Sounds as if Sixers will stay put

Hawes
Hawes
Posted: March 13, 2012

TRADE DEADLINES obviously bring about changes to teams that decide to participate. The Sixers are in for quite a few changes over the coming days, but none likely will have anything to do with Thursday's trading deadline.

Spencer Hawes participated in three-on-three workouts yesterday and appears on target to get back in uniform tomorrow when the team travels to Indiana, after missing 27 of the past 29 games with a strained left Achilles' tendon. Initially, he will play limited minutes and not suit up in back-to-back games. But, if he progresses well, he could be full-tilt perhaps as early as a week to 10 days.

When that happens, he will strengthen a starting lineup that now includes Evan Turner.

As for the trade front, president Rod Thorn didn't say the Sixers wouldn't do anything, but it sure sounds as though nothing will happen.

"There's always a lot of talk going on at this time of the year; we've talked with most of the teams throughout the league," Thorn said. "Right now, to say if anything is going to transpire or not, you just don't know. I couldn't say one way or the other. You listen to everything and try to see if there's something that could help your team without breaking it up."

Around the All-Star Break, when the Sixers had lost eight of 10 games and were offensively mired in muck, a move not only seemed like a good idea, but probably was necessary. Now, with Turner bringing new life into the offense and the return of Hawes on the horizon, staying status quo seems to be the way they'll go.

Since Turner's addition to the starting lineup four games ago, the team is averaging 101.5 points a game, getting to the foul line more, and seems to have a new energy. In Sunday's game against the New York Knicks, coach Doug Collins basically used a seven-man rotation, obviously showing how much he wanted to win the division game. When Hawes returns, the rotation likely will be bumped up to eight, with Lou Williams, Thad Young and Nikola Vucevic probably getting almost all the meaningful minutes off the bench.

It will be different look for the team, even if it doesn't mean a trade is coming.

"With what has transpired over the last three or four games and now with Spencer coming back, coach has said we want to see how these guys play together, and we're all anxious to see how they are going to play together," Thorn said. "So far, with Evan in the starting lineup, it has worked out very well and we want to continue to do that. With Spencer coming back, though he'll be limited to an extent at the beginning, I'm looking forward to seeing how this team is going to play."

Vucevic and Lavoy Allen have probably played many more minutes to this point than anyone had envisioned, due to the injuries to Hawes and Elton Brand (sprained thumb). That has both helped and hindered the two rookies as they have appeared to be mentally and physically fatigued as of late.

"Any time you get a chance to play extended minutes, especially as a rookie, it can only help the overall team going forward. They've had a chance to see they can compete at this level. They obviously need to work on several things, but it's good to know what they can do."

Thorn said it is also good to see the fine play of Turner, who is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds in his last three starts, all wins. During that time he's also shot 27-for-45 (60 percent) from the field and 11-for-13 (84.6) from the line.

Thorn reiterated what Collins said about the timing of Turner's implementation into the starting lineup - that it was due to the team's recent struggles, nothing more.

"What we always thought was the more he played the better he would play, I think everybody felt strongly that he would be a really good rebounder, he's been that before," said Thorn of Turner. "He certainly has done that, but the other thing is every time he gets a rebound, with him and Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala in the lineup, when they get a rebound you have a fastbreak. Sunday against the Knicks, Andre and Evan combined for 20 defensive rebounds. That's pretty much 20 fastbreaks right there, and that's when we're at our best, getting out on the break and also we've been getting to the foul line, something we haven't done in a month.

"I can't say I thought [Turner] would score 25 and 12 [rebounds], but he's a talented kid and competitive kid and it's been nice to see so far. He's only played four games and we'll continue to see what happens. Putting him in as a starter, that's the coach's decision. I think when Jodie [Meeks] went into the starting lineup last year the team took off. Then we started 20-9 this year and you don't want to make changes. But we hit a little tailspin and that's when you look to see if you can do something to change things around."

The change was bringing Turner into the starting lineup. There probably won't be any changes due to a trade or two.


Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com or read the Daily News' Sixers blog at www.philly.com/Sixerville.

 

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