Even though the NBA lockout threatens to end the 2011-12 NBA season before it gets started, Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers is preparing like its game on.
Elton Brand has helped organize a team workout scheduled for next week in Los Angeles. Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Evan Turner and others are expected to join Brand in LA. The guys will keep things all “team” by flying to Los Angeles together and staying in the same hotel.
We saw our fair share of organized team workouts during the NFL lockout, as of right now Brand and the 76ers are the first team to do it in the NBA.
“I can’t wait to see where the guys are at,” Brand said. “I’ve been talking to them all summer. They seem to be in shape already in case we get this thing going.”
When Doug Collins took over as Head Coach before last season he stressed the importance of team unity. Collins treats his players like sons, giving them the tough love when they need it but reassuring them that he cares about them as people. Before Collins arrived the 76ers, a once proud NBA franchise, had become worse than disliked in Philadelphia, they had become irrelevant. In only one season, he’s changed the culture and perception of this team, and Brand’s actions show that.
After signing a 5-year deal with the 76ers in 2008, Elton Brand had been mired by injuries and below-average play. Last season he was rejuvenated, having his best season as a 76er and redefining his role with the team.
As for Brand’s thoughts on the NBA lockout, urgency is the key.
“I can’t speak for the owner’s side, but on the player’s side, there’s definitely a sense of urgency to meet and talk,” Brand said. “As of now, it doesn’t look good. It doesn’t look good at all. I don’t think we’re going to start with a normal training camp because the numbers are so far apart. But I think as training camp gets closer, we’ll know more if we have to miss games.”
NBA fans can only hope that Brand’s tiny bit of optimism comes true.