76ers rookie Arnett Moultrie getting more playing time

Arnett Moultrie, passing around Miami's LeBron James, has played well in his last nine games. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff
Arnett Moultrie, passing around Miami's LeBron James, has played well in his last nine games. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff
Posted: March 17, 2013

There are just 18 games remaining in the 76ers' regular season, and coach Doug Collins has some words of advice for rookie forward Arnett Moultrie during that span.

"When he's out there, just bust it," Collins said following practice Friday. "When he gets a little tired I'll take him out, but I don't want him pacing himself. I want him, every minute, pushing hard."

With the Sixers likely to miss the playoffs this spring - nine of their last 18 games are against teams currently in playoff positions - the focus is going to change. And a big part of that focus will be on getting Moultrie up to speed for the future.

After being benched for a large part of the season, the 6-foot-11 Moultrie, the 27th overall pick by Miami acquired in exchange for a future first-round pick and the draft rights to 45th pick Justin Hamilton, will be a part of the rotation for the remainder of the season.

"It's real valuable for me to grow as a player," said Moultrie, who is averaging 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds. "I can use this time to get better and take advantage of the time I'm getting."

Moultrie has stayed on the bench 24 times, mostly in the first half of the season. He was sent down to the development league for seven games in late December. He hasn't played enough to be a factor this season, but he has appeared in 16 of the Sixers' last 18 games. Over the last nine games, Moultrie is shooting 64.3 percent (18 for 28) from the floor.

"I'm feeling more comfortable," Moultrie said.

The Indiana Pacers (40-24), who play at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, with players like center Roy Hibbert (7-2, 278 pounds) and forward David West (6-9, 250) are the big-and-physical type of team that the Sixers hope to deploy Moultrie against in the future. Atop the Central Division, the Pacers hosted the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

What Collins wants to see from Moultrie are things quality big men do. Collins wants him running the floor, rolling to the basket hard on pick-and-rolls, making himself available for lobs at the basket, and playing physically against opposing big men.

Moultrie has no problem with that.

"For the remainder of the season I just want to get in there and show what I can do," Moultrie said. "I want to set myself up for my future in the organization."


Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter.

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