Coaches notoriously are in the “I will focus on what I can control” camp. If it is something beyond their control, they are not going to spend time worried about it.
Injuries, and when guys come back from injuries, are beyond a coach’s control.
So it’s no shock when Sixers coach Doug Collins plays dumb on when Andrew Bynum might return to the team, instead focusing on what the team can do without him. A quote from Phillyburbs.com.
“I have no idea,” Collins said (of when Bynum returns). “It’s all hypothetical. We’re not going to look over at (Bynum as) a lifeline. If this team feels like we can’t win without him, we won’t win.”
Philadelphia went 6-1 during the preseason. While that record matters about as a politician’s promise in the weeks before an election, it gives Collins something to build on — the Sixers need to build an identity without Bynum to start the season. An identity that likely is more up-tempo.
“We’re not waiting for Andrew to come back to decide who we are,” Collins said. “We have to decide who we are. It’s like anything else — the other night I sat Jrue Holiday out. Who are we if Jrue Holiday can’t play? I sat Jason Richardson and Dorell Wright out. Who were we with those two shooters out?”
“The most important thing you can do for your team is send the message that we’re good and we’re going to win,” Collins said. “You don’t want to look over to a lifeline. You can’t do that. From a coaching standpoint, I have to let our guys know that we’re good enough. We’re good enough to win. And when Andrew comes back, we’ll be even better. Maybe we’ll take it to another level.”
Look for the Sixers to run more and for different guys to step up — Nick Young one night, Thaddeus Young another, Jrue Holiday another. Maybe even Evan Turner. The Sixers have good athletes and if they defend well they can be solid until Bynum gets back.
Then they can work out a new identity.
In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.
DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.
Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.
Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea.com.
“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”
“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”
The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?
In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.
I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.
Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.
The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:
The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.
Clean, simple, cool — I like it.
That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)