He isn't the Elton Brand most 76ers fans thought they were getting.

He isn't the 20-point, 10-rebound power forward that is leading them to the glory-filled promised land.

But through 27 games this season, Brand has been much better than he's ever been as a Sixer, a guy providing reliable scoring and a bruising inside presence for a team that is playing much better than expected.

This season, Brand is averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and is shooting 51.3 percent from the floor. Excluding the year he played only eight games and tore his Achilles tendon, those are Brand's highest numbers since the 2006-07 season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Brand signed with the Sixers in July of 2008 for about $80 million. He missed all but 26 games of the subsequent season with a shoulder injury.

The Sixers practiced in Chicago on Monday and play at the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. The Sixers, 11-16, are 8-3 in their previous 11 games, a stretch that could be Brand's most successful with the franchise.

"I have gotten healthy and he is calling my number and calling the plays that I can be effective in: pick and pops, rolling to the basket, and putting me in position to succeed," Brand said of Sixers coach Doug Collins. "It's a lot of fun."

During Saturday's 97-89 win over the Orlando Magic, Brand finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds. After the game, Brand explained how he approached the second half of the game - in light of the team coming off of Friday night's fourth-quarter letdown against the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I was disappointed in myself and my aggressiveness [against the Lakers]," Brand said. "I wanted to be aggressive once the game got close."

Collins called Brand his "warhorse" and explained how he has tried to put Brand in better positions on the floor, specifically trying to free Brand for the midrange jump shot he's nearly perfected.

"One thing I've told our guys is that if you're playing well, I'm going to leave you out there," Collins said on Saturday.

Last season, playing time was a chief concern for Brand. He was shuffled between the starting lineup and the bench, starting only 57 of the 76 games he was healthy. Brand averaged 30.2 minutes a game, the lowest total of his 12 NBA seasons.

This season, Brand is playing 34.1 minutes a game.

"We are more of a veteran-laden team than what I signed up for," Brand said, pointing to the added experience of teammates like Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, and Thaddeus Young. "But I think we are positioned to try and go forward to the playoffs. Injuries happen, but this is a talented team that I am happy to be a part of."

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.