When 76ers players talk, Doug Collins listens

Doug Collins cut short a workout after a player suggested it.
Doug Collins cut short a workout after a player suggested it.
Posted: October 11, 2012

Doug Collins is known as a demanding coach, but he is willing to listen to his players and even take some suggestions concerning practice.

This give-and-take with players has set a positive tone at 76ers training camp.

During Tuesday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, veteran swingman Jason Richardson suggested to his coach that the team had tired legs.

So Collins said he cut practice short by an hour.

The other day, Sixers forward Thaddeus Young suggested to Collins during a chalkboard session that the team was receiving information overload.

So again Collins cut back.

By listening to his players, he is creating trust between them.

"They become appreciative of understanding that they can talk to me, and I am going to listen, and we are all going to work together," Collins said.

That doesn't mean that Collins is going soft. And while he might cancel one activity, there could be another added, which is what he did on Tuesday. He cut short the contact work but had the players work on shooting longer.

Richardson and the other newcomers should get used to extra shooting sessions after practice.

"I was taught as a young coach you can never get enough shooting in your practice," Collins said. "If you want to be a good shooting team, you have to shoot."

Richardson, acquired from Orlando in the four-team August trade that delivered Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers, is quickly becoming a Collins favorite.

The 31-year-old Richardson is entering his 12th NBA season and, according to Collins, has already emerged as one of the most respected players on the team. Richardson said he appreciates being able to make suggestions to his new head coach.

"It's probably a first in my career that I could go in and talk to the coach, and he could relate to us because he was a player," Richardson said. "He knows the grind of a season, how long a season is and how guys need some legs and need energy."

Richardson, who has averaged 17.5 points per game in his career, has been especially impressed by the intensity of the training camp practices.

"This is probably one of the first training camps I came to where everybody came in shape, and nobody is dogging it," Richardson said. "Every practice is competitive."

Collins says the businesslike attitude of a veteran such as Richardson has set the tone for the younger players.

"He has always been a winner," Collins said. "And I view him on this team as a guy who can be a very good leader for us."

Notes. The Sixers will practice Wednesday before departing for Orlando and their first preseason game on Thursday against the Magic. . . . The team will play seven preseason games in 12 days and then have eight days of practice before opening the regular season against Andre Iguodala and the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 31 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com or @sjnard on Twitter.


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