer when NBC will air it.  Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!