Fresh off our own "Remember the Titans" style mile-run (Derek won, Mike finished last because he wanted to run backwards, Jordan quit halfway through becuase he was distracted by an ice cream truck, and I complained of a sore hip the whole time) to prepare for our own blogging training camp, we get back into the happenings at the more interesting Sixers camp.
Today's tidbits concern an observant Coach Collins, fan confidence surveys, Spency-Wency-Puddin-Pie's first practice, Evan Turner's pysche (yes, I used that specific word on purpose), Andre "Trump" Iguodala, and Edward Elizabeth Jordan sightings.
Yesterday, Kate Fagan reported that Thaddeus Young left practice with a "very mild right quad strain." He will practice today.
According to the Sixers official twitter feed, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and Reggie Miller are in attendance at practice today. Since Miller was touting Evan Turner as the best player in the draft since day one, I expect he's there to check up on his investment. The only reason I can think of for Boeheim to be there is to check on Andre after their FIBA adventures in Turkey.
Get the news after the hop-skip-and-a-jump before Willie Green's knee nixes the post.
Few coaches do as much observational work than Collins. When the players conducted a mile run Monday morning, Collins was watching and taking mental notes.
"You can learn a lot," Collins said after the first half of training camp’s two-part workout. "In that mile run ... when they get close (to the finish), are they worried about just making their time, or do they want to win?"
Monday evening the coaching staff and players had dinner and Collins again took a moment to observe how his players mingled. After Collins "spoke a little bit," after dinner, the team leaders made a request. "They basically said, ‘Everybody get out of here, we as players want to get together and meet before we get started,’" Collins said. "And to me, that was positive."
On why Turner started out on 2nd team:
"I just want to mix and match right now," Collins said. " I think Evan is going to be comfortable with Lou Williams right now. If ‘Dre starts at (small forward) right now, that puts Thad and (Andres) Nocioni both on the bench to start to the game, and they are two of my better players. I can’t have two of my better players on the bench to start the game."
...in the NBA, usually when a team doesn't have a go-to guy, it just goes away in big moments. For his part, Collins is selling the all-for-one philosophy and like the foreman of an assembly line, his workers each have specific individual skills if not a great variety of them.
Iguodala won't be that guy for the Sixers, but Collins wants him to stop shooting from the perimeter, to concentrate on driving to the basket and getting fouled, and to dedicate himself to defense.
Anything the coach decides will be supported and that could include a harsh reshuffling of the minutes handed out to players who are accustomed to getting a lot of them. Once again, you look at the tenuous position of Iguodala, who doesn't really have one in this league, and wonder if he will be making the biggest sacrifices.
"He's been great. He's what you call ball-friendly. Teammates love to throw him the ball because he loves to pass. When he gets that ball in the post, guys cut. The thing that I like about him and that his teammates like about him is that he is ball-friendly," said Collins.
"Spencer thrives in structure. The more structure there is, he has such a good feel for the game. I love that he's been on another team before. I think with all big guys, especially young big guys, they thrive in that second home."
"I also think a change of scenery and a coach like Doug Collins can help him. You can see he has a high IQ for the game. From an offensive standpoint, he is what we need in that he can run the floor and is an excellent passer. Defensively, he'll have to improve a bit," Stefanski said.
"I think that the way it [the system] uses the bigs, as playmakers more than just screen players works. I think a lot of times, the way it is in the NBA, you can kind of get lost down there. The times that we put the ball in the bigs' hands it allows the guards to play off us as much as we can play off the guards and that makes it incredibly difficult to scout and difficult to stop," Hawes said.
As the No. 2 overall pick, there is obvious pressure on Turner to perform, and Collins would really like to take that pressure off him.
"For Evan, his mind gets clouded," Collins explained. "He starts thinking and he is so hard on himself that he gets frustrated. For me I have to limit the amount of frustration, and it doesn’t seep into what he is doing so that he can be who we know who he can be."
Having Young run with the first team as a small forward did not come as a surprise to Young; as a matter of fact he was expecting it.
"They have been telling me to prepare for playing the three for probably two weeks now and that’s really all I have been doing, preparing and getting ready for training camp. We started off with the mile and now here we are." Young said.
When those who said the Sixers were their favorite team in the city were asked their expectations for Collins, who played all eight of his NBA seasons with the Sixers, 41 percent said they were optimistic and 26 percent said they were very optimistic. Another 28 percent said they will take a wait-and-see approach. Only 3 percent said they were pessimistic and an additional 3 percent said they were very pessimistic.
Asked their view about Brand's future, 41 percent said they think he will improve upon last season, when he averaged 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds. Thirty-one percent said they think Brand will be the same as last year, while 28 percent said they think his time has come and gone.
Sixers fans remain not too pleased with general manager Ed Stefanski. When asked to evaluate his job performance, 42 percent said they were dissatisfied; 34 percent said they were very dissatisfied; 13 percent said they were neutral; and 10 percent were satisfied.
Clearly she's aware of our "Not a Podcast" series seeing as she's using the same live-chat software as us.
No word on whether he brought his chalkboard with him or not.
This would appear to be his first public appearance since being fired by the Sixers at the end of last season, although he interviewed for the coaching job at Rutgers.
In a surprise move, Electronic Arts announced it will delay the release of pro basketball simulation NBA Elite 11, originally slated to hit stores next week.
Moore did not indicate when Electronic Arts plans on releasing the game, but it appears it won't arrive this year. Owners of last year's NBA Live 10 will receive roster updates and other services throughout the 2010-11 season, Moore says.
As if EA needed to lose even more customers to 2K...