The Philadelphia 76ers are entering a season with high expectations and anticipation from fans. As great as that is in itself, we as fans need to look at things with skepticism, and the impact of Doug Collins is one of them.
This is not to say coach Collins is doing a bad job or anything like that. He is the primary reason why the Sixers are where they are today (who knew it was possible to turn around the team after being exposed to Eddie Jordan?).
That being said, he does have the tendency of over-coaching at times.
I addressed this subject toward the end of last season when the Sixers were in the midst of a slump. It's not that I'm ardent about the thought because I'm actually quite unsure. It's just that as fans we need to be aware and notice the flaws in the team we cheer for.
Last season the players became a little frustrated with Collins' emphasis on the basics and began to tune him out.
From the players' perspective, it's easy to see where they are coming from because they were together for a while and the emphasis on fundamentals and sparking a motor was no longer as necessary.
This reputation has traveled with Collins around the league for years now. He needs to limit what he enforces because as shown in the past, the players feel that it's sometimes unnecessary and it affects them mentally when there is a division between the players and the coach.
This leads me to my next point of Collins doing too much in another aspect: experimenting with the lineup.
This season he will experiment with the lineup because there's still some uncertainty about who will start at power forward and the shooting guard slot. Last season he went through the same process of experimenting, but it dragged out much longer than it should have.
In fact, the process was still going on in the final games of the regular season. Although he needs to do some experimenting at the start of the season, the same thing cannot happen again.
If the Sixers want to be a legit playoff force, they need to establish a set routine and not fiddle with the lineup every couple weeks like they did last year.
We've been so used to this young team, perhaps to the point where we take them for granted, but that's totally understandable. They play their hearts out, hustle on every play and truly don't care about the competition. They just play basketball.
They're a lovable team, but try to put the bias aside and realize there were mistakes made that they need to learn from. One of the worst things a team in any sport can do is get too comfortable (Phillies, anyone?).
When the slump came last season, fans were unsure what the reason behind it was. Afterward, we realized that there was a break in team chemistry and a little bit of over-coaching on Collins' part.
The Sixers must learn form their mistakes, and Collins specifically cannot go overboard in over-coaching this season.