Young's versatility starting to help Sixers

Posted: November 22, 2010

He still doesn't have a true position, except as a spark off the bench. But if this 76ers team is going to win some games and improve throughout the season, forward Thaddeus Young is going to have to be a big part of it.

Not having a true spot on the floor for Young could turn out to be beneficial to the team. True, at times, not having a spot to call his own has hurt Young. But it also hurts other teams at times, when they can't match up with Young's abilities to play the small and big forward spots. Recently, coach Doug Collins has called upon Young at the right time in games, and the fourth-year player has taken advantage, averaging more than 15 points his last five games.

"Thad is doing a better job of playing both the three [small forward] and the four [power forward]," Collins said. "He's had some really good moments at the three, he's had some really good moments at the four. When we started the season out, I said I think he could be a nightmare matchup by being able to do that. On a particular night, if we need him as a three he can do that, or if we need him at the four he can use his speed and quickness. I'm starting to run some things for him to give him the opportunity to do what he does best."

It is no secret to anyone who follows this team that Young is at his best when he has the ball going toward the basket. However, too many times last season Young settled for long-range jump shots. Collins is out to correct that.

"I'm very much comfortable with what he wants," Young said of his new coach. "I know he wants me to take the ball to the basket; if I don't have a play, make plays for other guys, take a wide-open jumper if I have it. If the guys in front of me are backing off, go attack them, bring my contact to them."

Young is grasping what his coach wants, but according to Collins, he isn't the only one.

"The guys are all trying and listening," Collins said. "Mo Speights, we had a talk with him and he had 10 rebounds [in a win over Milwaukee] Friday night. Jodie Meeks comes in and gives us a great defensive presence. Our center, Spencer Hawes, had seven rebounds and is playing much better ball. They want to do it. They want to please. We've just got to keep working at it."

Iguodala update

Swingman Andre Iguodala, who has missed five of the last seven games with tendinitis in his right Achilles', practiced yesterday with an eye on returning tomorrow when the team plays at Washington.

"He did a little bit of conditioning," Doug Collins said. "I think he's hoping to get one more good practice in [today] and be ready to go."

Tough schedule

Doug Collins lamented this week's four-game schedule, which includes the fifth and sixth back-to-back games this young season.

"How about this week? At Washington [tomorrow], at Toronto [Wednesday], travel to Miami and have Thanksgiving there, play there Friday then get home at 4 in the morning and then play New Jersey [Saturday], who has the day off ahead of us. I've never seen, ever in my life, a schedule like this. It doesn't give us an excuse, it just means we have to be a little bit tougher."

Kapono excused

Forward Jason Kapono was excused from yesterday's practice while he tended to personal issues.

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/BobCooney76.

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