The games don't count until December 26th, but no one appears to have told anyone on the Sixers that.
Talking to players during Media Day on Wednesday, it was clear that this team has one objective going into tonight's game against the Washington Wizards: win the game.
"Preseason games, we're trying to win. We're trying to win every game," said Jrue Holiday. "That's just how we are, it's how we compete. We're going to give it our all and leave it all out on the court."
While head coach Doug Collins likely is glad to hear his young leader say that, the fact is that a lot more is on the line in these two games then a win or a loss. Starting jobs, spots in the everyday rotation, and filling out the end of the bench are all decisions that will have to be made over the next 2 games, instead of the 8 pre-season games last season.
So what will the coaches likely be looking for tonight? Here are some of the key questions going into the game.
* Jodie Meeks or Evan Turner: 4 of the 5 starters for the Sixers are already decided: Holiday at point guard, Andre Iguodala at small forward, Elton Brand at power forward and Spencer Hawes at center. Shooting guard, however, is still up in the air as Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner battle it out to see who will be the teams 5th and final starter. Make no mistake about it: Collins and team president Rod Thorn want Turner to win the starting job. Meeks is a player likely better suited to come off the bench, and Turner showed in Ohio State that he can be the player this team needs- a pure scorer. Turner will have every chance to win the job over these next two games. Can he take it?
* Nikola Vucevic- There has not been a Sixer's first round pick in a long time that has had as little pressure on him as Vucevic. A lot of that likely had to do with the fact that few fans can pronounce his name, let alone know who he is. The lockout starting after the draft took away a lot of post draft discussion, and really sent Vucevic into obscurity into the eyes of the fans. But Thorn and Collins brought him in for a reason- he is a solid rebounder, something that this team struggled with at times last season. It would be nice to see Vucevic step on the court tonight and show he can hold his own against NBA big men.
* Jrue Holiday- Holiday gained the reputation last season as a strong defender, and he will get a chance to prove that tonight against Wizards PG John Wall. Wall is right up there with Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose when it comes to athletic, scoring point guards. His first step is as quick as any in the league, and showed last season that if he gets going he can knock it down from both the midrange and 3 point line.
* Lavoy Allen- Players like to talk about playing with a chip on their shoulder. Well, perhaps no player in the league has a bigger chip on his shoulder then Allen, who was named by ESPN the worse player in the entire NFL this off season. Allen was a do it all player at Temple, as he was a solider rebounder, defender and had soft hands on the offensive end. But in the NBA, a player does not last if he does not excel at one thing. Allen needs to find out what that one thing can be tonight.
* Speights Trade Value- It is no secret that the Sixers are looking to trade former first round pick MarreeseSpeights, which means that he could see significant playing time tonight as they try to feature him to other teams in the league. Of course, with the Sixers first game coming closer and closer, if Speights plays well enough he could end up being a contribute on this team. Speights is the best pure scorer the Sixers have down low. Coaches will look to see if he has improved on the defensive end, and whether or not has has improved enough to remain on this team.
Follow Buzz on Broad Staff Writer Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks
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