Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The Sixers thought highly of Marreese Speights when they selected him with the 16th pick in the 2008 draft but I don't think even they expected this kind of production. Speights, taking advantage of extended minutes with Elton Brand out for the season, exploded for a career-high 24 points as the Sixers knocked off the visiting Phoenix Suns, 108-91. It was the Sixers third straight victory.
Speights played his best game as a pro and completely took over the game in the second quarter, scoring 16 of 18 Sixer points over a 7 minute stretch. During that time, Speights was flying through the air and had three alley-oop dunks. The impressive rookie added 7 boards and 2 blocks while playing just 24 minutes.
The Suns aren't exactly known for their defense but that doesn't diminish from Speights' spectacular performance. When he gets minutes, he consistently produces big numbers. If you extrapolate his numbers out to 40 minutes a game, Speights would score 20 points and pull in just under 10 rebounds. Not bad for a rookie.
With Brand out for the rest of the year, expect Speights to only get better. The quick development of the rookie makes the signing of Brand look even more questionable, although no one could have expected this kind of performance right away. Unfortunately, since Brand and Speights are both power forwards, there may not be room for both to get the minutes they need next season. Just ask yourself if you would rather see the plodding Brand or the high-flying Speights and you know what Ed Stefanski will have to do.