Unfortunately, the Lakers took out the Phoenix Suns in game six on Saturday night. The silver lining, though, is the beginning of the Doug Collins era as head coach of our beloved Philadelphia 76ers. After the jump, a few quotes to show you why.
If you haven't heard already, Collins met with Andre Iguodala
prior to game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. It was Collins' idea, they met at the offices of Iguodala's agent. This meeting served a couple of purposes, but let's let Collins speak for himself:
"I told him (Iguodala), 'I've got your back. I want you on the floor.' I've always found that the best players are the hardest workers. I said, 'If you work like that, I'll help you in any situation I possibly can.' Then we've got to get other guys on board, showing the same dedication. After a while, the guys who don't do it suddenly stand out. We'll sort through things, see who can be there, who might have to move on."
"He has seen the nameplate on the coach's office change several times, but I asked him to give me a chance to change things, to change the culture, to restore accountability and responsibility within the group. I've found that that's what really good players want." (emphasis mine).
The meeting was with Andre Iguodala personally, but these messages were for the entire team, and they were also long overdue. Collins is setting the tone now, before he even gets the team on the floor. Work hard, or you're gone. No more carrying guys for the potential they may or may not possess. No more half-assed commitments to the team. One common goal, work toward it, or someone else will be paying your salary.
He went to Iguodala for a reason. He's the best player on the team, he's the hardest worker on the team. He has been for three years. The commitment to the team and to his teammates has been there for Iguodala all along. Up until now, it hasn't been reciprocated.
Collins is saying "I'll set the tone, you set the example." He needs a leader, right now, when the hard work needs to be put in, he needs a guy who's going to set the standard for the rest of the team, and that guy needs his backing 100%. Iguodala is his guy, he's going to show the rest of the team what needs to be done. Follow suit, or get out. That's the message. No matter what Stephen A. Smith screams in the Inquirer, hard work and dedication are the keys to success.
It's now up to the other guys on the roster. They have a clean slate, but these new marching orders will separate the wheat from the chaff very quickly. In fact, it's going to begin in late June. Collins has organized a group workout in Philly from June 21-24. In his own words, the purpose is "to begin to plant the seeds of a relationship." If the guys on this team have any interest in playing for Colllins, they should treat it as a tryout.
I'll leave you with two quotes, you tell me who the players are. Then tell me which one you think will still be on the team when the dust settles:
- "When other guys are sleeping, I'm working."
- i hate when people say u should be in the gym and not doing this and that. hate to break it to ya but we have lives as well...
Happy Memorial Day. Things are looking up.