LOS ANGELES - The rotation is the biggest question that 76ers coach Doug Collins still has about his team.
Before the Sixers' 89-85 loss at Portland on Saturday, Collins said that Royal Ivey will become a steady member in his rotation. He likes the toughness Ivey brings at the defensive end, particularly guarding the point guard the complete length of the floor.
What that means is that someone in the trio of Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright and Nick Young probably is going to see a dip in playing time.
"He [Ivey] is going to be used, he is going to be in our rotation," Collins said. "We missed him when he was hurt. He brings an energy and toughness that we have to have - his up-the-floor defense, his ability to make the open shot. What I try to do is, I don't play him as a point guard offensively. He guards the points but somebody else out there will handle the ball and get us out there into our offense. We need him. Jrue [Holiday] and Evan [Turner] are going to get the minutes. Now all of the sudden you have J-Rich, you have Swaggy [Nick Young] and you have Dorell and it's tough to play all three of those guys, especially if you are going to play Royal in the rotation.
"That's going to be tough for me because the hardest thing is when guys don't separate themselves, and we really haven't had separation," Collins continued. "If you look at it, their numbers are all so similar. What's happened is when a couple of them have played well, it's usually when we've had an injury. I don't have any answers and I woke up fretting about it today. I talked to my coaches about it. It's a tough situation. It really is.
"We've settled into a three-man rotation with our bigs, with Kwame [Brown] coming on and doing a great job for us [Friday], so I think he's in a great place. Dorell can play a little bit at that hybrid 'four' if we need him, but we're really trying to get a rotation just to get some consistency. With the injuries, we really haven't had a chance to do that.
"We need to find some consistency," Collins said. "When we get seven or eight guys playing well, we're a pretty good team. We have struggled to do that, for whatever reason."
Saturday, when their record fell to 14-17, the team had little consistency at the offensive end, basically relying on Holiday to carry the load. The point guard had 29 points, nine assists and nine rebounds. He also had seven turnovers, which gives an idea as to how often the ball was in his hands. That can be good and bad. The good is that he is proving to be the go-to scorer this organization has lacked for so very long. The bad is that many times on Saturday, other players seemed to be standing and watching while Holiday did his thing. Evan Turner, who scored just one point on four shots in Wednesday's win over Memphis, scored just four on seven shots Saturday.
"I don't worry about defenses anymore, I can get my shot off any time that I want," said Turner, who has totaled just 15 points and 15 rebounds in his past three games. "I'm trying to figure it out. If I knew, it would be different. I think I have to run in transition a little more and get back and rebound more and push it from there. The key right now is to let the game come to me."
The Sixers will have to find some kind of offensive consistency from everyone if they are to turn around a stretch of eight losses in 10 games.
"We are not a team that passes the ball and cuts hard," Collins said. "That's just not who we are. We have to do too much off the dribble and then we put too much pressure on Jrue. We're not a team that goes side-to-side with the ball. When we get chased off of our plays, we don't catch it in the right spots and then the ball ends up in the wrong hands and the [shot] clock rolls up on you."