Doug Collins, Kevin Fehr

Collins calls 76ers, young players “sensitive,” “fragile”


Well, this should help his standing in the locker room…

Old school, hard-a** coach Doug Collins had lifted the 76ers up last season and this season had them on top of the Atlantic Division and playing great defense with a fast 20-9 start. Then that defense slipped, the offense tanked, there was a losing streak heading into the All-Star break and Philly has stumbled since.

With all that the top spot and the Atlantic as well as the four seed have gone out the window — right now the Sixers are tied for the eight spot and are just a game up on the Bucks from being out of the playoffs altogether.

Collin’s nature in this situation is to be even more old school, hard-a** — but he says he can’t. That his players are too fragile. Here is the quote from Gethin Coolbaugh of SBN.

“The one thing about players today is that they’re very sensitive, and very fragile,” Collins said before his team’s game against the Boston Celtics on Easter Sunday. “They didn’t grow up with tough coaches. You know, I had my ass kicked since I was six. It’s a different time, and so I treat this team very much with kid gloves. I really do, and I’m still looked at as an ogre…

“It’s terrible, I mean, it’s hard. It really is hard,” he said. “I honestly find myself during the games looking at the coach [and asking], ‘Was I alright with those guys during that timeout? Did I hurt anybody’s feelings? Was I OK?’… ‘Coach, you’re fine, you’re fine’… I said ‘OK, OK, I just wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.’ That’s the sensitivity, and the younger the guys, it seems like the more sensitive. And that’s what you’re wrestling with.”

He realizes he was brought in to guide and grow a young team, right?

A soft early-season schedule and fantastic play from Spencer Hawes fueled that early season Sixers run. But Hawes missed 15 games with an Achilles injury and has not been the same since, while the schedule has gotten tougher. The good news that is this week the Sixers have two games against the Nets and one against the Raptors. It’s a chance to get healthy get some wins.

If they are tough enough.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.