While the 76ers prepare to embark on a season where 10 wins sounds like a lofty goal, Doug Collins is settling back into his role as an NBA analyst for ESPN. That hardly seems fair.
There is absolutely no question Collings poured his heart and soul into coaching the Sixers though—at least until he realized his time was up last December. Regardless, nobody in Philadelphia wanted that franchise to be relevant again more than Doug, and for a brief period of time you might say he actually accomplished that goal.
Then last season happened, and a lot of the good will Collins built seemed to fly out the window. Don’t expect him to be bitter about the way things shook out. A true 76er for life, Collins reflected on his second go-round in Philly in a short interview with ESPN.com’s Mark Stein.
I loved it. I absolutely loved it. To go back there, it was a circle-of-life thing for me. I went there as a player when the team was 9-73. And then to be in the NBA Finals in 1977, I got to play with some great players and some great coaches. So to go back the second time as a coach, going back to so many established friendships in the city and the fans and getting back into the playoffs, I just love the place. I’ve always loved the passion of the fans and just how much they love their teams in Philadelphia.
[76ers owner Josh Harris] and I have such a great relationship, so when we sat down and talked, I told him: “I know where you’re heading, I know you’re going to be hiring a new GM -- that would have been my fourth GM in four years -- so I just feel like at this point in time there would be a better coach for you than me.” I didn’t know they were going to trade Jrue, but I knew they were going to try to accumulate a lot of draft pieces to try to rebuild their team. So I decided to step away.
Collins also touched on the Sixers “swing for the fences” on Andrew Bynum, claiming it was really nobody’s fault how everything worked out. I tend to agree, but he sure seems to be distancing himself from having much of any role in the decision, saying ownership “didn’t want to be mediocre.”
If there is any ill will over how it the Bynum trade and his departure all went down, at least Collins is trying to bury it. He admits he’ll be pulling for a successful rebuilding project in Philly, and considering the source, that’s not very hard to believe.
>> One-on-one … to five: Doug Collins [ESPN]