The Sixers head coach was joking about the stir created by his comments following Philadelphia’s dispiriting home defeat Tuesday evening at the hands of Orlando.
“I said, ‘Man, what is all this stuff?’ You know, it was interesting. I went back and I went, wait a second. I didn’t get the slam. I didn’t get being hard, all that kind of stuff. I thought I was just talking about sort of what I expected and I think as a coach, that’s what you do. I mean, there was nobody called out. I just spoke,” he explained. “I think I gave you two examples. I’ve never been a guy that if you lost the game and you competed to your best, that I was ever disappointed. I’ve always been disappointed if I felt like the team didn’t do everything we could to win, so I was trying to get the spin on this, about how this was spun that I was being so hard. But I don’t think I did that at all. I think the players know that. We’re a big honesty group about I think that’s what you need to do and I think our guys know what’s sort of expected when you put a Sixers uniform and how you have to play.
“But I was shocked. My phone was blowing up on me and stuff like that. I didn’t realize I’d been so tough.”
The Illinois native, Illinois State product and ex-Bulls head coach also discussed the hottest topic in Chicago: Derrick Rose and his ongoing recovery.
“The Chicago Bulls have a tremendous investment in Derrick Rose and you want to make sure that this young guy is ready to go. I think we take a guy like Adrian Peterson and we see this guy rehab, was back and playing football, and you kind of expect everyone to have the same timetable. Knees are different. Every player is different. Everybody’s game is different,” the former Bulls head coach said. “Derrick is an explosive player. He plays in the lane. He’s landing in a lot of bodies and a lot of congestion, and more importantly, he’s going to have to be very confident when he plays, about being able to explode off that leg, being able to come down in a crowd, do the things he has to do. Jerry Reinsdorf and the Bulls organization, they’re not short-sighted people. They don’t do that. They view the big picture. I think they feel like they have a franchise that has a chance to be good for a long, long time and Derrick Rose is the guy who’s going to make that special, so I totally understand. I had knee injuries.
“Maybe sometimes, I’ve had to come back [from knee injuries as a Sixers player] and they sent me back too soon: ‘If this guy can do it in eight [months], I can do it in seven.’ It doesn’t work that way.”
Collins compared the Bulls’ situation to Philadelphia—All-Star center Andrew Bynum, after the Sixers acquired him in an offseason trade, hasn’t played all season—and discussed how an injured star can affect his healthy teammates.
“I think sometimes, we don’t really understand how that really affects guys. Like the other night, before we played Orlando, Andrew was getting ready to speak to the media and I told them, ‘I don’t know if he’s speaking tonight.’ But our players were getting ready for the game and the media was all getting ready for him to speak, and I don’t know how guys process that, I really don’t,” he said. “There’s so many distractions for these young players today. They’ve got so much on their plate and to keep focused on the task at hand, and you have to think about it. For Derrick, I thought for sure he was going to play tonight. Got hurt against Philadelphia, come back against Philadelphia, game on TNT. I could just see him running out with the adidas commercial tonight. But for us, it’s a little different. We traded three guys to get a guy who hasn’t played all year, so our circumstance is a little different. I mean, the Bulls have a player who’s injured, but he’s been there the whole time. Our guy sort of came in [injured] and so, the dynamic’s a little different. We gave up a lot in that trade and that’s been tough.
“[Bynum] played the 5-on-0 Friday…I think I saw him yesterday and still, he hadn’t been able to do anything yet,” Collins continued. “I know it’s very tough on Andrew. It’s very, very tough. He wants to play.
“We traded for him to come in here and play. He hasn’t been able to play and that’s hard. That’s hard on him and it’s hard on everybody, and so, I feel badly for him.”