For now, Sixers head coach Doug Collins has found a rotation that he is going to stick with.
That means that barely two weeks after he took a DNP-CD in a seven-point victory over the Rockets and was deemed out of the rotation by the coach, Nick Young will continue to start for the Sixers.
The next trick for Collins is to “build a bench.”
“We started out with a different group and now we’re trying to create a bench,” Collins explained following Tuesday’s practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “We’ve had Jason Richardson in and out and [Nick Young] was out for a while and Jrue (Holiday) was out for a while. Now we’re going with a starting lineup that gets us off to better starts and two of our offensive guys are starting and we have a defensive bench. I have to make sure I have enough scoring on the floor when [I go to the bench].”
Young started the last two games, scoring 20 points in a blowout victory over the Knicks and 13 in a loss against the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, since being benched and removed from the rotation, Young has averaged 14.7 points in six games while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from three-point range.
With Richardson expected to miss his fifth straight game with an injured left knee on Wednesday, Collins has decided to use his bench for defense.
In other words, expect Damien Wilkins and Royal Ivey to continue to log minutes off the bench, along with Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown coming on to spell Spencer Hawes and Thad Young in the frontcourt.
The player on the outside looking in for all of this? Dorell Wright.
“I’ve just gone to a different starting lineup,” Collins said. “The guys I’m bringing off the bench, I’m going to a little bit more of a defensive mindset.”
It’s been an up-and-down year for Wright to say the least. He did not see action in either of the last two games and played a combined 25 minutes in the three games prior to that. However, Wright was invaluable at the start of the season for Collins, who used the veteran as a starter when Richardson missed some games with a sprained ankle.
Wright buried a three-pointer in the first eight games and in 10 of the first 11. He averaged nearly 13 points and nearly 30 minutes of playing time through the first seven games of the season.
And then Wright was on a Yo-yo between the middle and the fringe of the rotation. Still, despite sporadic playing time, Wright scored 20-plus in back-to-back games in December during the trips to Dallas and Houston. He also scored a season-high 28 points on 11 shots in a victory on Dec. 26 in Memphis.
But since the calendar flipped to 2013, Wright has averaged 5.9 points in his last 11 appearances, though he has shot the three-pointer reasonably well at 34.3 percent (12 for 35).
The situation with Wright bears watching. Acquired in an offseason trade with Golden State, Wright has one of those coveted expiring contracts that could make him trade bait as the Feb. 21 deadline approaches.
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