Today at the Wells Fargo Center, new 76ers coach Doug Collins spoke to the press about all things Sixers, including today's trade involving Willie Green and Jason Smith. If you want the details of this morning's trade, scroll below to the previous post. Or you can click here: Sixers Trade.
Here's everything Collins had to say this afternoon. He opened the talk with this statement, which was quite savvy: "I'm starting Michael Vick at point guard on Tuesday, just so you know." If you want to follow things quicker than we can post them on this blog (as in just moments after they're said) please follow on Twitter: Deep Sixer.
What are his thoughts on today's trade of Green/Smith to New Orleans for Darius Songaila and Craig Brackins?
"In the draft last year I said one of the things I'd love to be able to do, after we got Evan, was to get a developing big guy. To be able to find a developing big man that we could bring in here and we thought had a good future. And we feel like Brackins fits that mold. He's a very talented player. If he'd come out the year before, he'd probably have been a lottery pick. Last year he had a little bit of a down year ... very, very skilled, can shoot the ball, can score in the post against guys his size. So we feel like that now, with him, we have Spencer, Mo Speights, and Craig who are young players we think we can develop."
On the loss of veteran Green ...
"It was tough for me today because Willie was in the gym. And he may be one of the best pros this franchise has ever had ... Willie came out and he worked out today and he brought his 10-year-old son in with him today. I brought him out and I talked to him to the team, with him, and just shared what I felt about Willie and his little son was just crying. And, man, it hit me hard. It reminded me of when I got fired in Chicago, with my kids. And that was hard."
What improvement have you seen from Evan Turner?
"Evan got knocked back this summer. I think it's the best thing that ever happened to him because it gave him an idea of how hard it is and how tough it is in this game. And how, nightly, he's going to have a bulls eye ... right now, he's much more comfortable having the ball in his hands. When the guys are playing pickup, and he and Lou are playing together, he's doing a lot of the playmaking and Lou is off the ball scoring. It's interesting to me to see how I'll put it all together. Right now, he's much more comfortable as a facilitator than as a guy who has a scoring mentality. One of the things I've talked to him about is he has to have a terrific mid-range game, teaching him to play with contact and use his body."
"I told our guys today, 'Just so you know, in the eyes of the officials we're a 27-win team. And 27-win teams don't get calls.' We're going to have to learn to play through that, get to be better, so we'll get some of those calls. If we're going to look around for whistles, that's not going to happen."
Do you have a sense of if Andre Iguodala's successful summer will carry over to this season?
"I think that Andre is going to come back a totally different guy. My son Chris called me on the phone before USA Basketball and he said, 'Look, so you know, Coach K is looking for Andre to come in and be our best defensive guy on the perimeter. If he'll do that, he'll make our team and he'll be really good and he'll help our team win. If he comes in and he tries to score, he's not Danny Granger, he's not Rudy Gay, he's not Kevin Durant, that's not who we want him to be, those guys can score.' And so Andre went in and embraced that role."
"I want him to come back with that same mindset. He needs to be a slasher and defender and not depend so much on jumpshots ... he can get to the foul line and do those things so he doesn't have to live and die with the jumpshot. If we can get in the open court and run, that's where he'll be at his best. That has to be our identity. And I want him to be more of a leader. It's a great time for him to come back after that experience."
"I think Andre's excited. I told him to get away and get some rest and he and I are going to sit down and talk about his training camp schedule because he played seven hard weeks this summer. I want to figure out how much he wants to practice. I want to work with him on that, how much he wants to play during exhibition. I'm not worried about him being physically tired, I worried about him being mentally tired."
Are you concerned with not having that go-to scorer?
"I said the other day, we could be a team that our leading scorer is averaging 15 or 16 a game and we could have seven guys averaging double figures. That's the kind of team we could be. I think legitimately if you looked at it, Jrue, Dre, Thad, Elton, Spencer, Lou, and Mo are all guys who could be double-figure scorers."
Do you feel you have an opening in the frontcourt, a starting spot?
"I want all positions to be competition. I want Lou Williams to have an opportunity to be our starting point guard. I don't want him to just hand it to Jrue, because that makes Jrue better ... We feel like in the off season we haven't hit any home runs, so to speak, where it's like, 'Wow,' but we feel like we have quietly improved our team on paper and now we have to put it together."
Is Speights in the mix for a starting spot?
"Yes. The big thing on Mo is, can he play 36 minutes? Or is he better at 25 and then you start getting diminishing results. A lot of people don't understand, they say, 'If Mo Speights is one of your best five players, why isn't he starting the game?' Well, he might be more valuable to me to finish the game, to be able to play the last eight minutes and be fresh. It might be that Lou Williams and Mo Speights coming off the bench give me an advantage at those two positions that they wouldn't give me if they started. These are the things I'm thinking about as I try to put it all together and get the best out of everybody."
Did you look at this summer as your key role being changing the attitude?
"No question. I always tell guys, there's no sympathy in the NBA. When you're bad, people want to play you. You have to be ready to take on that challenge. I want to be the kind of team that, if we lose, it's because people outplayed us ... If we play every night, we'll win some games, and if we play together we'll win games simply because there are teams in the NBA from night to night that don't want to play. That's the way it is."
How did you go about changing the attitude?
"It doesn't change overnight ... I think they respect the places I've been. You really can't put a team together until you go through the fire and the fire doesn't start until Tuesday."
Is there pressure on Turner being the No. 2 pick?
"No. In fact, the one thing I don't want to do is put him in a situation if he's not ready for it. It'll knock him back farther. Evan is very hard on himself. He has to lighten up. He's too critical of himself. He might play in a particular scrimmage and a guy score on him and afterwards go, 'What did I do wrong?' I say, 'Evan, guys are going to score on you in this league. They're good.'"
"His tendency right now, when he doesn't have the ball in his hands, he's not sure the timing of when to cut. I saw that in summer league. We run a cluster action on the weak side and it's similar to what the Bulls and Lakers run ... right now for him, he gets down there and he's not sure what to do. Because he's always had the ball in his hands. Right now, he's having more success playing with Lou because he does have the ball in his hands. And then Lou likes to score, so they've been a good fit. They play very well together. In the two pick up games I've watched, he and Jrue haven't played that much together. We've had Lou and Jrue opposite and Evan has played opposite either Thaddeus or Jodie Meeks or someone like that."
You still want to play Iguodala only at the 3?
"He'll play both ... as I look at our team now, he'll have to play some two, with Thad at three. The thing I've talked to Thad about is that he can't be a mistake player. Sometimes he pounds that ball and spins and gets himself into traffic. Don't pound that ball, do what you do best. It's breaking habits ... you have to keep correcting him and I talked to the team earlier and said the only thing I'll take from your game are the mistakes."
On defensive philosophy ...
"If you viewed the basketball court as the lane is our house, inside the three-point line is the yard, outside is the fence. We want to chase people inside the fence, make them play in the yard, and keep them out of the house. If we make them make two-point shots against us, not in the paint, we think we have a good chance to defend well."
On these players having so many coaches in so few years ...
"I'm aware of how many coaches they've had. I told them the other day, 'At some point in time, we have to all roll up our sleeves and make some changes or the name on the plate and the coach will change again. At some point we have to do it together.' When I talked to Andre the other day I said, 'Dre, get away and refresh yourself and I'll see you at training camp.' And I said, 'I'm going to work with you on how much you practice.' And he goes, 'Thank you. I've played for so many coaches and I feel like every training camp I have to prove myself.' He doesn't have to come in and show me anything special. I want him to come in and do the things he does best."
On the frontcourt ...
"When I look at our big guys, our three real rotation guys would be Elton, Mo, and Spencer. And then I've got Darius for situational things and then Tony Battie. And then Brackins is a guy we want to develop."
On last year's defensive issues ...
"Last year I think they were sort of random on what they wanted to do. We're not going to do that. We're going to have a defensive system in. It's not complicated, but if you're not in the right spot when I stop the tape all I have to say is, 'Are you in the right spot?'"
Do you feel like Iguodala has an obsession with proving himself; and is that a problem?
"It is if you get out of character. You have to play to your strengths, and that's up to me with Dre. I have to get him in position to succeed. If he scores 18, 19 a game, it's because he's slashing, getting to the rim, getting to the foul line. I want him to create contact. I don't want to put him in position where he's shooting a bunch of threes. I don't think that plays to his strengths ... [on talking with Iguodala about USA team] you put that gold medal on your neck and now you're a champion and you can bring that mentality back to our team. If you are a great defender, if you are a situational scorer, if you get out in the open court and play with that passion I know you have, you're going to be rewarded for that because our team is going to be better. And now people start talking about being an All-Star. I said to him, for good or for bad, any time I voted for the All-Star team I voted for guys who were on winning teams. It may not be fair, but that's what I did."
How close is this roster to what you first envisioned it being?
"I think we've improved it. I said before I thought we had good young players. I think we continue to add to that mix. I talked to Jrue Holiday today and I looked at him and said, 'I have me a good point guard.' .... I honestly believe that this kid is such a good kid, he's such a hard worker, and he's so pure -- he's pure -- that I honestly believe that next year you'll talk about him being one of the top 5 point guards in the NBA. I think you'll speak about him in the same breath as Chris Paul, Darren Williams, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, and Jrue ... because he can play both ends of the floor. He can disrupt you on one end. He's unselfish. He's a teammate. He makes the game easier for other people."
"The thing for me is, how mentally and competitively tough are we going to be? How resilient are we going to be? If we get knocked back, is it going to be the 'Here we go, same old stuff.' Or are we going to fight through it ... that's when you find out what you've got."
How difficult is it, with Phillies and Eagles, grabbing some attention in this town?
"Last year the fact that our team was not playing well, I think being at home overwhelmed them. And it was tough. We have to show these fans we're going to compete every night. If we do that, we'll win games. And if we do that, this city will start embracing you again. But I said, 'To get embraced, you have to be embraceable.'"
Thus concludes this novel blog post ...