Philadelphia’s Doug Collins, Boston’s Doc Rivers, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Denver’s George Karl, and Minnesota’s Rick Adelman. These are the elder coaches of the Association. They have been through the wars, know how to deal with the media, and at times, these coaches give us the genuine article. It’s a refreshing thing, to have Doug Collins explain how frustrated he is with his team and himself. He takes full accountability and expects the same of each of his players. Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich are the same way. Lack of execution is frustrating but part of the learning process. Lack of effort is inexcusable. Tired old legs make for a sloppy effort. These coaches are master motivators. And when they can’t motivate, they get frustrated. Collins has had everything go wrong this season, in what started off as an optimistic pre-season, after the 76ers signed the ever-promising Andrew Bynum.
Philly Falling: Philadelphia’s Doug Collins Gives Us Some Honesty
Instead of anchoring the defense and providing a post-presence, Bynum’s knee has gotten more press than Bynum himself. The young center has yet to see the court, and it’s looking unlikely Philadelphia makes a run at the 8th playoff spot, currently held by Milwaukee. Collins’s 11-minute press conference was revealing. Fans should watch it, if only to see the impact that this year has on Collins, an articulate and passionate man who gave his all to the franchise as a player and now gives everything he has as a coach. And the team’s record doesn’t reflect their ability. They’re still a very young and growing team, but in a difficult sports town that has lost patience with Bynum, Collins is taking most of the heat. On top of it, he’s currently 61 years old, and would probably enjoy relaxing with his grandchildren from time to time, if his players get blown out by the C-league-level Orlando Magic, extending their current losing streak to 6 games.
Collins is still capable of leading the team, but is this team capable of listening to leadership? It’s natural that the players have been dispirited by the absence of Bynum after the hype that came with his arrival in the fall. However, they have clearly not been rising to the occasion. Collins has a great young point guard in Jrue Holiday, but Philadelphia’s offense has gone missing during the month of February, as the schedule has gotten tougher. The 76ers have gotten erratic efforts from two of their talented young wings: Evan Turner (36% in February) and the up-and-down Dorrell Wright (down to 17 min/game in Feb). Nick Young (1.9 assists and 41% in 29 min/game in February) is streaky, but seems unable to become a team-player and may never become a consistent contributor. Spencer Hawes is at a measly 38% in February. Will Philadelphia respond to Collins’ honest assessment of their current state? At 23-33, it may be too late to matter.
Watch the full press conference here: Doug Collins press conference, 2/26/13