Hopefully, you didn’t watch the Sixers get blown out, at home, by the Orlando Magic. Even if you didn’t, you likely saw coach Doug Collins go into full meltdown mode in his post-game press conference.
Collins put the entire team on blast, calling out several players by name and citing an overall lack of effort and execution. Going into a nationally televised game against the Chicago Bulls, this isn’t the kind of attention the Sixers thought they’d be getting. National columnists like John Schuhmann and Zach Lowe examined some of Collins’ claims, panning his remarks. Let’s took a look at some of what the coach had to say from a numbers standpoint.
Vucevic Outplaying Hawes and Allen
Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen were two of the players Collins mentioned by name in his sad rant. He lamented the fact that Nikola Vucevic, traded in the as-of-now disastrous (but necessary) Andrew Bynum deal, out-produced Hawes and Allen by a wide margin. He certainly did - Vucevic posted a 31.2 total rebounding percentage for his 19 rebounds, compared to the 7-foot Hawes’ measly 2.8 TRB% with Allen’s only slightly better at 13.1 percent.
But let’s not forget, Collins had Vuc on his bench last year, and for the most part kept him there. Vucevic didn’t play more than 30 minutes in any one game. He was on the floor for just three minutes in the Sixers playoff run, despite Hawes being a defensive liability against Boston.
Vucevic’s numbers from last season aren’t significantly worse than this year’s. He’s jumped from 12.5 to 13.5 points per 36 minutes, while his effective field goal went from 45.5 to 52.2, although he is taking about one shot fewer per 36 minutes. Nik has shown improvement on the boards, raising his total rebound percentage from 16.8 to 20.1 While Vucevic has definitely made a jump, his advanced numbers show that he didn’t deserve to be glued to the pine last year, giving Collins little room to pout.
While it’s not an excuse for the terrible game the Sixers played, Collins may have a point with this one. In his second game back from a hamstring injury, Thaddeus Young wasn’t quite himself. While he did a good job crashing the boards, with a 20.2 defensive rebounding percentage in a game with plenty of missed shots, Young certainly wasn’t himself on the offensive end.
Thad made just 50 percent of his shots in the paint, well below what he’s done over the rest of the season. Stepping outside, Young was even worse, making just one of four mid-range shots. While he’s not a stellar shooter, he’s usually at least serviceable on those elbow and wing jumpers.
Nothing to Show?
Coach Collins’ biggest gripe was that the Sixers had nothing to show for their offseason moves. While they have gotten nothing from Bynum (actually, he’s been a detractor when you factor in how this team was built to play around him), and the other piece they brought in that trade (Jason Richardson) is out for the year. That deal wasn’t the extent of the Sixers’ offseason moves, though. With Collins mostly controlling personnel decisions, Philly amnestied Elton Brand and his $17 million salary and let free agent Lou Williams walk. With that cap space, they brought in Dorell Wright, Nick Young and Kwame Brown and resigned Hawes.
Kwame isn’t worth talking about, since he sees the floor once in a lunar cycle. Hawes has taken steps backwards in just about every facet of his game this year, and Wright’s lack of consistent playing time has been an issue. But if Collins is going to bench Wright off and on for his defensive effort, there’s no excuse for starting Swaggy P and his 108 defensive rating, no matter how explosive he can be.