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Sixers' Reactions

Contrary to what we saw on the floor last night, apparently some Sixers are upset that they got blown out to end their season. After the jump we'll take a look at some quotes and Coach DiLeo's post-game press conference.

DiLeo, after the game:

My only response is he better not take too much time off. They're going to need him to get back to what he does best, evaluate talent, for the draft.

I will however, come out now and officially say I don't want him back coaching next season. For me, a head coach has to perform a handful of tasks very well in order to get his team to play up to its level.

  1. Motivate his team
  2. Install a system on both ends of the floor
  3. Draw up a game plan heading into games
  4. Adjust that game plan at halftime according to what's happened on the floor
  5. Manage the game (rotations/timeouts etc.)
Of the above, I'd give DiLeo a passing grade on point 3 and that's about it. He did an excellent job of managing his timeouts throughout the season, but that's kind of like window dressing. The most-telling thing about this series, to me, was how Orlando simply annihilated the Sixers in the third quarter of just about every game. SVG would go into the locker room, figure out what the Sixers were doing in the first half, and come out fully prepared to exploit it. DiLeo would go into the locker room, change nothing, and be completely surprised that Orlando had shifted focus. You can't have that, not at this level.

I'd like to take a look at quotes Theo Ratliff made after the game now, particularly this one:

"The coaches are responsible for guys [being] prepared and playing," he said. "They have to hold guys accountable. It's been that way all year, so you couldn't expect anything different."

Earlier in the story, Jasner paraphrased Ratliff's thoughts as follows:

He didn't like what he perceived as a lackadaisical approach during the day, and how that filtered insidiously into a game in which the Sixers never had a chance, never gave themselves a chance.

I touched on this in a post heading into game 6. I saw it with my own eyes. If you want to know how a team which shows such unbelievable heart in games like the win at the Lakers, or in game 1 of this series, but then comes out and gets embarrassed when it's all on the line, this is the simple answer. Winning basketball isn't just about what you do on the court for those 48 minutes, it's about tireless preparation and practice. It's about an attitutde. Especially as a young player, if you're fooling around during pregame instead of running through your reps, you won't be prepared come game time.

As far as I'm concerned, the responsibility for this lackadasical attitude falls on the shoulders of not only DiLeo and his assitants, but the leaders of the team as well. That's what makes these quotes from Andre Iguodala troublesome to me:

"We weren't always there."

"We had mental lapses."

"We had inner turmoil."

"We have a young team. At times, I think we have a tough time understanding the importance of communication as a whole," Iguodala said.

OK, so if the team as a whole has a problem communicating, it's your job, as the "leader" to communicate with those younger guys. It's your job to kill any inner turmoil. It's your job to get in someone's face when they have a mental lapse. It's your job to make damned sure everyone is "there." If you scour the internet, I doubt you'll find a bigger supporter of Andre Iguodala than me. I've written thousands of words on how I think he's under-appreciated as a player. I still stand by that. He's the best player the Sixers have, he's a top ten player in the league. As a leader, though. He has a long way to go.

Last night in the fourth quarter with the Sixers barely clinging to any semblance of hope, they turned the ball over. It was kicked ahead to Pietrus, Iggy was tracking him down the floor. If you wanted to send a message. If you wanted to fire your team up. Heck, if you just wanted to play tough, playoff basketball you would've fouled him to prevent the breakaway dunk. Instead, you went for a half-assed block, and he jammed it down your throat.

Throughout the game, he watched as Thad Young was abused on the blocks by Rashard Lewis. He stood on the opposite side of the floor checking Hedo Turkoglu or Pietrus. A leader doesn't stand there and lament the mismatch. A leader tells Young it's time to switch. Rashard tried to back down Iguodala twice in the game when the Sixers switched a screen. The first time, Iguodala stripped the ball and it ignited a fast break. The second time, Lewis didn't have the strength to push Iggy into the lane, so he wound up taking an 18-foot fadeaway instead of a five-footer. It was an airball. Coach DiLeo should've made that adjustment, but you know what, Iguodala could've taken it upon himself as well.

This Magic series was a far cry from the embarrassment of the Detroit series for Iguodala. I thought he played 4 very, very good games and he tried desperately to take over game 5 as well. He almost succeeded. As a player, I saw great signs. As a leader, not so much. 
by Brian on May 1 2009
Tags: Andre Iguodala | Basketball | Playoffs | Sixers | Tony DiLeo |