Doug Collins was the first overall pick and an all-star for the Philadelphia 76ers back in the heyday of the 1970s. He was always well-respected here for his intensity during his playing days, and he's always spoken kindly of Philadelphia, including when he returned to become head coach three years ago.
As such, Collins has been somewhat of a fan favorite over the years. Even when he frustrates the fans, they tend to offer the usual kind caveats about him, myself included.
Well guess what? Not anymore. Not here. Not from this guy. After the Sixers lost their fifth straight game last night after falling to the Orlando Magic, I cannot possibly say another kind word about Doug Collins until he is no longer employed as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Now, I'm not mad at Doug for the Sixers losing the game and falling to 23-39 on this unmercifully long season. Hell, I'm completely on board the tanking train. This team should be more worried about securing a good draft position to stockpile young talent.
No, I'm completely and utterly done with Doug Collins thanks to his completely, ridiculously insane comments about Nikola Vucevic — who again dominated the Sixers inside with a 14-point, 17-rebound effort — whom Collins coached as a rookie last year. Here are his remarks:
Collins said the biggest change that he's seen in Vucevic's game since the Sixers dealt him to the Magic is as simple as him getting more playing time. "I saw him at draft camp and said, 'That's my guy," Collins said. "Skilled, big, strong, and got a good feel for the game. A great kid. I love Nik. When he got minutes for us last year he performed very well."
What? No, seriously, what? Is Doug Collins aware that he was solely responsible for Vucevic's minutes last year? Is he aware that he's the one who buried Nik on the bench in favor of the ridiculously soft and all-around terrible Spencer Hawes?
Sit your ass back down!
If Nik Vucevic was "his guy," why the fuck did he turn his back on him? If when Nik "got minutes for us last year he performed very well," why the hell didn't he get more minutes? The only logical response to any of these questions is that Doug Collins is an insane person. That's it. That's the only explanation. Doug Collins is certifiably insane. And he should no longer be allowed to coach any professional basketball team for as long as he lives.
Now, a lot of people like to point out that Doug can't be blamed for this abysmal season given that it's been hijacked by Andrew Bynum. Never mind that Doug had a very big hand in the Bynum deal, and never mind that the guy has a history of ignoring or stunting young players in favor playing aging veterans. The simple fact of the matter is Doug Collins has no idea how to coach a team with long-term intentions, probably because he's never coached anywhere long term in his life.
The fact that he buried the rookie Vucevic in favor of the likes of the mediocre Hawes and nearly washed-up Elton Brand is proof of that. Now freed from the insanity of Collins, Vucevic is a walking double-double machine and top five rebounder in the NBA, hauling in 11.4 boards per game. For reference, Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand each averaged just a shade over 7 rebounds per game last year, more than four less than Vucevic is averaging now that he actually plays. This year, Spencer Hawes is only averaging 6.6 boards a game, tied with guard Evan Turner, and Lavoy Allen a laughable 5.4 rebounds a game. Pathetic.
Furthermore, Vucevic has absolutely destroyed Hawes, Lavoy Allen and anyone the Sixers have thrown at him this year on the boards, averaging 11.7 points and 16.7 rebounds against his former team.
So yes, Doug, Vucevic is "skilled, big, strong, and got a good feel for the game." And now that he's getting real minutes, he's proving exactly that. Why wasn't he afforded that opportunity last season by the guy who proclaims to love him? Because Doug Collins is an insane person. That's the only way his remarks make any sense.