Fan Editorial: Sixers coach Doug Collins deserves big credit
As the 2010-11 NBA season comes to an end, fans and sports analysts alike are too eager to share their opinions about the end of the year accolades. The arguments concerning the awards of Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Sixth Man are sown up with Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, and Lamar Odom respectively at the forefront for these awards. However, there continues to be much debate about who will claim the prize of Coach of the Year.
Phil Jackson and Greg Poppovich are excellent picks for this coveted award, as is the favorite, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. All of these coaches deserve the recognition for the season their squads have had. Nevertheless, none of these contenders have put together a season as impressive as Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins.
There are many facets of this decision that should be understood. Yes, Collins coached a team with only a .500 record (41-41). However, the journey to reach the playoffs was more impressive than the likes of Phil Jackson and Greg Poppovich, who steamrolled through the regular season with loaded, proven rosters.
The first thing to consider when thinking about Collinís bid for Coach of the Year is his roster and its lack of superstars. Among the other teams that a week ago were still alive in the playoffs, all have one or more players that represented their squads in this yearís All-Star game. Even former University of New Mexico Lobo Danny Granger of the Pacers, who did not receive an invitation to All-Star weekend, has a previous appearance in 2009. Andre Iguodala, the Sixers captain, has star potential, but seems more comfortable as an above-average role player. Elton Brand was once an All-Star back in his Los Angeles days, however since his arrival in Philadelphia, he has been nothing more than a 12 point, 8 rebound per game player. This is an immense drop from Brand averaging 20.0+ppg and 10+rpg as a Clipper. With a roster filled with young talent, a faded star, and a passive go-to guy, the Sixerís incredible late season run has to be credited to great coaching on the behave of Doug Collins.
The next point to consider is the speed that Collins was able to build this Sixers team into a legitimate playoff contender. The development took place following the departure of Andre Miller to playoff-bound Portland. In the 2010 campaign, the Sixers had a dismal 27-55 record. When Doug Collins took over the position of head coach, the Philadelphian faithful expected an immediate turnaround. Unfortunately, the first three months were disappointing after a 15-25 start. Unaffected by his rough start, Collins helped lead the team to a 26-16 record from January through March.
The 76ers have no big-time scorer. Instead of outscoring opposing teams, the Sixers make their presence felt by playing committed team defense that tends to stifle the oppositionís offense, especially from behind the three-point line. This young teamís ability to close out on shooters has placed them third in the league at preventing the three-point shot. Collins has also gotten a tremendous amount of output from players such as young point guard Jrue Holiday and bench scorer Louis Williams, who contributed toward the Sixers improved record of 41-41.
The Sixers are one of the few teams that play hard on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Even with a young team, limited shots, and no apparent All-Star, Philly made up for these deficiencies by embracing team continuity and play execution. These strengths are all reflections of the hard work that Coach Collins has put into his latest coaching stint. All these reasons make it obvious that Collins deserved recognition as the league's coach of the Year.