76ers Negotiating Contract With Doug Collins
It's a fortuitous turn for Collins, who was most closely tied to the Philadelphia opening, though he also interviewed with New Orleans. The Sixers won the No. 2 pick in Tuesday's NBA Draft lottery, leaping the Warriors, Kings, Timberwolves and Nets in the process. It is expected that Philadelphia will choose between star guard Evan Turner and dynamic big man Derrick Favors.
For fans hoping the Sixers would draft Turner and commit to a speedy smallball line-up, the Collins hire is terrible, terrible news. In the three seasons Collins coached the Bulls during the early Michael Jordan era, Chicago was the league's slowest-playing team twice and its third slowest-playing team once. The Pistons were the league's second slowest-playing team in each of Collins' full seasons in Detroit. The Wizards were in the bottom four in pace in each of the two seasons Collins coached in Washington. So expect the Sixers -- who were closer to the middle of the pack, but still on the slow side in their recent playoff seasons -- to slow down quite a bit should Collins take over.
That's not necessarily bad, given that the team's make-up is that of a defensive powerhouse. Collins is a great defensive coach. His offenses are boring, and often predictable. But Philadelphia's stars are so ... boring and predictable on offense that the boost in defensive game-planning will be more important. I doubt a Collins-led team can threaten the Eastern hierarchy, but a playoff run is in order.
It will be interesting to see what role Collins has in the draft process. Turner, an able ball-handler and playmaker who could take pressure off Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday, would seem to be a great fit. But the team is better defensively when Iguodala plays shooting guard and Thaddeus Young plays small forward. And Collins wants the defense to work. So we'll see.
I'll also be paying attention to Collins' bid for assistant coaches. In his last season in Washington, he had Patrick Ewing (now with Orlando) and Lawrence Frank (a favorite for the Chicago head coaching job) on his staff. It's hard to believe Ewing would trade working with Dwight Howard for Marreese Speights, but you never know.