No comparison between Sixers this year and Nets of last season

Posted: October 27, 2010

Rod Thorn says there's "no comparison" between last season's New Jersey Nets and this season's 76ers. That's encouraging, because the Nets started last season 0-18 and finished 12-70. The Sixers started 7-22 and finished 27-55.

Thorn was president of the Nets last season. Now, he's the president of the Sixers, who open their season tonight against the Miami Heat.

"This is an entirely different team," Thorn said, recalling that when assistant general manager Kiki Vanbdeweghe stepped in as the Nets coaching replacement for the fired Lawrence Frank, "he had never coached before."

The Sixers spent last season under Eddie Jordan, who was fired with two guaranteed seasons remaining. Doug Collins, who previous coached in Chicago, Detroit and Washington and became an award-winning TV analyst, is the Sixers' new coach.

"We're a work in progress," Thorn said. "We've made some strides, and Doug is working to implant his philosophy. Part of that is making the guys accountable. It's starting to sink in - pull your weight at both ends of the floor, protect your teammates on the defensive end, and be where you're supposed to be."

At the same time, Thorn didn't sound as if a major jump from 27 wins was likely.

"Last season ended on a very bad note, and there has been some carryover," he said. "Plus, teams have gotten better in the East and in the [Atlantic] division, including New York and New Jersey. When you win 27 games, there's a lot to shore up.

"I'm not in the prediction business. All I know is, we'll play hard, but what we are, you'll find out as we go along . . . I think we have a bunch of guys capable of scoring points on a given night. Doug's charge will be to find those guys on those given nights."

Part of Thorn's charge, in concert with general manager Ed Stefanski, is to try to add to the personnel base. To that end, the Sixers are holding a $2 million trade exception from the Jason Smith portion of the deal that sent Smith and Willie Green to New Orleans for Craig Brackins and Darius Songaila. They also have $900,000 remaining from an exception in the trade that sent Samuel Dalembert to Sacramento for Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni; that exception originally was worth about $2.2 million.

The Smith exception expires Sept. 23, 2011. The Dalembert exception expires June 17, 2011.

The 82-game season, you might have noticed, is just starting. *

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