Collins juggles Sixers' lineup once again

Posted: April 11, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. - In his business world, Sixers owner Josh Harris refers to change as intelligent risk. That's what coach Doug Collins hopes he is taking by changing his starting lineup yet again.

Tuesday night against New Jersey, Collins used a starting lineup that included rookie center Nikola Vucevic and shooting guard Jodie Meeks in place of Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner. Meeks returned to the place where he began the season and stayed for 40 games before getting replaced by Turner just after the All-Star break. Hawes, who has struggled for the most part since returning from his Achilles' injury, came off the bench for the first time all season. Vucevic played well enough in Boston on Sunday to regain his coach's confidence.

"As I said before, that lineup had just not been playing well together," Collins said. "It's not anybody's fault. When I changed it before, Jodie had not done anything [wrong]. We had lost some games, so I changed it to see what was going to work.

"I said after the Orlando game [Saturday] that if I didn't like what I saw in Boston, I was going to try to make some changes. So we're going to start Jodie and then I'm going to start Nik and what I'm hoping is that Evan and Spencer and Lou [Williams] and Thad [Young] will be a really good group together. I'm hoping that Jodie will run ahead of the ball and he'll give us the speed and then Jrue [Holiday] and Dre [Andre Iguodala] can make their plays. It will give us more thrust on our break and hopefully we're going to get seven or eight or nine guys playing well here together. The whole intent is we have to find more guys playing well together."

The Sixers have been mired in a scoring slump of late, having averaged only 83 points in the four games before Tuesday, all losses. Part of the reason, according to Collins, is that they weren't able to get out on the fastbreak as well as needed, and too often Holiday, Iguodala and Turner were coming back for the ball after a rebound instead of running out.

The move undoubtedly won't sit well with Turner or Hawes, but that's OK with their coach.

"Anytime [you're taken out from starting] you're going to be a little disappointed," Collins said. "I wouldn't want you to not be disappointed. I wouldn't want you on the team. But they're very strongly in favor of doing whatever we have to do to win.

"I talked to Josh Harris [Tuesday], and when you're going through some losing or whatever, sometimes the thing to do is just stay status quo and say, 'Let's hope this works itself out.' Or you can try to make some changes and you do that by thinking long and hard about it. You don't do it by reacting to losing, you don't panic. You ask, 'Can this possibly help our team?' Josh had a great thing: He said in his business, it's called intelligent risk, and in life that's what you have to take, intelligent risks. I don't know whether it's going to work or not. We've got to hope that we'll find a little bit of good mojo here and start playing a little bit better."

Collins on Fredericks

When his playing days were over, Doug Collins knew he wanted to stay in the game somehow. When he wasn't coaching, he was an analyst for television and radio broadcasts. His first radio partner was Steve Fredericks, who died on Saturday at 72 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

"I always enjoyed being with him," Collins said. "A funny story about him is he would ask you a question and then, during the answer, he would take his headset off and listen to somebody else. I said, 'Do you know how many times I could have hung you out there if I wanted to? You have no idea what I'm saying right now.' Steve was great. He was fun to work with, always energetic, very passionate about what he did, and we had a good time together . . .

"I lost my first TV partner, Andy Musser, this year and now my first radio guy in Steve. It makes you think about your own mortality. That's why you don't ever let anybody steal your joy."


Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com.. Follow him on Twitter @BobCooney76. Read his blog at www.philly.com/Sixerville.

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