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News » Speights aiming to shoot first in 76ers' new offense

Speights aiming to shoot first in 76ers' new offense

Speights aiming to shoot first in 76ers' new offense Right now, more than any other option, second-year big man Marreese Speights is looking for his shot.

Maybe it's because it's the best option for him in 76ers coach Eddie Jordan's new Princeton offense. It's better than running a dribble weave he's still unsure of, better than making a backdoor pass to a cutter who might not be open.

But mostly it is because the 6-foot-10 Speights is exactly what he is: a scorer.

In Friday night's 93-92 preseason win over the New Jersey Nets - the Sixers' third victory in as many games - Speights scored 16 points, including 10 in the second half. In 22.0 minutes per game this preseason, he is averaging 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Yesterday, the Sixers held an open practice at the Spectrum. The team has today off and will practice tomorrow before Tuesday night's preseason game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

For much of the preseason so far, Speights has been just another guy on the floor for these Sixers , not necessarily drawing attention as the up-and-comer he might be. Last season, he averaged 7.7 points a game on 50.2 percent shooting from the field.

"I'm not really worried about none of that under-the-radar kind of stuff," said Speights, who did not play much until his senior season at Florida. "I'm just going out there and playing Basketball. It doesn't really matter if people talk about me or anything like that."

Speights plays both power forward and center but said he prefers the latter, mostly because the ball is often worked through the post.

"Mo has a knack offensively, he can just score the Basketball, he's always around the Basketball," said Ed Stefanski, the Sixers' president and general manager. "His teammates tease him about not throwing the ball to them sometimes. He likes to score . . . but I can see in practices and [against the Nets] he did not take any rushed shots or selfish shots."

Speights is working every day before practice on understanding the center's role in the Princeton offense.

"We know he can pick-and-pop and take that 15-footer," Stefanski said. "Before practice every day, [assistant coaches] Randy Ayers and Mike O'Koren are working on his footwork, working on his reads down low."

Speights called himself "a big man who scores."

"Whenever I get the ball, I look to score first, then pass," said Speights, describing his instructions from Jordan.

Stagnant scoring. Stefanski said that clearly the offense struggled in the first three quarters of Friday's game.

The Sixers scored 55 points in the first three quarters, 38 in the last.

"I don't know if we're at a good spot; I know we need to work at it," Stefanski said. "The execution and timing are not there yet - setting screens, I think people are thinking as opposed to running the offense. But that's only natural . . . with an offense that is more complicated than a typical NBA set."

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 12, 2009


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