Moultrie says playing in D-League was a 'learning experience'

Posted: January 10, 2013

BEING A ROOKIE in the NBA isn't a whole lot different from any other job coming out of college - except maybe the pay and adulation and the travels and the . . .

Well, maybe it is a whole lot different. But for 76ers rookies Arnett Moultrie and Maalik Wayns, the past few weeks have been similar to a first job, with a lot of trepidation and uncertainty about their futures in their chosen profession.

On Dec. 20, Moultrie, whom the Sixers acquired on a draft-day trade after he was taken with the 25th pick by the Miami Heat, was sent to Sioux Falls, S.D., to play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Skyforce. The move was necessary because Moultrie wasn't getting any playing time for the Sixers and undoubtedly had piled a bunch of rust on his game, as well as a few extra pounds on his 6-10 frame.

In his seven games for the Skyforce, Moultrie averaged 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in a little more than 26 minutes a game. More than the numbers, Moultrie needed time on the court to refine his game.

"It was just a learning experience," Moultrie said. "No matter how much conditioning I do, I'm not in game shape. So I just went down there and tried to play hard and took the opportunity just to get in shape. My game is fine; I really don't have any complaints. I just have to be patient on the bench and cheer my teammates on and wait for my opportunity."

The Sixers certainly could use some sort of contribution from Moultrie, as coach Doug Collins has had to juggle his big men in search of some type of presence in the lane. While the visit to Sioux Falls helped Moultrie regain some of his conditioning, it also taught him a valuable lesson - work hard while with the Sixers, so a return visit to Sioux Falls isn't required.

"It's a dose of reality, for the most part," he said. "It wasn't too bad for the most part, but it isn't a place I want to be again."

For Waayns, he has returned to the place where he wanted to be, and that's back in the Sixers' locker room. Monday, he learned that the Sixers had waived him, not really surprising, as it meant his full contract would not be guaranteed. Tuesday, he got a call that the team was signing him to a 10-day contract, so he was back in uniform to face the Brooklyn Nets.

Everything is unexpected in this league," Wayns said. "I didn't expect to get the first call [about his release]. "You can get down, or whatever, but then you get another chance. I wanted to be back. These guys are like my brothers. I have a bond with the staff, I have a bond with the coaches and with management. But it's a business at the end of the day. I'm not a down person; I always keep a smile on my face, whether I'm not playing here or I'm getting waived. It's always an experience, and I'm always positive."

High praise

When Andrew Bynum came out Monday and gave a positive report on how well his knees are feeling and gushed about his confidence of being back on the court soon, many started to wonder what this team could possibly look like with a proven 7-footer in the middle.

To guard Jrue Holiday, the excitement is twofold. He smiles not only at the prospect of playing with Bynum, but also at being able to benefit from the former Laker's basketball knowldge.

"He's probably one of the smartest big men that I've ever talked to," Holiday said. "As a big man, I feel like they see the game a lot differently than I do. Coming off screens, on offense or defense, talking to him about what a big thinks, if he's being attacked or if he's setting the screen and what he sees, so I can read the big man offensively or defensively is obviously big for me. I think his knowledge of the game is something else."

Brown out

Kwame Brown was not with the team Tuesday, as he attended his grandmother's funeral.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: philly.com/Sixerville

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