Holiday, Turner eager to assume leadership roles with Sixers

Posted: October 03, 2012

JRUE HOLIDAY and Evan Turner have played a combined 5 years in the NBA and are only 22 and 23, respectively. Holiday is the California cool guy, who gets laughs with quiet comebacks on teammates, but mostly just takes in his surroundings. Turner is often the center of attention in the locker room, telling stories from his childhood, teasing a teammate about his look, poking fun at himself.

The two have lockers next to each other and the ritual before each game is for them to sit and talk with each other about anything and everything.

Coach Doug Collins wants the two to grow those communication skills. He is looking for the two of them, despite their NBA infancy, to become the vocal leaders of a team filled with quiet personalities and now devoid of last season's leaders in Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Lou Williams.

Both Holiday and Turner say they relish stepping into the leadership role. And after Tuesday's first day of training camp, that was obvious.

"I think I did what I wanted to do and what I was supposed to do," Holiday said after the team practiced for a little more than 3 hours in the morning session. "I think I did what coach wanted me to do. It's the first day. There are a lot of new faces. Since I'm one of the four or five who stayed here, I have to step up and speak up.

"The point guard is supposed to do that anyway. I think, on the court, it's kind of a different type of leadership. Off the court, we had Dre, E.B., guys in the locker room who definitely looked after me, but, on the court, I think it's just being a leader and getting the people into their spots. It's pretty cool. We have a great group of guys, really easy to talk to, no problems at all."

Collins is all about communication, but he doesn't want the words always coming from him. He says that during training camp he will let mistakes slide once, twice, maybe even three times to see whether someone else will correct the situation instead of him always having to be the disciplinarian. That's where he would like Holiday, Turner and others to step in.

"We have to be a team that talks more; there's not a team in any sport that doesn't communicate," Collins said. "Jrue's not a guy who will say a lot. Evan will talk a little bit. I don't think there's going to be that one voice, I think it's going to be collective. Andre didn't say a lot, either; he just did it. He got tremendous respect, because he did it every night.

"E.B. was blue-collar; he didn't say a lot. So it wasn't like those guys were really vocal guys. The one guy who really was the personality and voice was Lou. Lou brought that little swagger and stuff, and we're going to miss that. Every day, it's talking, communicating. It's one of our Ten Commandments - thou shall communicate."

During the scrimmage session, there seemed to be plenty of voices on the floor, especially from incumbents Holiday, Turner, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young. All the while, Collins sat on his big, blue medicine ball, taking it all in, rarely talking.

"I think the most important thing is guys are looking forward to [wanting to] lead," Turner said. "There are a lot of new guys looking for direction, so we have some ears that are willing to listen. We're just being us, for the most part - always willing to help out, always willing to be great teammates. People are looking for us more to help out. [Being a vocal leader] is not overrated or anything.

"I think once things get serious, somebody has to speak. I think that's the key thing. Once it gets in crunch time or once things start falling apart, maybe in practice, that's key. It takes a big person to step in and get things put in perspective and get people's heads focused again. It's never overrated."

The maturation process is coming fast and furious for Holiday. During the summer, he not only witnessed girlfriend Lauren Cheney win a soccer gold medal with the United States at the London Olympics, he also proposed marriage.

"It's all part of the process," Holiday said. "I think getting serious off the court and taking care of business there kind of leads to on to the court, and vice versa. Being serious on the court kind of carries over to my life off the court."

Training camp notes

While center Andrew Bynum (knee) didn't physically participate in the first practices, he was an active spectator.

"Without Andrew practicing with us, we want to try and simulate all the things we want to do with him not out there," Doug Collins said. "He sat out with us and we were going through all of our stuff and anytime we threw the ball into the post I was saying [to Bynum], 'Is this where you want your guys to be? How do you like them cutting?' Even if anybody else is out there, we want to continue to play that way, so we get into a habit of doing it. We don't want to play the exhibitions one way and then try to change. That would be too much for our guys."

Collins said Bynum put in his time on the elliptical, did his weightlifting and is very eager to get back on the floor. General manager Tony DiLeo reiterated that sitting Bynum is totally precautionary, in an effort to have him 100 percent ready for the season opener.

Six shots

Lavoy Allen was excused from Tuesday's morning session because of a personal issue. He was back for the night session . . . When asked his reaction to the acquisition of Andrew Bynum, which essentially took many of his minutes away, Kwame Brown said: "That just helps us as a team. I can't be selfish. Bynum is definitely going to help Philadelphia and myself get to the playoffs, so I applaud it" . . . During the team's scrimmage to finish the morning session, Dorell Wright hit two shots at the end of the shot clock and played a very smooth, controlled game. Jrue Holiday looked very good and was hounded a lot by the super-quick Maalik Wayns. Evan Turner, despite throwing a bad length-of-the-court pass that had Doug Collins cringing, also looked very good . . . When asked what his rotation might be for the season, Collins said he probably would go with nine, with the 10th player being a specialist. He said he's looking at five perimeter players (Holiday, Turner, Jason Richardson, Wright and Nick Young) and four bigs (Andrew Bynum, Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and Thaddeus Young). He also mentioned Royal Ivey, Wayns and Brown as being possible specialists, although all is subject to change . . . Tuesday's double session will be followed by a single session on Wednesday.


Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobCooney76. For more Sixers coverage, read his blog at philly.com/Sixerville.

 

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