When the 76ers play at the New Jersey Nets tonight, the offense you see won't be an altered one, just one that has been tweaked a little bit. It's not like the Eagles committing to the run, more like showing different passing routes.
On Monday, coach Doug Collins said that Andre Iguodala would be his new "point forward," a position that Grant Hill manned almost to perfection when he and Collins were player/coach in Detroit.
It was a hot topic when practice concluded yesterday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, though Collins didn't think it should have been.
"Everybody's making a big to-do about this like there's going to be role-changing or whatever," Collins said before the team loaded up on two buses to head to North Jersey in an effort to beat the snow/ice/sleet. "We run our offense where everybody plays off the ball. We don't have an offense where one guy is going to dominate. Within our offense, those guys have been interchangeable all year long. When I say this, it isn't something that we're doing for the first time, we're just going to do more of it. It's not like some big change."
The new wrinkle is designed to do two things. One, it will enable Iguodala to be in a favorable matchup away from the basket with small forwards, and it will allow Jrue Holiday to work without the basketball a little bit. Only in his second season, Holiday has struggled at times with the ball in his hands late in games. He also knows how to play without the ball in his hands, as he was a "two" guard in his lone season at UCLA before entering the draft.
"It means I can spot up in the corner and that's my favorite place to shoot," Holiday said. "It takes a lot of pressure off of me, it helps me out. I can still be a playmaker off the ball."
Yesterday's practice covered the new looks the Sixers will give opponents, starting tonight with the Nets.
"We moved a lot of guys around," said Collins. "I thought we had a great practice today. I was really happy. It's really the first practice we've really had since Christmas. Our guys were good, they were sharp, we got a lot accomplished. We got a good offensive segment in, a good defensive segment, a different combination of guys playing up [at the point]. We had Dre at the top of the floor, Lou [Williams], Jrue, Evan [Turner]. We switched and mixed and matched. We did it with a lot of different guys today and I was very happy."
Early in the season Collins had success when he put Iguodala at the point on occasions. With his size and passing skills, Iguodala was able to get the ball to places a little more easily than Holiday. The experiment kind of went away when Iguodala missed 12 games with an Achilles' injury. Now just about fully healthy, Collins wants to give Iguodala another shot at it.
"It's what Grant Hill did with me," the coach said. "It's basically, he's your point guard but being played by a small forward. There's not a lot of small forwards in this league who can play against that kind of quickness [of Iguodala], so when you match him up out there like that he gives you an advantage. Like the other day with Carmelo Anthony guarding him, now you've got Carmelo Anthony defending screen and rolls. And a lot of threes [small forwards] don't have to face that kind of action. There will be a lot of times where they'll be the guys [covering players] coming off the screens or setting the screens. Now suddenly they've got guys who are handling the ball so it will be a nice little wrinkle for us."
Jrue's All-Star weekend
The NBA announced yesterday that Jrue Holiday is one of the 18 players selected for the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie-Sophomore game that will be held in Los Angeles on Feb. 18.
Holiday will be joined on the sophomore team by, among others, Tyreke Evans, last season's rookie of the year.
Sixers rookie Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick, was not selected to play on the rookie team, which is highlighted by Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. New Jersey's Derrick Favors, Minnesota's Wesley Johnson and Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins, who went third, fourth and fifth in the draft, were also selected. San Antonio's Gary Neal, who spent two seasons playing at La Salle before transferring to Towson, also will compete for the sophomore team.
The NBA All-Star game will be held on Sunday, Feb. 20 at the Staples Center.
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