Sixers' losing ways bringing pain to Collins

983673.jpg

Sixers' losing ways bringing pain to Collins

Wednesday was a day to talk about coaches in Philadelphia. The discussion was touched on the new, the old and the profession at large.
The Eagles search for Andy Reids successor ended while the Sixers were practicing one day after their record dropped to 16-23 with a disappointing 111-99 loss to the Hornets.
Kellys hiring blew Twitter up and Doug Collins could not have been happier for the distraction.
I love watching his teams play, Collins said. Its good. The Eagles are in the news. The Flyers are getting set to play. The Phillies are getting set to start spring training. I am being funny, as you know I can be.
Collins was forced to jokes to bring up some amusement because having a team that is seven games under .500 is clearly no laughing matter. It is no fun trying to explain why an NBA roster, even minus Andrew Bynum, has not managed two straight wins since Nov. 30, 2012.
While the Sixers have been unable to put two wins together for a long stretch, Collins explained that the trouble to do so begins from the opening tip.
I have always been a huge first quarter guy. To me, you set the tone of the game how you play the first quarter, he said.
We are 9-1 this year when we win the first quarter. We have lost 28 first quarters and we are 6-22. Is that our guys not carrying out the game plan and what we are trying to get started? Understanding how important it is that you cant let a team score 10 of their first 12 possessions, now seeing a big basket. Like Anthony Davis having two dunks and now those jump shots look easy to make. That is the essence of this game.
Just to reiterate: the Sixers have played 39 games this and only 10 times they have put more points on the scoreboard than their opponent in the first 12 minutes. Thats close to 75 percent of the season that they have been forced to come from behind.
Obviously, I have not done a good job getting these guys prepared to start games, Collins said. I mean, to win 10 first quarters out of 38 games. We have not done well with that.
On the flip side, if we take a lead into the fourth quarter, we have not lost. But when we trail, I think we are 1-22. So we have not shown resiliency to fight back.
It is a deadly combination. The Sixers fall behind early and are incapable of coming from behind late. How is a team expected to compile wins when those two flaws exist?
The personnel is locked in at this point in the season unless the team makes a drastic move. The Sixers lone All-Star is sidelined for at least another month with a questionable timetable.
With everything laid out in front of them, the Sixers know the only thing that can change their plight is turning their hard work into winning.
Its not like we dont do our homework and try to think of all the different options, Collins said. We do that. I think our coaches work very, very hard. I think we try to bring out the best in our guys. We treat our guys with incredible respect and dignity on a daily basis the way we coach them.
I feel good about all those things. It is incredibly disappointing that we have not been able to find any kind of consistency. Night in and night out, even if you get beat doing the right things being in the right spots, and consistently we have not done that.
The Sixers know things have only been harder with Bynum still rehabbing his ailing knees.
That one piece we were hoping would mask some weaknesses, Collins said of Bynum. But I cant dwell on that because that sounds whiney and I am not a whiner. You get out, you play and you compete and you try to win games.
Its not like Collins hasnt weathered tough stretches as head coach the Sixers during each of the past three years. There was the 3-13 start in his initial season in 2010-11. There was the 15-22 record to end last year after a surprising 20-9 start. Now, he is staring at another rough patch.
Loving this city and organization like I do makes it extra painful for me when I dont get the job done, Collins said. No one wants to do the job in a more professional or better way than me with dignity and class. And when you are not winning and things are in a tough spot, it makes it doubly hard when you have a 40-year history.
I came here to bring winning and we did that for the first two years and we are not doing that right now. That hurts me a lot.
E-mail Dei Lynam at dlynam@comcastsportsnet.com.

NBA draft profile: F Brandon Ingram

052616-ben-simmons.jpg

NBA draft profile: F Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram

Position: Forward

Height: 6-9

Weight: 196

School: Duke

For months, Ben Simmons seemed to be a lock for the No. 1 pick. There was little competition for the LSU forward, who had been highly touted for years. Then came Brandon Ingram. The long, lanky forward emerged during his freshman (and only) season at Duke to make the top selection a legitimate two-player debate.

Ingram averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 34.6 minutes per game. He scored 20 points or more in each of the fourth-ranked Blue Devils’ tournament games before they were eliminated in the Sweet 16.

Here’s the biggest intrigue with Ingram: He’s only 18 years old. After coming on this strong as a freshman, his potential is one of his largest draws.

The Sixers met with Ingram at the draft combine and have attended a private workout held by his agency.

Strengths
Ingram set himself apart with his ability to shoot. He made 41.0 percent from three (80 of 195), an impressive mark for a player his size. Ingram also shot 44.2 percent from the field. He doesn’t rely on his outside game, attacking the basket as well to create a versatile offensive package.

Ingram’s length allows him to get his hands on the ball all over the court. With a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Ingram can fight over opponents for rebounds and loose balls. On the defensive end, his size creates mismatches, including on the perimeter. As bigs expand their shots away from the basket, Ingram can chase his opponents out to the wing. 

His 2.0 assists per game don’t tell the whole story of his passing abilities. Ingram has a high basketball IQ and sees the floor to create for his teammates.

Weaknesses
Ingram has to develop an NBA body. Playing his position at less than 200 pounds, he will get bounced around by other bigs. By putting on muscle, he will be able to play tougher defense at the basket.

Ingram can improve his all-around defensive skillset. He has shown he can rebound, but his overall consistency and intensity stands to be amped up in the pros.

Ingram can also improve his free throws after shooting 68.2 percent from the line at Duke.

How he'd fit with the Sixers
The Sixers don’t have a consistent go-to scoring option. Ingram could fulfill that role as the top offensive weapon. Being only 18, he would be part of the Sixers’ young foundation they could develop over time. His athleticism would help facilitate an uptempo system that maximizes their youth to get up and down the court. Brett Brown emphasizes his desire for two-way players and Ingram could contribute on both ends.

NBA comparison
Ingram has been compared to Kevin Durant. Think long and lanky for the position with the offensive skills to be a scoring threat. Ingram also has been likened to Tayshaun Prince, who had a decent NBA career but wasn't an MVP candidate like Durant.

Draft projection
Ingram is in the mix for being the No. 1 pick. If the Sixers go with Simmons at the top spot, expect the Lakers to take Ingram at two.

Report: Rockets to hire Sixers associate coach Mike D'Antoni

052416-ingram-slide.jpg

Report: Rockets to hire Sixers associate coach Mike D'Antoni

The Sixers are losing a top assistant coach just five months after he joined the team. 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical, the Houston Rockets are finalizing a deal to hire Mike D'Antoni as their head coach. According to Wojnarowski, the deal is for four years, with a team option in the final year.  

D'Antoni had been a Sixers associate coach since last December, when the team hired him after starting the season with a 1-26 record. 

While he took a supporting role in Philadelphia, D'Antoni has 12 years of NBA head coaching experience with the Nuggets, Suns (where he worked with Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and special advisor Jerry Colangelo) and, most recently, the Lakers. The 2013-14 Lakers went 27-55 under D'Antoni. 

D’Antoni is 455-426 as a head coach. He won the 2004-05 NBA Coach of the Year Award with the Suns. He also was an assistant coach for gold-winning Team USA men’s national teams.

Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff withdrew himself from consideration for the job earlier this month, and D’Antoni has been considered a top candidate for the position. The Rockets have had four coaches in the past 10 seasons, including Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Adelman, Kevin McHale and Bickerstaff.

The Rockets finished eighth in the Western Conference this season with a 41-41 record. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Warriors, 4-1. 

Earlier in the week, Wojnarowski reported P.J. Carlesimo could take D'Antoni's place. 

Carlesimo, 66, and Sixers head coach Brett Brown were both assistant coaches under Gregg Popovich with the Spurs from 2002-07. Carlesimo also has previous head coaching experience with the Blazers, Warriors and Sonics/Thunder. 

CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zangaro contributed to this story.

Markieff Morris detained at Philadelphia International Airport

us-morris.png
USA Today Images

Markieff Morris detained at Philadelphia International Airport

Former Prep Charter and current Washington Wizards star Markieff Morris was detained at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday, according to law enforcement officials.

Morris, who was with a party that included his mother, checked a bag for an international trip when “a suspicious item” was found in his suitcase, according to law enforcement.

A secondary search of his bag revealed what law enforcement officials called “suspected marijuana.” Terminal A at Philadelphia International is overseen by Tinicum Township Police in Delaware County, not by the Philadelphia Police Department. Philadelphia airport security notified Tinicum Township Police. Morris was then taken to the Tinicum Township Police precinct for questioning. He was later released on his own recognizance.

A Tinicum Township police spokesman said the investigation is ongoing.

Morris, a Philadelphia native, is in his first full season with the Wizards, who acquired him from the Phoenix Suns in February. The Suns drafted him out of Kansas with the 13th overall pick in 2011. Morris' twin brother Marcus was drafted one pick later by the Houston Rockets before being dealt to Phoenix, where played with his brother for a little more than two seasons. Marcus now plays for the Detroit Pistons.