Rod Thorn is nearly out of the door as the Philadelphia 76ers‘ general manager. I have nothing more to say than “good riddance”, seeing as I am a vociferous critic of the team’s puzzling decisions from the last three offseasons.
But many people ask, “What about head coach Doug Collins?”, who has made it to the playoffs in both seasons he’s been here and gone 8-10 in playoff games, a respectable record. Even though the Chicago Bulls were missing Derrick Rose, it’s safe to say that the Sixers did something special by winning in the first round and then taking Boston to the brink in round two of last year’s playoffs.
Even though he’s led this team to a 76-72 regular season record, I still think Collins will need to do more to retain his job and the favor of the Philadelphia fanbase.
I’m in favor of a 76ers youth movement, which will almost definitely lead to a worse record in 2012-2013, but that doesn’t mean Collins can’t coach well. Many of his decisions in the past—sitting Evan Turner in favor of Jodie Meeks large among them—haven’t sat well with me, and the fallacy that the 76ers would be lost without him frustrates me.
It’s as if people forget that Andre Iguodala is an All-Star and Team USA member, Jrue Holiday made it onto the USA Select Team and All-Sophomore squad, Evan Turner is a former No. 2 pick and Elton Brand was once hailed as the best power forward in the league. Not to mention their bench was loaded with capable sixth men Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams.
Collins’ decisions, not the team’s success, will loom large in whether new owners Joshua Harris and Adam Aaron decide to retain him after this season. His contract expires after this season but has a club option for 2013-14, which just exacerbates the situation.
Decisions that would be a turn-off for many would be keeping Kwame Brown playing starters’ minutes, playing Dorell Wright in favor of Maurice Harkless and starting Nick Young over Evan Turner.
The Sixers, who will likely fall in the first round if they make the playoffs, should have one goal in mind in 2012-13: the development of their young players for a deep playoff run next season.
Collins is in control of at least part of his future, which is something not many coaches have the luxury of being: If he does what is best for the team—sitting guys like Brown in favor of younger, more talented players like Moultrie, even if it means a couple less wins—he will likely be re-upped and also have a squad that has the talent and maturity to make a deep playoff run two years in the future.
But first, he has to make it out of this season alive.