FanPost

Doug Collins CAN be part of the Sixers future

I started writing this as a comment for the "Doug Collins can't be part of the Sixers future" post, but since it got too long i decided to make it a fanpost.

I'll preface this by saying: I'm sorry guys, but i disagree.

Yes, the team has a far worse record, than the one we had envisioned about the team.

Yes, the team shoots too many long twos and is often boring to watch.

And Yes, the situation where the basketball coach has too much input into player personnel is not ideal.

But the following is also true:

1. The team would've been far worse with another coach. The healthy players on the team right now, amount to a roster that is on par, if not worse, with Charlotte and Orlando. It doesn't matter who you hire instead of Doug, the results would be the same at best, and more likely far worse.

2. Most Philly fans have been mad at the front office for years for not making the right risk/reward moves that might bring the team closer to a championship. And when the Sixers acquired Bynum, almost everyone agreed that was the right move to make (and most of us still agree with it). Yet, everyone bashes Collins on how his decision making role in the team is terrible for future success. The same guy that, after decades of "non-moves", made an actual risk/reward move.

3. Everyone keeps mentioning that the Hawes and Kwame contracts happened before Bynum. So what? Do we assume that an NBA front office make one deal at a time and has absolutely no plan what to do in the future? Who's to say the Sixers didn't plan to acquire a star center, later in the offseason? Or even this summer? Maybe that's why they gave Hawes and Kwame two year deals, because they weren't sure they'd actually be able to acquire that star center in the first offseason. Who knows? We don't any of it. We don't know what the actual plan was. Maybe Doug really did want to play Hawes and Kwame, but maybe he didn't. We don't know that, and we SHOULD NOT know that. There is a reason why player personnel moves are kept secret. There are these things called leverage and players being actual human beings. And GMs and coaches say whatever is best for their team, not what they actually think. Whatever Collins said at the beginning of the offseason doesn't mean anything.

4. This to me is the most important reason why the hatred towards Collins is baseless. Doug Collins does not force his players to shoot long twos. They do that because for the most part they can't do anything else. How do you expect a team with players like Nick Young, Dorrell Wright, Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, Evan Turner and the rest to NOT shoot long twos. They don't have the ability to get to the rim (except from the occasional 15 dribbles long Turner drive). It doesn't matter what kind of a scheme you devise, they still won't be able to get to the rim. They can be good as complementary players to a dominant low post center. They are terrible as key offensive players. They can only shoot what the opponent's defense gives them. And just like any defense these days, what the opponent's defense does give them are long twos. They can't create good looks on efficient shots on their own, which is why they take the inefficient ones. But the thing with all of that is - it can easily be changed just by inserting Bynum into the team. Dominant low post centers first and foremost mean one thing - DOUBLE TEAMS. And when there are double teams there is offensive flow, and offensive flow leads to good looks on efficient shots. Double teams make offenses efficient. That's why Iguodala is such a great defender. Because you never need to double team the star wing he is guarding.

Just because I am not insane and just like a lot of you I love advanced stats too here's a simple analysis for you, that shows how much the offense of the team should change with Bynum:

At the rim

Long twos (16-23ft)

Sixers

23.6

24.5

League average

25.5

18.8

Top 5 teams with most shots of that kind (average)

30.96

13.84

All of these stats are per hoopdata.com. Now let's go even further.

- Let's project the healthy Sixers frontcourt. Assuming Bynum is healthy he would play around 36 minutes per game. That leaves 60 minutes for the rest of the frontcourt. Assuming Thad plays 36, there will be 24 minutes for Hawes and Allen. Hawes and Allen combine for 48 minutes this season, which is twice as much as they will with Bynum healthy. Hawes and Allen combine for 6.1 long twos per game. Just by playing less, the Sixers with Bynum will have 3 long twos less because those shots will go to Bynum. This of course doesn't take into account the change in usage rate which is certain to go down not just for frontcourt players, but for everyone on the team. And that would make that number even better.

- Assuming Bynum gets 15 shots per game (which is probably a low estimate but it's enough to prove the point), and with almost all of those shots being in the paint, we can conclude that all of the shots are efficient type of shots. The pace of the team in unlikely to change with Bynum which means Bynum will more or less get those 15 shots at the expense of other player's "current" shots. 3 of those should come at the expense of Hawes and Allen's long twos (as explained above). Some will come at the expense of already "existing" efficient shots. Thad, Hawes and Allen combine for 11 shots at the rim. That is likely to be cut in half with Bynum operating around the rim. That leaves us with 6.5 shots currently taken by backcourt players that will end up as Bynum shots. The Sixers backcourt players average roughly the same amount of shots at the rim and on long twos. Considering that a large amount (not all) of those long twos by the backcourt players happen as a last resort measure after realizing the possession will not end in a shot at the rim, a lot of those shots will go to Bynum. So I think it's safe to assume that 2/3 of those 6.5 shots that Bynum should take, should come at the expense of long twos from the perimeter players.

So when you take all this into account you are left with 7.3 shots that are currently long twos and should become shots at the rim when Bynum comes. And this is without even taking into account the open lanes for drives that should come as a direct result of double teaming Bynum in the post. With 7.3 long twos turned into shots at the rim, the Sixers will actually become a below average long two shooting team (17.2, league average is 18.8). Add 7.3 to the 23.6 shots they already take at the rim and, voila, they should shoot 30.9 shots at the rim which is the same amount of shots the top 5 teams in the league shoot. So maybe it's not all about Collins and the team he assembled in the offseason. Maybe he didn't envision a long two shooting team. Maybe that's the hand he was dealt with all these injuries.

Now, I agree that this is an extremely simple analysis and there are a lot of assumptions in it. That being said, it still gives a reasonable indication on how much the team will change with Bynum. While we don't know how big of an impact Bynum will have on the actual win/loss record, if at all, the type of shots the offense generates will certainly change and become more "stat-friendly".

To conclude, we as fans want our team to be the best. That's natural. What's also natural and sometimes comes along with the territory, especially after such a long hiatus from actual relevancy in the NBA world, is that we often look at moves only through the prism of negativity. We don't try to understand all sides of the facts. We just cheer when things are going right, and bash when things are going wrong. But no matter what we emotionally think, it doesn't mean that we are right. So far, Collins hasn't been perfect, but has been the second best coach the Sixers have had in the past 2 decades. Change for the sake of making a change won't fix the team's problems, as evidenced by every coach the Sixers have had in the last 20 years not named Larry Brown (and even he had some major weaknesses). Sometimes all it takes is faith and patience. We've waited this long, we can wait a little longer.

A user-created LB joint. The Liberty Ballers staff does not contribute to FanPosts.

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