When the Sixers took the court tonight for a scrimmage, Doug Collins decided to shuffle the lineup a bit. Gone from the first team was Spencer Hawes, in his place was rookie Craig Brackins. I doubt this move signifies anything more than a desire for Collins to see how different groups mesh on the floor, but I did take something positive out of it.
A big concern of mine earlier in the summer was that Collins was going to use too many small lineups. He talked about Thad as a "stretch" four, and Nocioni in the same role. For a team that already has very little in the way of defensive rebounding among its bigs, going even smaller seems like a very bad idea to me, especially when he's talking about playing an undersized guy with a horrible rebounding rate at the four.
Since camp has started, however, Collins has gone bigger than expected, rather than smaller. First, he slid Thad to the three and Iguodala to the two, which gives the Sixers great size at the one, two and three in their starting lineup. Today, when he wanted to mix things up (I'm assuming), he didn't slide Thad down to the four, instead he swapped one big for another. By all accounts, Brackins impressed in his run with the white team tonight, playing the role of a true stretch four by hitting a couple threes. In his interview after the scrimmage, Collins talked about an added athletic element with Brackins at the four with that unit.
It's obviously way too early to tell, but if Brackins can knock down threes at a decent clip, and at least be a just-below-average defensive rebounder at the four, he may be a better option than Hawes in the starting lineup. I seriously doubt that'll come to pass, but I'm glad Colllins is giving the kid some burn with the front line. Get his feet wet, see if maybe he can hack it.
Here's the video of that interview with Collins. In it, he was asked about his plans for securing the defensive glass. Again, Collins dodged that question by saying they're going to have to rebound as a team. It's clear Collins realizes the defensive glass has the potential to be this team's bugaboo, if I was advising Brackins, I'd tell him to go after every board like his life depended on it. Proving himself to be a reliable rebounder could be a sure way to earn extra minutes.
Day three is officially in the books. Iguodala took part in the scrimmage. Nocioni, Battie and their toughness sat out again with ankle and knee injuries.