Tuesday night after an embarrassingly bad performance by the Sixers, old-school coach Doug Collins went off in an 11-minute press conference talking about effort. About being a professional. About leaving everything you’ve got on the court.
“I looked out there to start the game and three guys weren’t even sweating when we started the game. They’re going to ease themselves into the game. You’ve gotta get sweaty, you’ve gotta get ready to go.”
We talked about it and the clip was all over the Web. Thanks to the NBA’s very strong twitterverse Doug Collins was trending and the video went viral.
“I guess I was trending. I was viral and trending,” Collins joked. “What is all this stuff?
“It was interesting. I went back and I didn’t think I was hard. I thought I was talking about what I expected and as a coach that is what you do. There was nobody called out. I have never been a guy that if you lost a game but competed to your best, I was never disappointed. I have always been disappointed if we didn’t do everything we are capable of to win.”
“I was trying to get the spin on this. How was it spun that I was so hard. I don’t think I did that at all. I think the players know that. We are a big honesty group and I think our guys know when you put a Sixers uniform on what is expected, but I was shocked. My phone was blowing up on me. I didn’t realize I had been so tough.”
Collins didn’t call out names but he didn’t really have to because nobody in a Sixers uniform should have been safe.
But he also went on to say that he understands part of what has happened in Philly — a team that has lost seven in a row and dropped six games out of the playoffs — has to do with making a big trade and building a team around Andrew Bynum only to have injuries keep him out an entire season so far. Again from CSNPhilly.com.
“I think sometimes we don’t understand how that really affects guys,” Collins said. “Like the other night before we played Orlando, Andrew was getting ready to speak to the media and I said, ‘I don’t know if he is speaking or not.’ Players were getting ready for the game and the media was waiting in there for Andrew to speak. I don’t know how guys process that.
“I talked a little about it today because I didn’t read it, but someone said (Bulls head coach Tom) Thibodeau was talking about managing distractions. There are so many distractions for these young players today. They have so much on their plate and to keep focused on the task at hand.”
Collins is the kind of old-school, hard-nosed coach that can wear on a team, particularly a young one that is not winning. But the lessons he tries to impart about effort and professionalism do matter if guys want to stick, want to succeed.
It’s just hard because the Bynum injury dealt Collins and the Sixers a bad hand to play. At some point the reality of the talent situation was going to catch up with them, and it’s hard not to be frustrated with the reality of that.