PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers have six new players on their roster. And that guy wearing No. 42 doesn’t look too familiar either.
Elton Brand is listed at 254 pounds on the Sixers’ roster, but he admitted in his Media Day press conference on Monday that it’s been “a few years” since he was last that light. And if you’ve watched Brand in his first two seasons here in Philly, the word “mobile” was not the first that came to mind.
So when new Sixers coach Doug Collins met with Brand early in the summer, he gave the power forward a goal: Get back down to 255 pounds by early in September.
When Brand checked in a few weeks ago, he was a few pounds under the 255 mark. Today, if you didn’t see his face or uniform number, you might mistake him for Thaddeus Young. His whole upper body is noticeably leaner.
In addition to slimming down, Brand took a different approach to his summer work. First, he was just happy to not have the word “rehab” on his daily schedule since he ruptured his left Achilles tendon in August of 2007. And with the advice of Collins and Sixers trainer Kevin Johnson, Brand didn’t start playing basketball until later in the summer.
“I feel the dividends from that now,” he said. “My legs feel great.”
A more mobile Brand would obviously be a better fit with the Sixers than the Brand we’ve seen over the last two seasons. This is a team that wants to take advantage of its quickness and athleticism on both ends of the floor.