Spencer Hawes taking center stage for Sixers

Hawes left Saturday’s game with a minor midback strain. However, he’s not expected to miss any time.

There’s a good reason Spencer Hawes looks different this season. He is.

During the extended lockout, Hawes got serious about his workout routine. He was more diligent with his diet and spent extra time in the weight room. He tried yoga, swimming and boxing in an effort to transform his 7-foot-1 frame into a true NBA-caliber body. His body fat is at an all-time low.

So far, it’s working. Through seven games, Hawes is averaging career-highs in points (12.6), rebounds (10.6), assists (3.1) and blocks (1.9). He also leads the NBA in field-goal percentage at 64.6 percent.
“His base is more solid. He’s under control. He’s in better shape,” Elton Brand said. “With big guys, sometimes it takes a little longer. It’s great to see. I don’t see him slowing down.”

The timing couldn’t be better for Hawes. After this season, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. It’s an extra bit of motivation that isn’t lost on coach Doug Collins.

“The guy signed a qualifying offer and he’s playing to get a big contract next year. I respect that,” Collins said.

Hawes’ improved play has given Collins another option down the stretch of games. With Brand looking older than ever and rookie Nikola Vucevic not fully ready yet, Hawes has had a key role in fourth quarters during the Sixers’ 5-2 start.

He even had the fans serenading him with a “SPEN-CER HAWES” chant during Friday night’s win over the Pistons.

“That caught me off guard a little bit,” Hawes said. “It felt good, just to see all the fans here. It’s exciting.”


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