The Sixers Scoop/Jack McCaffery
NEW ORLEANS --- Already down one
center, 76ers coach Doug Collins is concerned that his troubles at
the position could prove to be twice as deep.
Due to the calf injury that he'd
battled in training camp and which caused him to leave the last game
against the Knicks early, Kwame Brown did not play Wednesday against
the New Orleans Hornets. Also, Collins said, the 11-year veteran was
unlikely to play Friday in Boston.
“Any time you have a big guy like
that who has a calf the size of a softball even when he is healthy,
you worry about him,” Collins said. “He is a heavily muscled guy.
Are we worried about that? Yes.”
The Sixers are playing without Andrew
Bynum, who has been working to return from sore knees. They were
hoping the 6-11 Brown could blunt the loss, but he has played just 11
minutes over the first three games, all in a 110-88 loss Monday to
the New York Knicks.
“You look at our team right now with
no Andrew and no Kwame and we are small,” Collins said. “We are a
small front line. Now you are asking Thad Young to play the four. You
are playing Dorell Wright some at the four. You are playing Damien
Wilkins at the four.”
For those reasons, Collins has been
hoping 6-10 rookie Arnett Moultrie can become a factor. Moultrie has
played only in the Monday loss to New York.
“We need to get Arnett ready,”
Collins said. “He needs to be ready to play for us.”
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Pat Riley. Don Nelson. Gregg Popovich.
Mike D'Antoni. Doc Rivers. John MacLeod. At one time, Monty Williams
played for and learned from them all.
Then, there was his one season as a
76er, abbreviated by a knee injury, when he soaked up as practical
That's when the New Orleans Hornets
head coach watched as Larry Brown mined the most from Allen Iverson.
“Allen, to me --- and he'd be the
first one to admit it --- didn't make the right decisions all the
time,” Williams said. “But he always struck me as someone who was
the proverbial guy who would take his shirt off his back and give it
to you. And that's the thing that was eye-opening. He was the most
talented person I have ever been around. He could sing. He could
dance. Obviously, he could play basketball. He could imitate guys. He
could draw. And he was really engaging in his conversations.
“So the dynamic between he and Coach
Brown --- it was what it was. But I remember Allen as the most
talented person I have ever been around.”
Having been exposed to so many
brilliant basketball minds, Williams had his choice of coaching
styles. While layering Williams with heavy praise, Collins
characterized his philosophy as distinctly from the Riley template.
“Monty Williams cut his teeth
with the Knicks and the Spurs,” Collins said. “Any of those teams
with Pat Riley and any of those mentor-ships, they all have the
common theme: Keep that ball out of the paint. Keep it on one side of
the floor. Make the team shoot jump-shots to beat you.”
Williams insists, though, that his one
season as a Sixer was critical, too, to his coaching development.
“I got to play for Larry Brown, which
was something that I valued,” he said. “The things he taught me
as a player, I have tried to implement as a coach.
“And I did value that time there. It
was unfortunate that I blew my knee out and couldn't play like I
wanted to. But the knowledge of that fan base is second to none.
Their passion --- and brashness --- is also second to none.
“Obviously, it is a great city. I
love the history of the city. My wife (Ingrid) and I had a great time
getting out there a little bit. Being from D.C., it was so close to
home. I met a lot of Eagles and got to know a few of those guys. So
it was a cool time, unfortunate for me health-wise. But I did have a
Williams played 21 games for the
2002-2003 Sixers, starting twice and averaging 4.4 points.
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The Sixers were without Jason
Richardson Wednesday. The shooting guard is recovering from an ankle
After a morning shoot-around, which was
closed to the media, Richardson said he was “getting better” and
that he'd experienced no swelling.
Just the same, Collins is not expecting
Richardson or Brown to play Friday in Boston.
“Kwame, probably not,” Collins
said. “J-Rich? My guess would be no right now. He is getting a lot
better. But we miss him. We miss his toughness, his energy, his
shooting. That's a big loss.”
The Sixers have lost their last three
regular-season games in Boston, dating to Dec. 18, 2009. They did
defeat the Celtics in the Garden, 82-81, in Game 2 of the Eastern
Conference semifinals last May.
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From the flat start to the Sixers'
season, Collins was able to identify a positive: Thad Young.
“He's played great,” Collins said.
“He has been sprinting down the floor, giving us speed on the open
court, ducking into the paint and being very active. He has done a
great job with that. Thad has been fantastic. He has been a leader
for us. I am really, really happy with him.”
After three games, Young had averaged
34 minutes, 14.3 points and seven rebounds.
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The Hornets Wednesday were without
heralded rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. Davis was the No. 1
player selected overall in the last draft. Rivers was the 10th
Davis has a slight concussion. Rivers
has a sprained left index finger.
Following the loss of Davis, Williams
was fined $25,000 by the NBA for comments critical of the league's
“Now, they treat everybody like they
have white gloves and pink drawers and it's getting old,” he had
said. “It's just the way the league is now. It's a man's game.
They're treating these guys like they're 5 years old.”
After a morning practice Wednesday,
Williams was quoted as saying, “What I said was inappropriate and
you have to deal with the consequences.”
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Neither Collins nor a Sixers spokesman
offered much of an update on Bynum. Collins did insist, however, that
the center is, “getting better.”