It will be like riding a bike for new 76ers coach Doug Collins in Roanoke, Va., tonight when he coaches his first NBA game since April 16, 2003, when his Washington Wizards lost in Philadelphia.

And for the young players, such as rookie Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday, it will be a measurement of where they are.

Collins won't necessarily be in regular-season mode; instead, looking at how players handle different situations will be more important than beating the New Jersey Nets. But Collins is excited to get a better idea of the hand he has been dealt on a team that has undergone serious changes from last season.

"I really feel the same," Collins said when asked whether coaching now could differ from his previous foray. "I've really done a lot more delegating to my assistant coaches, and they've done a great job in practice. What's going to be exciting for me [tonight] is just to see where we are. When you play in practice every day, guys know the plays. On the one side, you're being defensive, because they know the plays on the other side, you know what they're doing, too. So it's going to be good to play against a team where we haven't played against their plays yet, so we'll see how we defend and how we can run our offense and execute."

The second-year Holiday is the team's starting point guard, a true star in the making. Turner is still trying to find his way, and position, with a team looking to improve vastly over last season.

"I'm building on the fact that I thought Jrue had such a great finish last year," Collins said. "He's had a great summer. I just want him to play and run the team. I don't want him to think it's all on him. We're not going to be a team that just has one guy pound the ball. We want the ball moving."

Saturday, the team held a scrimmage open to season ticketholders. Collins wasn't very satisfied with the effort, and neither was Holiday. "He didn't have a good scrimmage the other night," Collins said, "and he texted me and said, 'Sorry about tonight, coach. I'll be better tomorrow.' "

Yesterday, Holiday took it easy in practice, as Collins said he had been under the weather. Turner ran the point for the first team in a 12-minute scrimmage to end practice. He hit a three-pointer from the top of the key, accidentally threw in another three on a pass attempt and hit a driving, pull-up jumper. Though the hope is that he and Holiday will form a strong backcourt for years to come, right now, Turner will get most of his minutes with the ball in his hands.

"It's all a whirlwind, to tell you the truth," Turner said after yesterday's practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "I don't even know [which position he prefers]. I just like to be able to make plays and help my teammates out. I'm just concerned with learning the system."

For now, he'll be doing it backing up Holiday, at the point.

"That's where he's comfortable," Collins said.

Six shots

Doug Collins wasn't sure who will dress tonight, but said Tony Battie (right knee synovitis) and Andres Nocioni (sprained left ankle) will not be in uniform. Collins said the team hopes Nocioni will be cleared by Friday to start scrimmaging . . . The Sixers are adding veteran NBA assistant coach and scout Tom Sterner to their staff as a scout . . . Collins said no one would play more than 24 minutes tonight . . . The team will play the Boston Celtics tomorrow night in Manchester, N.H.

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