Jan 1, 2005, 12:08 AM EDT
The Sixers season starts tonight in South Philly against Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut, and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Birdman and I went down to the Wachovia Center on Saturday for an open practice for all season ticket holders. (I am not one) One side of the lower bowl was open and maybe half full. It was rather cool to see an NBA team practice. Mo Cheeks was miked up and you could hear him yelling at the players. Mo was noting repeatedly that they usually don’t look this bad. He even yelled at A.I. for cussing. It was all pretty humorous and entertaining. NBA players have to shoot for a chance to avoid doing suicides as well; this brought me back to high school basketball days.
Some observations I made: There are a lot of new faces. Steven Hunter will be starting tonight due to Samuel Dalembert‘s injury. Lee Nailon should be one of the new bench guys to see a lot of action. Louis Williams is quick. He and Iverson were talking some smack.
One of the coolest aspects of the day was some of the player interaction with the fans. On his way off the court, Iverson signed some autographs and actually took the jersey off of his back and gave it to a young fan. Chris Webber also gave the jersey off his back to a fan. Nice moves.
This paragraph from yesterday’s article by Phil Jasner gives a nice synopsis of the state of the Sixers coming into opening night:
Opening night tomorrow against the Milwaukee
Bucks is not projecting the way Cheeks and president/general manager
Billy King had anticipated. Starting center Samuel Dalembert, who
aggravated his right quadriceps strain in Thursday’s preseason finale
in San Antonio, is out for at least 10 to 14 days. Starting small
forward Kyle Korver hyperextended his left knee in Saturday’s open
practice at the Wachovia Center and was held out of yesterday’s
session, but Cheeks said, "I think he’ll be ready to play."
My thoughts on the coming season: It should be an exciting year. No one expects anything out of them, so if they play well and make a decent playoff run then fans should be happy. Andre Iguodala and Allen Iverson are two of the most exciting players in the game and watching them every night should be a treat. Will CWebb be able to perform at any level near his all star days? Will his knees hold up? In any event, the Sixers have some young talent and the A.I. duo should be fun to watch.
"I think we have more willing guys to get up
and play this type of defense than we did in Portland," he said. "It’s
what I wanted to play [there], but I think these guys are a lot more
willing. You also have, as I had in Portland, a couple of shot-blockers
The top 5; Denver (4.16), Indiana (4.14), Philadelphia (4.14), Phoenix (4.11), Detroit (4.05).
-A.I. should pull back [ESPN Insider]:
This year’s Sixers have too much talent elsewhere to stand around and
watch A.I. dribble, drive, elevate and either shoot or kick out a pass
because he couldn’t get a shot off. It’s not contender talent mind you,
just playoff talent, perhaps enough to challenge the Nets for the
Atlantic Division crown.
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