The Sixers are falling apart before our eyes. A team that, at one point, ran away with the Atlantic Division finds itself 3 games behind rival Boston, and things keep looking downward.
The Schedule and Disastrous Results
The Sixers have lost their last four games, by a combined 57 points. While three of the teams are currently playoff teams, the other is the lowly Toronto Raptors, who beat the Sixers by 21 with a roster choc-full of 10-day players. They lost by 24 in a battle for the division lead, quitting in the process. With mostly road games against bad teams, plus a back-to-back-to-back on the horizon, this does not bode well, even if the opponents are relatively weak.
Currently, the Sixers have a one game lead over ninth place Milwaukee. The Sixers and Bucks have one contest left, in Milwaukee in their second to last game of the year.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated that already has been well-documented (and is wonderfully named in hindsight: Not Gunning for a Fall), Andre Iguodala gave his thoughts on basketball, Philadelphia, and his teammates. And in what could be described as “excellent” timing, he throws both Philadelphia fans and Lou Williams under the bus. First, here’s his thoughts on Philadelphia fans:
“In Philly, it’s not about who you are, it’s about what you do for us,” Iguodala says. “You could be the worst person in the world, but if you score a lot of points or win a championship, you can murder somebody.”
Whether or not he is right in this sentiment (I, for the record, completely agree with him), this is something you shouldn’t do to your home fans while you still play there. Furthermore, while 95% of the boos for him are unwarranted, he needs to understand they boo because they care and sometimes lack understanding. And you’re not going to get more support from the fans for this either. There was no upside to doing this for Andre.
And then, there’s that Lou quote:
“It makes no sense to me why so many good scorers can’t defend,” Iguodala says. “Like Lou Williams. He’s one of the toughest guys to guard in the league, but he can’t guard anybody. I don’t get that.”
While the initial response involves laughing and, again, COMPLETE AGREEMENT, it’s not the best idea to throw a teammate and fan-favorite under the bus. It can’t help team chemistry and serves no purpose other than to make a point that didn’t have to be made. Andre is a smart guy – he interned on Wall Street during the lockout, for heaven’s sake – but he needs to consider the consequences of his words before he makes them public. I don’t believe everything has been patched up, as they’d like us to believe.
The Desperate Coach
Doug Collins has shown that he can get the most out of a roster of players, if given a year. Give him more, and his “nagging” gets on everyone’s nerves. He promised that old age and 10 years away from the bench had made him a mellower person – and thus, he felt he could coach for at least the 4 years on his contract without wearing on his players.
When hearing this, the rest of the league collectively said: “Good luck with that.” Like before, Doug improved the team year 1, as after a 3-13 start the team finished 38-28 and made the playoffs. And in year two, things began to fall apart, in a fashion similar to both his previous destinations as well as the Eddie Jordan Sixers, where the players as a whole decided to not play hard all the time, routinely coughing away games against bad teams and only trying when the had no chance to succeed (such as against Miami).
And now, Doug’s making excuses. He says he’s tried to be mellower, but the players just aren’t tough enough for him. From SB Nation’s Gethin Coolbaugh:
“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.”
Oh boy, and he continues…
“We’re still a very young group, and with a young group there goes a lot of ups and downs,” said Collins. “The one beauty of coaching a veteran team is guys have seen a lot and they’ve been around a lot of coaches, and so there’s a different perspective. … Younger players are still carving their own niche, you know. They’re still carving their own niche as players, finding out who they are. And so as a coach, piecing that together is a very delicate thing.”
Yeah, we’re doomed.