Hawes making a good impression with Sixers

Coach Doug Collins refers to Spencer Hawes as 'ball-friendly.'
Coach Doug Collins refers to Spencer Hawes as 'ball-friendly.'
Posted: September 29, 2010

THERE ISN'T MUCH Spencer Hawes can't do on the basketball court.

The 7-1 center, whom the 76ers acquired from the Sacramento Kings, along with Andres Nocioni, for Sam Dalembert, has already impressed new teammates and coach Doug Collins with his shooting, passing and total court awareness.

Off the court, Hawes is just as versatile, as comfortable talking about pick-and-rolls as he is discussing world politics or music or current events.

Yesterday morning at Saint Joseph's University, Collins oversaw his first workout with his new team, and was impressed with Hawes, among others.

"He's been great. He's what you call ball-friendly. Teammates love to throw him the ball because he loves to pass. When he gets that ball in the post, guys cut. The thing that I like about him and that his teammates like about him is that he is ball-friendly," said Collins. "Spencer thrives in structure. The more structure there is, he has such a good feel for the game. I love that he's been on another team before. I think with all big guys, especially young big guys, they thrive in that second home."

The dealing of Dalembert was something that was certainly expected, as he had asked the front office numerous times to move him. When general manager Ed Stefanski was able to accommodate Dalembert this summer, he may have wound up getting more than he could have anticipated.

"There were numerous things we were looking for, No. 1 was getting Sam to a new location, because that's what he wanted," Stefanski said. "Two was getting a player to replace him at the center spot. With Spencer, what we like about him is his age [22] and his upside. When he came out of college, we liked him in the draft. I was with the Nets at the time, but they also liked him down here in Philadelphia.

"I also think a change of scenery and a coach like Doug Collins can help him. You can see he has a high IQ for the game. From an offensive standpoint, he is what we need in that he can run the floor and is an excellent passer. Defensively, he'll have to improve a bit. And in Nocioni, we got a tough guy and that's what Doug wanted. He's as tough as you can get."

Nocioni participated in the early part of yesterday morning's practice before sitting out the latter part and last night's practiceto rest his healing left ankle, which he hurt preparing for the FIBA world championships with Argentina.

Hawes was a full participant, running with a "first team" that consisted of Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Thad Young and Elton Brand. He was vocal, energetic and surprisingly swift getting up and down the floor a day after he was clocked at 5 minutes, 23 seconds in the team's mile run.

"It's just good to be out there working with my new teammates and trying to get more and more acquainted with the system," Hawes said. "Every day that we practice we'll continue to get more and more used to it. I think that the way it [the system] uses the bigs, as playmakers more than just screen players works. I think a lot of times, the way it is in the NBA, you can kind of get lost down there. The times that we put the ball in the bigs' hands it allows the guards to play off us as much as we can play off the guards and that makes it incredibly difficult to scout and difficult to stop."

"You can talk a lot of basketball with him, which is fun," said Iguodala of Hawes. "I had a conversation with him about the way defenses have been playing me and how he can make certain passes if he's out on the elbow. He has a lot of input so we can relate a whole lot and we can adjust. He's kind of like Peyton Manning being that he's a big man who can deliver passes."

Trade completed

Last week the Sixers sent forward Jason Smith and guard Willie Green to New Orleans for forwards Darius Songaila and Craig Brackins. The deal, however, was on hold yesterday when New Orleans discovered a problem with Green's knee, so Songaila and Brackins did not participate in the morning workout. The deal was finalized around noon. A source said that the two teams agreed on the option of swapping second-round picks in 2011 to seal the deal.

Sixshots

Doug Collins said rookie Evan Turner had a good day of practice. He said the major obstacle Turner faces is how hard he is on himself. Collins said that he doesn't want to throw Turner right into the fire, and would prefer to move him along slowly.

"Evan's mind gets clouded and he's so hard on himself," Collins said. "I want him to smile more and enjoy it."

Evans won the mile run, edging out Jrue Holiday in the final 200 yards . . . Andre Iguodala, fresh off his gold medal-winning tour with Team USA at the world championships in Turkey, sat out last night's practice . . . Veteran center Tony Battie sat out with right knee synovitis . . . Collins originally planned to have a "full contact" scrimmage in the morning, but because of the shortage of bodies, that practice was held last night. The morning was more teaching . . . John Bach, whom Collins has dubbed one of his mentors and was a Collins assistant with the Chicago Bulls, attended the morning practice.

For more Sixers coverage, read the

Daily News' Sixers blog, Sixerville, at

http://go.philly.com/sixerville.

Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/BobCooney.

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