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Predicting 2010: Marreese Speights

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The Carney signing threw off our schedule by a day, but this morning we'll pick up where we left off in the Predicting 2010 Series. It's Marreese Speights' turn today, and I'm expecting big things from the sophomore.

When I look at the roster, it's pretty clear to me that Marreese Speights should be the first big off the bench. In fact, he's probably the 6th man right now. He's going to spend time at the four and the five, depending on who he's on the floor with, and I expect an uptick not only in minutes, but in production as well.

His numbers will jump for a few different reasons, which are related, but not necessarily all positives. Eddie Jordan is an offensive coach. He brings with him a system which Speights was built to play. As a big who can spread the floor, and has shown flashes of brilliance working the two-man game, Speights will be comfortable and productive. At times, he's going to dominate. The flip side of the offensive coach coin is accountability. Had the Sixers gone with Thibideaux or another defense-first coach, Speights probably would've had to work harder for his minutes, and by work harder, I mean on the defensive side of the ball. He's got good size and great athleticism, so he's going to make a few highlight-reel blocks, but as we've discussed, the position and effort leaves something to be desired.

When you look at the stats below, you'll see that I project Speights to improve on the glass this season, on a per-minute basis. Call it one part baseless optimism, two parts osmosis. I expect Speights will play the majority of his minutes sharing the front court with Elton Brand or Samuel Dalembert. Those guys board, and they keep their guys off the glass. Let's just say there should be a different culture among the bigs this season and I'm hoping Marreese buys in.

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Right now, I'm operating under the assumption that Coach Jordan will be true to his word (and Sam Dalembert will keep his mouth shut). Meaning, defense will be the priority and Sam Dalembert will not only be starting, but playing major minutes. If Dalembert melts down and/or Jordan just decides he needs better offensive horses to run the P.O., I'd expect Speights to be the recipient of the extra minutes, and his numbers will improve as well.

Thoughts in the comments, as usual. Jrue Holiday will be next. Check out the entire archive here.