Collins has been a nice change of pace from the Eddie Jordan debacle of last season. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for February. Collins guided the Sixers to a 9-3 record and their best month in eight years. It was their best month since going 8-2 in February of 2003. Collins has done an outstanding job in his season as head coach. Last season was very depressing for Sixers fans as they watched Eddie Jordan in the direction of the lottery. It wasn’t a total loss as they were able to draft Evan Turner with the #2 overall pick.
Collins has the Sixers playing well and playing above .500 basketball. The Sixers haven’t had a winning season since going 43-39 during the 2004-2005 season under Jim O’Brien. Collins preaches hard work and determination to his players. He has been around the game of basketball his whole life and it clearly shows. He was a four-time NBA All Star during his playing days. He is just a refreshing basketball mind in this city and has coached the Sixers to a winning record. He is showing that Ed Stefanski made the right hire this time around.
The Golden State Warriors reportedly called the Sixers about Andre Iguodala
in the hopes of making a trade. The Warriors have also called teams about Danny Granger, Nene, and LaMarcus Aldridge among others. They were turned down by the Sixers who don’t seem like they are going to make a big move before Thursday’s trade deadline.
The only Warriors I’d be interested in would be Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis. Obviously the Warriors wouldn’t be interested in trading Ellis who averages 25.3 points-per-game. If the Sixers truly want to ship out Iguodala, I think they could get a more significant return from another team. I’ve been behind trading him all along because I just don’t he fits with this team. He has stunted Evan Turner’s minutes and ability to grow as a basketball player. I’d be very comfortable with Thaddeus Young taking Iguodala’s spot in the starting lineup. If a trade is made, a center would be a huge help for the Sixers since the Spencer Hawes experiment has clearly failed.
Lou Williams has been on a tear lately and has arguably the Sixers' best player. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
The Philadelphia 76ers host the surprising New York Knicks tonight and it is a very big game. The Knicks currently are in 6th place in the Eastern conference with a record of 25-23 and are three games ahead of the Sixers (23-25). The Sixers have been playing great basketball as of late, winning eight of their last 11 games. They are coming off of a 106-92 victory against the New Jersey Nets in which Jrue Holiday recorded his first career triple-double. Guard Lou Williams also played very well, scoring 26 points. Williams has been arguably the Sixers’ best player as of late. He is averaging 17.4 points-per-game off the bench over the last 10 games. Holiday and Williams will have to continue to play well if the Sixers want to keep on their winning ways.
As for the Knicks, these aren’t the Knicks that we’ve seen over the last couple of years. They’ve been known as the laughing-stock of the NBA. The Knicks were one of the teams that were a serious player for superstar LeBron James but ended up losing out to that team from South Beach. They did add Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton which have paid immediate dividends. Stoudemire is putting up MVP-type numbers in New York City this year. He is averaging 26.1 points-per-game and almost nine rebounds per contest this year. Stoudemire has carried the Knicks to a winning record and the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Felton is looking to be the point guard that they have been searching for. After failed experiments with players like Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson, Felton is quietly having a very good season, averaging 17.9 points-per-game and nearly nine assists per game. These are two players that the Sixers need to account for at all times if they want to win these two games against their neighbors from New York.
One thing that I would like to see is Doug Collins playing Mareese Speights more at center over Spencer Hawes. Hawes has little offensive game and doesn’t played tough-nosed defense or block many shots. Sure Speights doesn’t give you very much at the defensive end but his offensive skill-set is clearly superior to Hawes. Speights can put up some nice numbers on the offensive end when he is given the chance. I would like to see Speights starting once in a while. It’s clear what Hawes gives you and that sure isn’t much.
Depth coming at power forward. (Matthew Putney/Courier Photo Editor)
On Thursday the Philadelphia 76ers traded guard Willie Green and forward Jason Smith to the New Orleans Hornets for forwards Darius Songalia and Craig Brackins. Songalia is a seven-year pro that has bounced around from team to team. Last season he averaged 7.2 points per game and 3.1 rebounds per game. Brackins was a first round pick (#21 overall) this season from Iowa State. New 76ers president Rod Thorn had targeted Brackins in the draft this season and was finally able to acquire him.
This was a good move for the 76ers. Green never really had a solid place on this team. He is simply just a backup shooting guard which are a dime-a-dozen in the NBA. Smith was a former first round pick that never quite lived up to his billing. Smith was plagued by injuries. But even when healthy, he wasn’t more than a 10 minute-a-game player off the bench. Songalia is an expiring contract making $4.8 million this season. He will provide the 76ers with some depth at the forward position. Brackins is a very intriguing young player. He was named to the All Big 12 Second-Team at Iowa State this season averaging 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Brackins started all 32 games for the Cyclones and has proved to be very durable over his college career. He came out of the draft as a junior so this will not be a project for the 76ers.
This is viewed as a simple addition by subtraction move. It’s good to see the Hornets taking Green of the 76ers’ hands. I also think that Brackins could be a nice young player. He provides some depth at the forward position and is very athletic. Hopefully he will challenge Mareese Speights for the premiere backup power forward role. This is also a good move because the 76ers need to start exploring their future at the power forward position. Elton Brand looks to be a bust and Speights has yet to prove that he can play a lick of defense. The Sixers have made some interesting moves this offseason and finally look to be moving in the right direction. With the acquisition of Spencer Hawes and the drafting Evan Turner, the 76ers are clearly rebuilding. They could even provide a little excitement for this basketball team. This season could be a stepping stone in the 76ers’ quest to get back in the yearly playoff picture.