Doug Collins downplays Sixers vs. Andre Iguodala in opener

Iguodala
Iguodala
Posted: October 29, 2012

AT NO OTHER point in the season will Doug Collins and his team have so much time to think about an upcoming opponent. Since the NBA put out the schedule in August, the Sixers have been able to circle Oct. 31 on their collective calendars. And what makes Opening Night even more special is that former Sixer Andre Iguodala will be making his Denver Nuggets debut.

In his six preseason games with Denver, Iguodala, who spent 8 years in Philadelphia, averaged 8.7 points, 5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 29.7 minutes per game. He shot 31.7 percent from the floor, including 23.8 percent from three-point range. Wednesday he will most likely be matched against his replacement, Evan Turner, unless Denver decides to use Iguodala's defensive prowess elsewhere. Whatever the scenario, the eyes of Sixers fans will certainly be fixated on Iguodala's every move.

And as much as Collins might want to win this game even more after Iguodala's comments a couple of weeks ago stating that his 2 years under his last coach here were draining, he wasn't letting on after Sunday's workout at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. The focus has been on getting his team ready for the season, not so much just the game against Iguodala and the Nuggets.

"We really haven't done any Denver preparation yet," Collins said. "They switch a lot, 'one' through 'four.' They're going to push the ball, shoot a lot of threes. [Ty] Lawson is going to drive that ball and kick. [Danilo] Gallinari threes, Dre shooting threes. [Corey] Brewer has had a very good preseason. Andre Miller, we know who he is. Sometimes I'll stop the scrimmage and say [something]. It's more of a general thing. We know what their tendencies are.

"We're a different team this year. We had a smaller perimeter [last season]. We might do things differently this year than last year only because we have some bigger guys on the perimeter. I think so much of what you do is personnel. Obviously he is going to know the strengths and weaknesses of our players. He's played with Thad [Young], he's played with Jrue [Holiday], he's played with Evan and Spencer [Hawes], so he knows so much about what those guys do. Most of the stuff we're doing is probably similar, but it's different personnel. Spacing on the floor sometimes looks a little different; maybe we have a few more playmakers in spots. We have the ability this year to go to a smaller lineup more effectively than we did last year. He definitely knows our personality and what we like to do, but our personnel is so different."

Though matchups will change throughout the game, Iguodala should see a lot of Turner and perhaps match up at times with Thaddeus Young, Dorell Wright or Nick Young. No matter who he will be facing, Collins knows the Sixers' lone All-Star last season will have his competitive juices flowing.

"Dre is going to want to come in here and play great, he's going to want to come in here and win," Collins said. "He spent his entire career here and left on a very high note, which is the thing I'm very happy about. The 2 years that I was here [with him] and what the team did and he was such a huge part of it - he was second-team all-defense, world championship, a gold medal [both as a part of Team USA], getting to the second round of the playoffs, winning Game 6 for us [against Chicago] with the two free throws. Every time Denver comes in here and plays, I'm sure he's going to want to win and, on the other hand, we're going to try to beat Denver. It's not going to be that we're going to try to beat Dre. We're going to try to beat the Nuggets, and Dre is a huge part of that."

Six shots

Kwame Brown (calf strain) and Maalik Wayns (head contusion) practiced after being out recently. Doug Collins said "Kwame looked good" and, of Wayns, "He's fearless, that kid. He throws himself at that basket and he looks good" . . . Collins said that barring any surprise happenings his starting lineup on Wednesday would be Jrue Holiday, Jason Richardson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen . . . Spencer Hawes, playing with the second team, looked very good again in scrimmaging on Sunday . . . Turner hit a three-pointer from the corner with 1 second on the shot clock to finish out the scrimmage for the first team . . . The team was planning to practice Monday morning, but the weather may come into play.


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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