Although he has yet to play more than seven minutes in a game this season, 76ers rookie Arnett Moultrie is likely to hear his name called more often, especially if the team's big men continue to be inconsistent.
Moultrie has not played more because coach Doug Collins trusts his veterans. However, Collins has spoken highly of Moultrie, a 6-foot-10 power forward acquired in a draft-night trade with Miami. Moultrie was the 27th overall pick by the Heat.
"If we were in a situation right now where we were just playing and trying to develop young players, he'd be out there and probably getting 20-25 minutes a night," Collins said Wednesday. "We're trying to win. To do that, you have to go out and use your experienced guys."
Moultrie was slowed for three months by a sprained left ankle and did not scrimmage with the team until September. He said he is ready to go.
"I have to take advantage of every opportunity," Moultrie said.
Collins constantly texts his players. So what has been the coach's message to Moultrie, who is getting piecemeal minutes so far?
"He tells me to make sure I stay motivated, don't get discouraged, and stay focused," Moultrie said. "I just let him know that I'm going to continue to work hard and be patient.
"Obviously I don't want to see my teammates struggle like this," Moultrie added, "but at the same time it's a business. I've got to be ready when my name is called."
A reluctant center
Neither Collins nor forward Thaddeus Young wants to see the forward spending much time at center. In the team's loss to Milwaukee on Monday, Young spent about 20 minutes there.
"If I have to do it for the team, I will," Young said through a grin that indicated he felt otherwise. "But when we went small that was my job."
Young finished with 11 points and seven rebounds against the Bucks.