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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Saturday, April 27, 2013

EXIT INTERVIEW: Damien Wilkins' leadership would be welcome for next season's Sixers ... but at right price

(Associated Press)
For the sixth time in six seasons, Damien Wilkins played for a different team.
His one-year experiment with the 76ers bore some unexpected success: The ninth-year man went from deep reserve to rotation-cracking role player to starter. Counted on for vocal leadership, he gave the Sixers so much more (with 21 starts among his 61 games played, including a .459 shooting percentage in that span – second-best on the team).
The downside to Wilkins? Wilkins, whose 18 minutes per game were the most he’s logged since the 2009-10 season, played far too much time. For a winning club, he’s a well-rounded reserve at the beginnings of the second and fourth quarters, and in instances of foul trouble at the small forward spot. For the Sixers, he was clearly stretched him beyond his means.
Not like that mattered to Wilkins.
“As a competitor, a guy who gets paid to play, I want to play,” Wilkins said. “I love the game. I work hard in the offseason to play, not to sit.”
Quick assessment: Wilkins made the league minimum for a guy with as much experience as he has. If the Sixers can ink him to a similar deal, have at it. If Wilkins elects to try to parlay his increased playing time into a big pay day, the Sixers will go in a different direction.
For a green team like the Sixers, whose leaders Jrue Holiday and Thad Young sometimes are too youthful to command the locker room, having Wilkins around wasn’t a bad thing. And Wilkins hopes teams were watching him this season.
“All of the NBA is watching,” he said. “The logo on the top of your jersey is the biggest logo on your uniform and every night you go out there is your interview.
“Whether or not I found a home here is to be determined. Once free agency starts, this league is funny, man. You go out there and play the best you can, hope for the best in the offseason and it only takes one team to like you. Hopefully it's back here, it's great. If not, hopefully it's somewhere else that's as good an opportunity.”

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