When the Sixers traded star-crossed center Samuel Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings, a lot of fans were happy just to see the $13.4 million he was owed on the final year of his contract be paid by somebody else.

I was a little more excited about the fact that the Sixers had acquired center Spencer Hawes in return. I thought it was worth the $14 million Andres Nocioni, who had to be included to make the deal work, was owed over the two following seasons just to get a chance to see if the 7-foot-1 Hawes might flourish with a change of scenery.

Hawes didn't look like the second-coming of Dwight Howard with the Kings, but he was a double-digit scorer in two of his first three seasons.

And he was only 22 years old.

Hawes was one of the top recruits in the nation when he signed with the University of Washington and in his one season as a Huskie, he set a freshmen scoring records by averaging 14.9 points and 1.7 blocks.

No, he was not ready for the NBA when entered the 2007 Draft, but outside of LeBron James, how many teenagers were NBA-ready when they were drafted.

Hawes, especially since he was a big man, required development, which required patience, which can be in short supply for a player who is selected 10th overall.

To be honest, Hawes didn't exactly hit the floor running with the Sixers, but I think a lot of people forgot that he missed a lot of time in training camp and the preseason nursing a sore back. It affected him during the first part of the season.

But lately, since he's got his conditioning back, Hawes has shown flashes that the Sixers might have made a shrewd deal.

After having just one double-digit scoring games in the first 20 games, Hawes has had five in the last seven.

Over the past 10 games, Hawes has averaged 10.6 points and the Sixers have gone 7-3. Hawes has a nice jump shot and is starting to pull defenders away from the basket to guard him.

If Hawes continues to move toward that upside that made him a lottery pick, the Sixers just may have found that elusive legitimate big man they've been forever searching for.