Young set for test at small forward in preseason
To view this site, you need to have Flash Player 9.0.115 or later installed. Click here to get the latest Flash player.
When the curtain rose on Sixers practice Monday night, their second of the day, the big men were to the left in a drill that required dribble handoffs and then rolling to the basket.
At the other end of the court, the perimeter players were divided into two teams and they were competing against each other in a three-point shooting drill.
Neither drill was new, but the number of made threes was markedly improved.
"I would agree with that. I am not saying last year's team was a bad shooting team. I just think this is going to be one of our strengths this year," assistant coach Brian James said. "Jrue Holiday is shooting the ball really well right now and then obviously our new guys, but the guys we have coming back have worked really hard on their shot. Thad Young has worked very hard on his shot."
Young was with the perimeter players, a change from last season when he strictly participated as a power forward.
"For now, all those shooting drills we do, Thad is playing as a three (small forward)," James said. "And then when we do our scrimmage or teaching offense, he has been going to the four (power forward)."
Thursday’s preseason opener will begin an interesting stretch for Young. Head coach Doug Collins plans on using Young at the small forward position for at least one quarter in four or five of the seven preseason games.
Young's ability to see time at the three-spot after the preseason will largely depend on how well he guards some of the league's elite players at that position.
"We are very interested to see Thad Young guard one of the top perimeter players Thursday. When we guard Orlando, he is going to have to guard Hedo Turkoglu out there," James said. "With Boston, Paul Pierce or Carmelo [Anthony] when we play New York or a Gerald Wallace with Brooklyn.
"Doug wants him to chase guys off screens for a quarter or so because that will answer a lot of questions for us. Can he do that or is he going to have to stay inside as a power forward?"
Whether Young can play at small forward is one question to be answered. How the Sixers’ young guys look is another. Expect Maalik Wayns to get significant time Thursday against the Magic and ditto for Arnett Moultrie, who missed playing basketball all summer because of a severe ankle sprain.
"I think he (Collins) wants to see what the young kids will do," James said. "Maalik Wayns will get a good look. I think Doug also wants to look at different combinations."
Finally, the preseason will be a time to get Kwame Brown back up to speed. Brown played in just nine games (three starts) last year before suffering a torn pectoral muscle that required season-ending surgery.
Expect Brown to be the starting center until Andrew Bynum returns.