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News » Elton Brand looks to live up to his promise

Elton Brand looks to live up to his promise

Elton Brand looks to live up to his promise NEW YORK - Elton Brand has big shoes to fill: his own.

It's possible, though, that the 76ers don't need everything their power forward is trying to give.

Before last night's 93-85 preseason win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said Brand was "trying to prove, I think, that he's worthy of everything that's been put upon him: leadership, his contract situation, the big signing from last summer."

Jordan added: "He feels healthy and he's trying to be assertive, and he's testing himself to see if he can get to that level he's been at."

Last night, Brand scored 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting; he finished with 8 rebounds and no assists. The Sixers remained undefeated in the preseason, improving to 4-0.

Last summer, the Sixers signed Brand to a five-year, $80 million contract. At that time, through nine NBA seasons, he had career averages of about 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.

But Brand missed most of the last two seasons with injuries: right-shoulder surgery last year, and a ruptured Achilles tendon the year before. Through 29 games last season, Brand averaged 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.

Through three preseason games this season, Brand is averaging 10.0 points and 5.7 rebounds.

"I want him to execute a little bit better in terms of his spacing for his teammates, his cutting for his teammates, not for himself," Jordan said. "Those are things we've talked about, and I'm sure he's trying to get himself going."

Jordan's Princeton offense is a fine balance between aggressiveness and unselfishness, a line all the Sixers , not just Brand, are toeing.

"We need a horse," Jordan said. "Everybody needs a horse. And we call him our horse. It's just a matter of him fitting into our offense, being patient in the offense for his teammates. I don't mind him being overly aggressive right now; I want him to feel good, find his way, and then you can pull back the reins a little bit. . . . Eventually he's going to have to look at the whole picture and say, 'How can I help my teammates?' And he does it defensively; he has to do it offensively."

Jordan said he would talk with Brand and the team's other leader, Andre Iguodala, closer to the beginning of the regular season. Jordan was cryptic about the talks' focal point, but said that both would be "Basketball-wise and leadership-wise," and that he has a good idea about each conversation's topic.

Before last night's game, Brand said he "absolutely" needed to be a dominant player for this team.

"I'm not sure points-wise, but they definitely need me to be a dominant player," Brand said. "I look around, we have a lot of young guys, and we do have some go-to players, but I need to be one of those go-to players."

Read about last night's game on Kate Fagan's Sixers blog, Deep Sixer , at http://go.philly.com/sports.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 14, 2009


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