76ers Starting to Tune Out Coach Collins?
1. History is, as they say, repeating itself. Since around early March, guys on the team have struggled with Doug Collins’ coaching style. Look, we all knew at the beginning of last year, when Collins took over this young team, that he had a history of turning around young squads. And we also knew that he had (sometimes as early as the second season) a history of over-coaching, at which point his players tend to become frustrated and tune him out. The Sixers have been struggling with this for at least a month, if not longer. This has led to heated interactions, sometimes even in the middle of games. On more than one occasion, players have let Collins know — during a game — that they’re sick of the relentless nitpicking. This incessant nagging (or even the perception of it) leads to fractured relationships. The Sixers have reached the point where, at least some of them, have addressed this issue with Collins. Has it reached the point of tuning him out? At times. Collins has made an effort to try to step back, but he’s only occasionally successful. It’s been day to day. One day, Collins will release control and give his guys the reins; the next day, he’s all over every play, every cut, every missed screen. Frustration exists on both sides. Collins wants to figure out an answer, fix every problem. Many of the guys wish he would stop being so anxious and nervous — because it’s not helping.
The lockout-shortened season is contributing to the problem, because it’s game after game after game. There is no time to get in the gym and practice. By all accounts from within the Sixers, this season has not been fun — it’s been a struggle. A long, frustrating struggle. You’re seeing poor play because of this behind-the-scenes struggle. Obviously, Collins’ coaching style is a huge issue within the locker room. As players become frustrated and annoyed with the micromanaging, it becomes more difficult to make the necessary in-game changes. It’s the basketball version of crying wolf. If you’re always correcting something out of nervousness and habit, players are less likely to respond when the correction is important.