When the Philadelphia 76ers got out and ran, they were to be feared. The team won 41 games two seasons ago that way. Last season, they slowed it down and went Princeton offense with less aggressive defense. Throw in some injuries and you have the recipe for a terrible year.
Doug Collins came out in his press conference Monday and it is clear he gets it. He knows what needs to be done — this team needs to run again.
“We’re going to get a defensive-minded team, with speed and quickness,” Collins said, “You need young pieces to do that with high energy; we have that. There are players on the team that I’m going to have to revitalize a bit and get their joy of the game back.”
That would be Elton Brand. And Thaddeus Young, but mostly Elton Brand. Collins talked about moving Brand to the five spot, running the offense more out of the high post, and trying to get him engaged and energized that way.
But Collins doesn’t want this team to be getting their points in the half court.
“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,” Collins said. “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.”
Look for a lineup that has Jrue Holliday at the point, rookie draft pick-to-be Evan Turner at the two, Andre Iguodala at the three, Young at the four and Brand as the Center. Collins was very high on Iggy.
“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.”
Collins gets what the fit would be. That’s step one. Now executing it and getting the players to buy in and defend hard night after night is another. Getting Brand to play like he did for the Clippers is still another. But at least Collins gets the first step.