Philadelphia 76ers head basketball coach Doug Collins has decided to resign as Sixers head coach following last night’s conclusion to the 2012-13 season. It’s been a tough year for the Sixers after Andrew Bynum, a center acquired in a blockbuster trade that cost the team all-star guard Andre Iquodala, missed the entire season due to knee problems.
Collins is an intelligent man and a hard worker, but it seems that he lost the ability to connect with his players at some point this season, once quite pointedly throwing his players under the bus after a loss.
Collins certainly shouldered the blame for the disastrous Bynum trade—which I still believe was the right move at the time. In the NBA, it’s almost impossible to attract top-level talent if you don’t already have talent, and Bynum is the sort of player who, if healthy, could have attracted other stars to Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the team Collins had without Bynum was mediocre. They overachieved to make the NBA quarterfinals in 2012, but that was misleading because it included a playoff series victory over a Chicago Bulls team that had just lost its top player (Derrick Rose). So I don’t blame Collins for shaking up a team that had already reached its ceiling and taking a risk on Bynum (who had known knee problems). It didn’t work out, but it’s not like the Sixers would have won the NBA championship if they had not made the trade.
It seems that Sixers players were no longer responding to Collins’ coaching style, so he probably had to go. But Collins deserves credit rather than blame for supporting the gutsy trade for Bynum. If he remains in the Sixers front office as some have speculated, hopefully he will maintain that aggressive instinct in signing personnel.