If you didn’t see the name on the back of Elton Brand’s jersey, or know that he is making $16 million this season, you might think the Sixers actually have a player.
Not a superstar, but a guy that can score with his back to the basket and provide some tough rebounding. After what Brand has given the Sixers in the previous two seasons, his start to this year has been a huge step forward.
“He’s been playing so well for us, he’s been terrific all year long,” coach Doug Collins said.
In an ugly loss to the Raptors earlier this month, Brand picked point guard Jose Calderon clean near midcourt and took it the length of the court for a layup. It’s the kind of play he didn’t seem capable of during his first two years as a Sixer.
“Feeling healthier,” Brand explained. “Got my legs back. That steal from Calderon and beat him down the court…point guard speed, you know? But I just want it to correlate into wins.”
Ah, wins. Although Brand playing better, he still is not a go-to guy in crunch time. And Collins knows it.
“We don’t have that guy you can go to, and I don’t say that to discourage our guys. … We really just don’t have that guy that’s going to make that play,” said Collins.
And there’s the rub for the 4-13 Sixers. Brand is making plays, but evidently not the play.