SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Spencer Hawes was met with resounding boos from the Kings’ crowd when he was introduced with the Sixers’ starting lineup on Thursday night.
Not the kind of reception you would expect for a player that was selected 10th overall by the franchise in the 2007 draft and played the first three seasons of his NBA career here.
However, Hawes became public enemy No. 1 to Kings fans when he spoke out last year about wanting the team to relocate to his hometown of Seattle.
“I won't make any qualms about where I stand,” Hawes said at the time, via the Sacramento Bee. “I want to see my hometown get a franchise. There is some confliction, but I'm not going to beat around the bush about what my stance is.”
In the end, the Kings were purchased by a new ownership group and ended up staying put in Sacramento.
Either way, Hawes says no hard feelings.
“This has always been a great place to play, a great building with great fan support,” Hawes said prior to the Sixers' 113-104 win over the Kings (see Instant Replay). “The fans were phenomenal through the ups and downs, so it is fun to come back here.”
Hawes finished the game with 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Four years have passed since Hawes last wore a Kings uniform. He is now putting up career numbers in a contract year with the Sixers and his head coach is hoping to find ways to squeeze even more out of the 25-year-old.
“Offensively we need to tap into what he can do in relation to his ability to stretch the floor and his ability to run,” Brett Brown said.
Hawes has definitely showcased his ability to be a deep threat this season. He is averaging 14.8 points per game and shooting 44.1 percent from three-point range.
That percentage from long range is tops among all NBA centers and 10th in the league overall. Hawes has attempted 118 three-pointers; his nearest competitor at the position is Charlotte’s Anthony Tolliver, who has attempted 78 shots from behind the arc.
For Hawes, who at 7-1 and 245 pounds still manages to run the floor well as Brown pointed out, experience has taught him how to move around the court consistently.
“As you get on with your years in the NBA you realize it's not as much what you do on a daily basis during the season but it is the preparation beforehand that really leads to staying injury-free and being out there,” Hawes said. “When Coach came in guys took his message to heart and it is paying dividends now as we get on in the season.”