Collins tinkers with how to use Hawes

Spencer Hawes squares up for a jumper against Cleveland's Samardo Samuels during the second half of preseason game.
Spencer Hawes squares up for a jumper against Cleveland's Samardo Samuels during the second half of preseason game. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: October 19, 2012

BESIDES COACH Doug Collins, no one with the 76ers is going to have to make more adjustments this season than Spencer Hawes. While Collins is still in the process of molding new pieces, Hawes' preseason has been puzzling, to say the least.

When the team acquired Kwame Brown, Collins considered moving Hawes from his normal center position to the power-forward spot. When Andrew Bynum was acquired in the blockbuster deal, Hawes was cemented as the four-man beside Bynum.

Bynum, of course, hasn't seen the floor yet this preseason as he tries to strengthen his troublesome knee, so Hawes hasn't had the luxury of trying to fit into the four slot with his new running partner. And, after Hawes started the first preseason game alongside Brown, Collins decided he wanted to take a look at some speed at the four spot, so he has brought Hawes off the bench and started Lavoy Allen and Thaddeus Young down low. After Wednesday's game against Cleveland, Collins said that if Bynum can't start, Allen and Young would be his down-low combination.

Monday against Boston, Hawes showed much of the same type of play that he exhibited early last season, going for 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists in just over 17 minutes. Wednesday he made just one of his 10 shots but dealt seven assists and blocked three shots and was a big part of the second unit that busted the game wide open, a 113-99 Sixers win.

"The way our team is set up, at least on the offensive end, the four and the five, similar things are asked depending on personnel, who does what," said Hawes. "I think the transition has gone pretty smoothly. I think everyone is waiting for the big fella [Bynum] to get back. We'll have to adjust when he gets back and healthy, but for now, whether it's the four or the five you have to be ready for anything.

"A lot of times with Elton [Brand] last year I would guard the fours anyway, but it is different personnel that you're going up against. In basketball the trend seems to be going back to bigger lineups again."

Which Hawes certainly hopes is the direction Collins decides to go once Bynum gets on the court.

"The way we're used to playing in the offense and moving around a lot, and that kind of changes when you have a guy who you can just dump it into and let him operate," Hawes said. "Any time you're the other big guy you have to learn to adjust, but I've watched him play a lot over the years and kind of studied how guys play off of him, especially Pau [Gasol]. You have to try to emulate that because there's no denying that they had a lot of success back in LA."

If that is to happen, Hawes will have to secure that starting spot.

"You always want to be a starter but . . . there's a lot of new faces, there's a lot of new combinations that have to get used to playing with one another," Hawes said. "So whatever direction we go right now you just have to embrace it and try to keep improving."

Game stuff

With a sparse crowd and not much excitement on or off the court, the Sixers trailed Cleveland, 24-20, late in the first quarter. Doug Collins then inserted Maalik Wayns and the whole pace of the game changed in the Sixers' advantage. During Wayns' 11-minute run, the Sixers outscored the Cavs by 36-9 and rode that to the easy win, their third in four preseason games.

Nick Young and Wayns led the Sixers with 19 points each, while Dorell Wright scored 17, Jrue Holiday added 13 and Thaddeus Young 11.

"I told our second unit that they really jump-started us," said Collins. "We got off to a little bit of a lethargic start and then we had a great finish at the end of the first quarter and then a really, really good second quarter. Maalik really pushed the ball well and we shot the ball well. I thought Arnett [Moultrie] really gave us some good minutes. I thought our second unit tonight really changed the game for us.

"With Maalik it starts with his speed. Guys get out and run and get easy scores. When guys have guys pushing the ball they are more inclined to run. I like that group together."

Once again the team shot well from the outside, making half of its 88 shots, including 12-for-25 from three-point range. Before the game, Collins talked of getting Nick Young more shots. Not a problem last night as he hoisted 12 and made seven.

"It's great that coach believes in me like that, and my teammates, too," said Young, who is averaging a team-high 19 points in the preseason. "We've got a lot of weapons on this team. It's going to be cool."

Six shots

The Sixers close out the preseason with three road games: Friday in Brooklyn, Sunday in Boston and Monday in Syracuse against the New York Knicks . . . Former Sixers and current Toronto Raptors general manager Ed Stefanski was in the house . . . Doug Collins gave Jason Richardson the night off, as Richardson tries to find his game legs while battling knee tendinitis. Kwame Brown (calf) also was out . . . Philly native Dion Waiters started for Cleveland and scored five points in 27 minutes.


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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