Collins says Kapono making strides for 76ers

Jason Kapono is looking to bounce back this season after a rough 2009-2010 campaign. (Matt Slocum/AP file photo)
Jason Kapono is looking to bounce back this season after a rough 2009-2010 campaign. (Matt Slocum/AP file photo) (Jonathan Tannenwald)
Posted: October 01, 2010

On the third day of 76ers training camp, new coach Doug Collins was asked which player stood out the most. Without hesitation, Collins said it was forward Jason Kapono, who is entering his second season with the team.

Kapono has been hitting open shots and making the extra pass, Collins said. The 29-year-old veteran credits Collins' system, which he said is structured to cater to players' strengths.

"Last year, not really getting a chance to play until the end, going through the ups and downs as a team, as an individual didn't really sit well with me personally and us as a team," Kapono said. "Guys train hard. I train hard throughout the summer and I just want a chance to play. I just want to be able to show my talents and skills out on the floor."

Collins said Kapono had his best season in 2006-07, when he averaged a career-high 10.9 points with Miami. The coach sees similarities to this year.

"He's been really good," Collins said. "He's making shots. He's one of our best communicators out on the floor. I've been very happy with him."

Collins said he wanted to see how the team would respond Thursday after getting the morning practice off. Previously, the Sixers had gone through two-a-day workouts at St. Joseph's University.

In the evening session at Hagan Arena, the Sixers worked on defensive one-on-one drills, Collins said. The team also worked on conditioning and shooting, and spent 30 to 40 minutes reviewing offensive sets.

Collins said the players were struggling with the offense.

Traditionally, teams coached by Collins have focused on defense, and the emphasis will remain as such with the Sixers. Collins said the team has to get better at rebounding.

During the off-season, the Sixers traded center Samuel Dalembert, who averaged a team-high 9.6 rebounds last season, to Sacramento. Collins acknowledged that no Sixer is likely to average double figures in rebounding this season.

"We're not going to be a great rebounding team, obviously, because we don't have a big, strong rebounder," Collins said. "But we've got to rebound by committee.

"We talked about finishing plays," he added. "You could play good initial defense, but if you didn't rebound the ball, you didn't finish the play. We've got to get better at great positioning and putting bodies on people."

Free throws. Coming off his summer with USA Basketball, Andre Iguodala took part in his first scrimmage after going through noncontact drills during the first two days. . . . Nursing an ankle sprain, Andres Nocioni did not scrimmage. Collins said he planned to play the forward in the final three or four preseason games.


Contact staff writer Mario Aguirre at 215-854-4550 or maguirre@phillynews.com.

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