Doug Collins has Big Expectations for Sixers

Doug Collins is entering his second season as Sixers head coach.

The Philadelphia 76ers are embarking on a shortened season this year due to the NBA lockout which will lead to a number of obstacles. Fatigue will play a factor as teams are going to be forced to play in back-to-back-to-back scenarios. Injuries will be more significant simply because there will be less games to recover and the importance of a win or loss is magnified.

These significant hurdles are not lost on Sixers head coach Doug Collins. The Sixers second year coach is well aware of what his team is up against and he has full confidence in his group taking a step forward this season and they look to improve on their .500 record from last season. Collins joined Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow on 94 WIP to discuss the Sixers upcoming season and to give his impressions of the team going forward.

The first thing that the Collins touched on was his second year guard Evan Turner. The Ohio State standout is expected to play a bigger role for the Sixers this season and his work throughout the summer could go a long way toward the Sixers taking another step. One way that Collins believes Turner can help is to develop and sustain his mid range game.

“We really try to break down and play to our guy’s strengths,” said Collins. ” [Evan] reminds me a little bit of Brandon Roy… Just can get to wherever he wants on the floor, can post, very good free throw shooter. To me when you look at Evan… he’s really filling up the stat sheet in a lot of different areas and that’s what he has to do.”

Turner has not yet cracked Collins’ starting lineup but his coach is optimistic about the direction that Turner is heading in.

From the moment Turner was drafted he was paired off as the backcourt of the future mate alongside Jrue Holiday. The Sixers floor general opened eyes last season and his play this preseason has kept the expectations high for the 21-year old leader of this team. Collins feels like his young point guard is ready to assert himself amongst the elite of his craft.

“I think he has a chance to real quickly be one of the top five point guards in the NBA,” said Collins.

Collins has no problem putting the load on Holiday’s shoulders despite his youth in end of game situations. “Last year I thought early in the season I put him in a position to fail early because I don’t think he was ready to do that. I feel very strongly now to put that ball in his hands at the end of games.”

Collins believes that Holiday can be a vital key to the Sixers end of game situations because of his ability to score in a variety of ways and to setup his teammates. Collins cited Holiday’s impressive performance against Miami in his first playoff game as reason for optimism when it comes to his development and big game ability.

Another key piece to the Sixers’ young puzzle is Thaddeus Young. He re-signed with the Sixers this offseason while a restricted free agent and Collins is quite pleased to have his services for the foreseeable future.

” I’m just thrilled we got him back. I was scared to death. There were a lot of teams out there that had money,” said Collins. ” I was scared to death some team was going to throw this offer at us, $11 million a year or something like that, that could of dramatically changed the way we build this franchise.”

Despite not starting for the Sixers, Collins tabbed Young as one of the main leaders of this Sixers team. He asserted that Young’s ability to create mismatches at the four spot with his speed and quickness is something that the Sixers could not afford to lose.

The Sixers open with five games on the road and Collins plans to utilize the team’s youth and depth to keep them competitive. He believes that Nikola Vucevic will be the only new addition to the rotation and the familiarity should translate into wins.

Collins went on to touch on the future of the team beyond this season. He made it clear that before he hangs it up he wants this team to be contending for championships. His goal is to continue to develop and win games and to turn Philadelphia into a premiere free agent destination like the Philles and Eagles have managed to do.

“We’ve got to show we have good young pieces so we can get a star that wants to come here and maybe put us over the top,” said Collins.

Collins went on to clarify his passion for his team.

” I love this city,” said Collins. ” This is my last hooray so to speak in terms of when I’m done here guys I want to be able to look at the 76ers as it was when I left here as a player. I want the crowd to be here. I want to be competing for championships and I want the city to be proud of this team again.”

Collins and the Sixers will look to continuing their forward momentum and their quest to regain NBA relevance when they open the season the day after Christmas against the Portland Trailblazers.

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