With Bynum ailing, Sixers are preparing two styles of play

Posted: October 20, 2012

In addition to incorporating more than half a new roster, 76ers coach Doug Collins is trying to establish an identity with this season's team.

Depending on the health of Andrew Bynum, the Sixers basically have two systems, but both will overlap.

Without Bynum, the Sixers are more of a freewheeling transition team. Even with Bynum, the Sixers won't abandon the running game but will have an envied secondary option, the post-up half-court game.

Bynum remains out on right knee rehab, and the target date for him to return is Wednesday. The Sixers open the season on Oct. 31 at the Wells Fargo Center against the Denver Nuggets.

Following Thursday's practice, Collins said the team will be jelling when it can play both styles.

"When the Lakers were Show Time, they pushed the ball, and they had Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]," Collins said. "But when they got to half-court they went through Kareem."

So even with Bynum, Collins wants the team to get into transition. Then, if they are slowed down, Bynum becomes the focal point.

"We don't want to, just because Andrew comes back, be a half-court team," Collins said. "We want to continue to push the ball."

And he added that when the game slows down, the Sixers will play through Bynum in the post. The only problem is that Bynum hasn't been able to practice, so the half-court game will continue to be a work in progress.

"We have to find a happy medium between the two of pushing the ball and fast-breaking and getting in the half-court and giving [Bynum] the ball," swingman Jason Richardson said. "We know we have to get him his touches, and he is the No. 1 option, and the ball goes through him."

Even with Bynum, this will be a team that hopes to prosper from improved three-point shooting, with the additions of Richardson, Dorell Wright, and Nick Young. In Wednesday's 113-99 preseason win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, the Sixers were 12 of 25 from three-point range.

Unlike many coaches, Collins will encourage the Sixers to shoot the three even in transition. And he said the shooters will get open looks in the half-court, especially when opponents double Bynum in the post.

Notes. The Sixers waived center Dan Gadzuric to reduce the roster to 15. He did not appear in any preseason games. . . . The Sixers have three preseason games left, beginning with Friday's matchup in Brooklyn against the Nets. . . . Collins said he will be giving Evan Turner the night off against Brooklyn. Collins has been giving his regulars a game off and said he expects Jrue Holiday will get one of the last two preseason games off. . . . Richardson, who got the night off against Cleveland as he was battling some tendinitis, will play on Friday. . . . Against the Nets, Collins wants to see some combinations that he hasn't paired much, such as Richardson and Dorell Wright. Another combination he wants to see is Nick Young and Holiday in the same backcourt. . . . Kwame Brown, who missed Wednesday's game with a left calf strain, won't play Friday. Collins did say he would like to play Brown in the final two preseason games, Sunday in Boston and Monday in Syracuse against the New York Knicks, if possible. "We have to be prepared if Andrew is not ready to go and we will need a bigger body," Collins said about Brown.


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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