HE TALKED THE TALK; WE PRAY HE CAN WALK THE WALK

Posted by: Philadunkia
05/26/10 10:49 am EST

It’s not secret that Doug Collins was not our first choice to be the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.  This isn’t and anti-Collins thing either.  We actually like Doug as a player, coach and broadcaster.  We simply felt for numerous reasons that better head coaching candidates were available to the Sixers. 

 Still we have to admit that Ed Stefanski could have done much worse then landing Collins and after his press conference down at the Wachovia Center on Monday, we starting to think that even though he wouldn’t have been our first choice, that Collins will get the Sixers back on track. 

In fact at times we felt like Collins was reading our minds as he addressed the ills that sunk the 2009-10 season for Philadunkia’s home team.  For this post, we re-examined Collins press conference from Monday and pulled out several things Collins said that we really liked and provided some Philadunkia commentary on the topics.  Of course the key to Collins success here in Philadelphia will be backing up Monday’s words up with action.

 

Collins…

“This has to be a team that wins with their defense and when they played and were the 41-win team they got in the open court and got easy scores so their shooting wasn’t so much a liability. When you get into a half-court game, you don’t have great shooting. Coaches are very smart in this league and they know who to leave open. For me, I want to have a high-energy, very intense defensive team. If you look at my record, most of my teams have been very good defensively. It’s something we work on every day in practice. It’s something that becomes our calling card and keeps us together in tough times.”

Philadunkia React…

Hallelujah.  This type of mentality will be a welcome change from the play ole’ defense and try to “outscore everyone” mentality that existed under Eddie Jordan last year.  Hopefully by instilling the defense first mentality that NBA Championship teams are built on, Collins will be able to keep Iguodala– a player who actually cares about defense – from pouting all year while his teammates (except Holiday) commit every defensive sin known to man. 

Collins…

“I think Thaddeus last year never got comfortable where he was playing. I know he’s a little bit of an undersized forward, but I think that’s where his best match-up is because the game has gone to almost an international game now. Where you have one post player and four perimeter guys and you have a drive and kick game. Your four man stretches the floor. You see a Lamar Odom, a Rashard Lewis, a Dirk Nowitzki; these guys are perimeter players. To me when Andre [Iguodala] is a two and Thaddeus [Young] is a three, they are both out of position. To me Thaddeus [Young] is a four and Andre [Iguodala] is a three. Those two guys play very well together, they’ve won 41 games, they got out on the floor, they ran the open court and played to their strengths. I thought last year it just didn’t fit for them.”

Philadunkia React…

This is a point we argued all year during the train wreck that was 2009-10.  Simply put, the Sixers are most dangerous with Iguodala at the three and Thaddeus at the four.  In today’s NBA game the player who runs at the 2-spot needs to be a highly skilled outside shooter, which Iguodala is not.  Your 4-man must be skilled at going to the tin and be a threat on the perimeter as well.  The easiest way for the Sixers to achieve this more effective lineup is to find a two-guard via the draft or trade, then slide AI9 to the three and play Thad at the four.

The following question was posed to Collins, “If you had to pick one component that this team is lacking, is it the killer two guard?”

Collins…Yeah, were also lacking toughness. Mental and physical, we have to add toughness. To me it’s one of the most underrated skills.”

Philadunkia React…

Again this was something we talked about at length in 2009-10.  The Sixers lacked a physical presence, heart and mental toughness from the jump and these deficiencies only got worse as EJ became a lame duck head coach and the season slid into the toilet.  The Sixers did not protect the lane at all in 2009-10 and teams rolled down the paint like they owned that section of floor.  Give a hard “playoff foul” once a week to get the message out across the League that you will protect the tin at all costs and foes will thinks twice about cruising to the bucket.  Outside of Holiday and Iguodala, no one played any on-ball defense in 2009-10.  In our minds that aspect of basketball takes heart and desire character traits that were not owned by most of the Sixers last year.  When things would go wrong or calls wouldn’t go their way, the Sixers would sulk or turn on each other instead of being mentally tough, staying together, adapting and overcoming the challenges they faced.  We wish Collins all the luck in the world in this department because he’s going to need it.  Giving this current roster of cupcakes a hard edge will not be an easy task.

Collins…

“This city loves pro basketball. This is one of the signature franchises in the NBA. We need to get back and relevant. It’s not going to be knee-jerk because if it’s quick it won’t last. We have to build something that’s going to last. Something with a core of seven, eight, nine years and see how that plays itself out. When you start making those quick fixes, it doesn’t last.”

Philadunkia React…

Sniff, sniff, cry and in a choked up voice we say, “You had us at relevant!”

Collins…

“That doesn’t work. You can’t just take this group and play this way. What you have to do is say ‘what do I have and how can I build around that?’ Every year that I’ve coached, I’ve run almost different system because I’ve never had the same team. That’s what coaches have to do. They have to adjust and play to their different personnel.”

Philadunkia React…

Every great coach from high school ball to the NBA knows this fact.  No matter how successful your system has been in the past there will be times when you need to tweak it or flat out dump it in order to adjust to your current roster and maximize their talents.  Rare are scenarios like that of Phil Jackson’s where a coach is continually blessed with rosters filled with players of elite talent and high basketball IQ so that he never has to deviate from his system over the course of a long coaching career. 

Collins…

“(On Iguodala)…I want him to think about being a first-team all-league defender at the three spot. I think the three-spot is his best spot and I think he has an advantage there in speed. He’s strong and you haveto get him going to the basket. I don’t want him to have to live on 17 or 18-foot jump shots. I want it to be something he can do, but I don’t want him living on that. I want him getting to the foul line more. I looked at his numbers last year, I think 305 three’s, a little over 400 free throws. I’d like that to be 200 threes and 500 free throws, and then I know he’s attacking and getting to the rim.”

Philadunkia React…

The defensive side of things should be a rather easy task.  Iguodala works hard on defense and takes pride in that element of his game, so for him to ratchet his game up a notch on that end of the floor will not be huge stretch.  We agree with Collins 100% that AI9 needs to shoot less 3’s and drive the ball more as his skill set is more suited for that style of play.  Plus last year Iguodala was dead last in the NBA in shooting percentage (31%) among players with 300 or more 3PAs and the days of him hoisting 300 or more 3PA needs to stop.  However getting AI9 to strike a better balance between 3PAs and drives to the tin will not be so easy.  In an effort to become a better all-around offensive threat, AI9 has spent the last couple of summers working very, very hard to improve the form on his jumper and his 3-point shooting.  The result for Iguodala has been a new found confidence in his outside game that has produced a love affair with his three point stroke even though the stats say he has not improved as an outside shooter.  It will be a tough task for Collins to successfully convince AI9 to take a step back, focus on scoring off the bounce more and getting to the FT line more without bruising Iguodala’s ego. 

Collins…

“What you need is accountability and responsibility and guys that are on time everyday, they come to practice, they do their work, and they get a joy from that. Every place I’ve even been we set the guideline of how were going to do things and I don’t ever have players who are late and miss planes. They’re on time for practice because they know that if they’re not they don’t fit in.”

Philadunkia React…

Heads up Sammy Dalembert, the days of strolling in late to practice without your basketball kicks and not a clue as to what the game plan is for the next opponent are now officially over.


 
 
 

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