When – and apology in advance to the player about to be mentioned – the coach of your team believes Damien Wilkins is one of the best players on the team.
Make no mistake – that is a shot against your team in a major way – and Doug Collins took plenty of swings (even though he doesn’t believe in blaming others) against the 22-33 Philadelphia 76ers after suffering their latest defeat at home against an absolutely woeful Orlando Magic team. It marked their sixth consecutive loss, and they are now starting to fade from being a contender to make the playoffs, trailing the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks by 5.5 games. Here are some of his revealing remarks after the embarrassing loss, from CSNPhilly: “
”I think the team that we’ve tried to put together, Gonzo, we’ve never seen. And so I think what happens is, when you take a huge piece away from it, your warts show.”
On if his players ever go to him and ask how they can get better:
“No. I usually go to them.
“And, you know what, after a while, the talk gets old. Man, it gets old. It just does.
On if his players have become comfortable losing:
I don’t know. I do not know. The thing about it is, I can’t speak for others. Damien Wilkins — I mean he’s been one of our best players since coming back from break. I told you, I did not think our guys prepared themselves during the break to come back to play.”
I say all the time … they say it’s a players’ league, well then take ownership. Take ownership. That’s all I’m asking: Take ownership of what you’re putting out there.
“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. So we started out at the break, and we come over to the bench and we’re 6-for-18 [shooting] to start the game.
On why Andrew Bynum wasn’t on the bench:
“Does he sit out there all the time? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t even know. A lot of times he sits back there and gets treatment. I know he’s going to talk to you guys tomorrow.
“You know guys, it’s been hard. I think there’s a part of this group wondering, ‘Are you gonna play? Aren’t you gonna play?’ And it’s been a tough year.
“We made a huge deal and we have nobody playing a part of that deal. How many teams can give up Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic and have nothing in return playing? That’s tough to overcome. That’s just the facts. I’m not looking for any outs. That’s a fact. Nik Vucevic had 19 rebounds tonight. Spencer [Hawes] had one, I think Lavoy [Allen] had two.”
Nobody and I am a guy who, when I have coached, I’ve always been able to find some answers and I’ve not been able to find answers.
“And from my standpoint that is very disappointing because I’m paid to do that. I want you to know, that in no way am I casting dispersions on somebody else’s fault. We’re all in this together, but there cannot be a game that you just don’t go out and put your heart and soul into the game. Can’t do that. Had an off day, we’ve been on the all-star break. There’s no reason for that. None.”
There were more than a few shots taken in the transcript above, but nothing seems to weigh in on Collins more than the continued absence of Andrew Bynum, and that’s fair. You can only go so far when your most important player has yet to suit up through 55 games, and the coach made his frustrations about the matter quite transparent. Watching his former player – Vucevic – tear his guys apart inside the paint probably didn’t help him feel any better about the situation, either.
Collins appears to be on the brink of giving up on his team – that’s what “I’ve not been able to find answers” would seem to indicate. He has no idea what to do with the group that he currently has, and there’s no bigger troubling signs for a team than when the coach appears to have had enough of talking and reaching out to his team. Whether Bynum returns this season or not, the 76ers appear to be on the brink of complete breakdown from top to bottom.
Onto other news from around the league: