In recent weeks, 76ers forward Andres Nocioni has gradually moved from one end of the bench to the other.
First, Nocioni was part of the Sixers' starting lineup. Next, he was one of the team's first substitutes off the bench. Now, his minutes are usually in the single digits, if there are any at all.
The shift has very little to do with Nocioni's productivity but more to do with the improved play of forward Thaddeus Young and the need-to-evaluate status of rookie Evan Turner.
In 21 games played, Nocioni is averaging 7.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 43.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
On Sunday against the New Orleans Hornets, Nocioni earned his second DNP - Did Not Play, Coach's Decision - of the season.
After Monday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sixers coach Doug Collins said he's keeping open communication with all of his guys, explaining rotation decisions and stressing the importance of supporting whoever is on the court.
"The hardest thing about it is: Do you give two guys 10 minutes?" asked Collins. "And then guys aren't happy with 10 minutes. I told Noc after the game, I said, 'Noc, I'm sorry, Evan got 21 today and I just couldn't get you in the game. I didn't want to put you in the last 5 minutes of the game.' "
Nocioni is a seasoned professional, Collins said, and he deserves better than garbage time at the end of a blowout.
Asked if he would lean toward giving minutes to Turner over Nocioni, Collins admitted he would.
"I would probably lean that way," Collins said. "The thing about it is that probably Evan will get the first look. If he's not getting it done, I'll look at Noc. It's just hard. It's hard to juggle those minutes."
And it's become increasingly hard with the recent play of Young, whose off-the-bench scoring has solidified his place among Collins' seven core players.
"Thad is giving me that combo three, four [position], and Noc is a combo three, four," Collins said.
The road woes. Entering Tuesday night's game at the New Jersey Nets, the Sixers are 1-11 this season on the road. The dismal record is a combination of bad play and bad luck.
And after Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers will play eight consecutive road games.
Asked if he knew the team's exact road record, starting point guard Jrue Holiday said, "11-1? Something like that."
Immediately realizing his error, Holiday corrected himself.
"Or 1-11. There we go, the opposite of that. Coach has told us. And we all know. There are a lot of road games we should have won but we let slip away from us."
Back practicing. Rookie Craig Brackins, who spent five games and 10 days with the Springfield Armor of the NBA's Developmental League, practiced on Monday with the Sixers.
"He's got a little bounce to him," Collins said. "I think he knows he belongs here. He knows it's a really good experience for him, but I know he's glad to be home. Lou Williams, I think, talked about it before, when he went down and played and how humbling it is. You can't wait to get back and show that you want to stay up here and be up here forever."
In his five games with Springfield, Brackins averaged 17.2 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.
Sick. Center Tony Battie, suffering from the flu, did not practice on Monday but is expected to be available for Tuesday's game against the Nets.