Marreese Speights. Unless your a Sixers fan,you probably don't know who this guy is. So here is a brief history lesson for those who don't know about Mr. Speezy. Marreese Akeem Speights, born in St. Petersburg, Florida, played for the University of Florida's mens basketball team, when the team won back to back championships in 06' and 07'. During his freshman season, Marreese saw very few minutes, averaging 4 points and 2 rebounds in only 6 minutes of playing time (which is actually pretty solid). his lack of playing time is understandable, because he was playing in the shadows of the likes of Joakim Noah and Al Horford. However, In Mo's sophomore season, he led the Gators back to the Final Four, bringing home yet another championship. Speights' sophomore season saw a big boost in his stats from his previous season, averaging 14.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. Oh, I bet you know Marreese Speights now. So, the moment you've all been waiting for: 5 Reasons Why Marreese Speights is Philly's "Center of the Future".
This man is quite possibly the reason why the Sixers were horrendous last season. Now, normally I am against blaming a coach for his team's lack of success, but Eddie Jordan is the exception. I just find it ridiculous that he manages to consistantly put the Sixers in a position to lose week in and week out. You may think that I am ranting, but hear me out. On October 28th, 2009, the Philadelphia 76ers debuted their 2009-10 campaign against the Orlando Magic, who booted them out of the playoffs a season prior. This night was a night to forget for the Sixers, trailing throughout the game, losing by the score of 120-106. Their was a diamond in the rough, however, for the 76ers. Marreese Speights, out of nowhere, shoots 10-11 from the field (90.9% for the stat geeks), 6-8 from the free throw line, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block, in only 26 minutes of playtime. One would think that Eddie would feature Speights a lot more after this performance, right? Wrong. The next game, although he was in a little foul trouble, he managed to see the court for a little over 12 minutes. Bye-bye Eddie.
With the firing of Eddie Jordan and hiring of Doug Collins, we should see young talents like Holiday, Turner, Young, and Speights emerge as stars. Doug is known for his exceptional mentoring skills, already saying he hopes to make Jrue Holiday a top-5 point guard this season. He also has good things to say about Speights: "The game is easy for Marreese.He's an incredibly talented guy who is going to be a big part of what we do this year. Sometimes, he just tries to do too much, but when he understands the game, good things can happen. I'm expecting a lot from him now.'' Coach Collins is right about Speights needing to understand the game better, and Marreese believes he's the guy to help him: "Doug Collins has been around the game a long time, and he really knows what he's talking about. I really like what I'm hearing from him. He's the right guy. I'm looking for a big year now.'' Collins has also mentioned that he is "texting buddies" with Speights, so we can expect a great relationship to blossom between the two.
This slide will show you Mo Speezy from more of a statistical standpoint. In the 16 games Speights played over 21 minutes, he averaged 17.4 PPG, which was well over the average PPG's of his competition: Elton Brand (13 PPG) and Samuel Dalembert (8.1 PPG), who both averaged over 10 more minutes a game then Speights did. Oh, and I think 17.4 PPG is pretty darn good for a sophomore, especially when compared to Dwight Howard's 18.3 PPG and Tim Duncan's 17.9 PPG. Clearly, Marreese has more than proven himself when given the chance.
These two young guys are something else. Whenever I go to a Sixers game, the personalities of Speights and Holiday are revealed. Great, fun loving kids. Whether its the two fooling around with each other by blocking each others layups during their warmups, or Holiday leading Speights to the rack for a nice finish, these young guys are always having fun, and their chemistry and optimistic attitudes are a very essential asset to this Sixers team.
My closing statement is this video highlight of Speights's 2009-10 NBA season. We can see from Mo's high level of play and highly optimistic attitude that the future is bright for the Philadelphia 76ers.