Posted by: Tom Sunnergren
08/24/10 10:19 am EST

Mo Speights has had an interesting career arc.

He showed All-Star potential flashes his rookie season (his PER was so high that February that it called into question the validity of PER as a performance metric) and then faded pretty badly down the stretch (not uncommon when someone used to doing something 35 times is suddenly supposed to do it 82). 

He then came out of the gates hot his sophomore year before partially tearing his left medial collateral ligament in game ten (He was averaging a super-efficient 13 points and 6.4 rebounds at that point, sported a 0.215 WP48, and looked poised to make “the leap”), and when he returned never quite re-found his swing (He finished with a WP48 in the negative, mostly because he went from shooting 64 percent at the rim to 55.8 percent and started to attempt 20 footers –which in his defense went in more often than you would expect them to, though not necessarily often enough to justify taking them).  At best, he’s moving sideways.

But despite his tough year, the Sixers, as evidenced by their trade of Dalembert, are clearly counting on him to contribute.  Is that unreasonable?  Maybe not.  He’s young, and if he’s healthy – which he assures us he is – Speights has a chance to be a very productive basketball player.  If the 7-6 are going to get even within shouting distance of the playoffs (so Iguodala can yell “Please take me with you” to the Heat) they’re going to need a big season from the Big Mo.

Last night the big guy in question was generous enough to put aside some time, tolerate an incredibly lousy connection, and talk with Philadunkia from Las Vegas, where he’s hard at work training for the upcoming season.  Hopefully what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Mo Speights on his summer…

Well, I’m in Vegas right now.  Tayshaun Prince, “Big Baby”, and a few others are here too.

I’ve been working with Impact Sports to get my leg stronger.  Getting in the gym.  I want to improve defensively, but I haven’t really been working on anything specific in my game.  I’m just trying to get better all-around.

On his weight…

I’ve changed my eating habits.  I cut down on fried foods, cut down on junk food.  I’ve been eating lots of seafood.  Lots of vegetables.  I’ve been eating a lot of grilled foods.

On his struggles from ’09-10…

It was injuries.  I started out really good.  First few games I had improved from (his rookie season). Then my knee got hurt. So it was injuries, but I also wasn’t getting consistent minutes when I came back. So it was a lot of things.

On taking more jumpers in ’09-10…

It’s part of Eddie Jordan’s offense –you shoot it if you’re open.  I’m working now to put the ball on the floor a little bit better.  My rookie year I was getting a lot of lobs, a lot of looks inside, that last year, now that defenses knew me, I wasn’t getting.

I’m not going to be taking too many of those (deep jump) shots this season.  This year I’m just gonna play basketball.

On having a third head coach in as many seasons…

All the coaches are totally different, but it’s a business.  You get used to having different coaches.  The front office made the decision, and any decision they make is ok with me.  This is a business.

On Doug Collins…

I speak with him a lot.  He’s a good communicator.  He knows a lot about the game and has been around the game for a long time –and he gets respect for that in our locker room.  He’s played the game and coached the game before….He’s said he expects me to be one of the best young players in the league.

On his goals for the coming season…

I want to win more games. Individually I want to become a better player.  Get a little better every game. Never take any nights off.

On who will be starting at center…

I have no idea.  Nobody knows anything till after training camp.  Like coach Collins told us, we won 27 games last year, so we’ve got no starters.

On Evan Turner…

I’ve only played with him in the summer league.  That doesn’t compare to the season.  He was doing good things in the games though.  He fits in good with the team.  It was me Jodie (Meeks) and Jrue (Holiday) with him.  He was talking, communicating, trying to be a leader.

On the Dalembert trade…

I can’t say if it was the right or the wrong move, but last year we won 27 games.  He got a lot of rebounds, but we won 27 games.

On his knee…

I got hurt.  It happened.  I’m 100 percent now though.  I’m just going to keep improving.

His prediction for this season…

More than 27 wins.

Philadunkia will have more from Mo when he returns from Vegas in a couple weeks.


One Response to “SUMMER MO’”

  1. WPSN
    30. August 2010 at 03:35

    I like Mo’s game, but I wish he were working on a signature move by now. I’m glad he’s got a desire to get better and the Sixers need solid production from him in order to win more than 27 games. He seems to be growing up a bit. Let’s hope it was the knee holding him back and not him relying on his rookie year success. Another thing I notice lately is that none of the 76ers personnel come out and say what a true talent Turner is, and after a disappointing summer league I’m hoping he’s not going to be a bust. I am a huge fan of Turner’s and hoping he’s the franchise face for years to come, but something seemed weird about how he looked and played this summer.

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