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Tyler R. Tynes Headshot

Third Time Hasn't Been the Charm for Doug Collins

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Love him or hate him, Doug Collins is the Head Coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, and for the time being, that's how it will stay.

Collins has had his ups and downs throughout his coaching career, but in all of his stops it seems as though he gets better as he progresses with each team. This is especially true if Collins is allotted a third year with a franchise, as he's proven that he can bring results when given the opportunity.

For a coach that has held leadership for several teams, (Chicago, Washington, Detroit, and Philadelphia) he has yet to find a path towards an NBA Championship. Collins' longest occupancy was with the Chicago Bulls where in the third year they made a little magic happen.

In his third season with the Bulls as compared to his second, Collins lost more games during the season (finishing 47-35 overall as opposed to 50-32 overall a year prior), but made it to the Eastern Conference Championship where they lost the series to the Detroit Pistons in 1989.

The 88'-89' Bulls also shot a better than the 87-88 Bulls. They shot better in field goal percentage (49.5 percent compared to 49 percent, fourth in NBA), three point percent (32.8 percent compared to 23 percent, 11th in the NBA) and in FT percentage (78.6 percent compared to 75.9 percent, 10th in the NBA).

Also while Collins was coaching in his third season with the Bulls, he was using a completely revamped roster than in his previous season.

The 88'-89' are very similar to the 2012-2013 76ers under Collins' leadership due to the fact that they both lost majority of their roster in the off season prior to competition. The Bulls replaced nine players from the previous year which improved their shooting, most notably from behind the arc.

Sounds like the current state of the Philadelphia 76ers.

There was also a difference in roster swings for the 88-89 Bulls from the 87-88 Bulls as well for Collins. From experienced players such as Bill Cartwright in the low-post and John Paxson hanging around the arc, to a bevy of young players like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Horace Grant, Collins had it all.

Collins helped with the immediate progression of Jordan & Pippen, which under his leadership helped Pippen see playing time and Jordan with multiple All-Star Appearances and awards. Pippen also became an All-Star, a year after Collins had left.

In his third season with the Bulls, Collins brought the team to an Eastern Conference Championship and went further in the postseason with each attempt. After losing in the conference finals, he was replaced by his assistant Phil Jackson. Even though this was disappointing in terms of Collins' career, it was the proper starting point for a string of championships in the nineties by the Chicago Bulls and the legendary Phil Jackson.

The Bulls are important for one reason; aside from the Sixers, the Bulls are the only team Collins has had three full seasons to work with, and the only team he has been greatly successful with for more than one season in those years.

Collins coached two and a half seasons with the Pistons from 1995-1998 but was removed after forty-five games into the last season and replaced by Alvin Gentry. With the Wizards, he only coached two full seasons from 2001-2003 before being replaced.

Now this directs attention to the main issue, what becomes of the Philadelphia 76ers in Collins' third active year; one would have assumed a quick turnaround in the second half of an 82-game season since the third year, when he's fully had it, is statistically his strongest.

The thought was that with the proper adjustments, the continued progression of young players (Jrue & Evan) and the emergence of another shooter, the Sixers could have made a playoff run.

That has turned from an attainable goal to a twisted and unrealistic attempt at a fantasy in the eyes of Sixers fans.

Following a press conference Tuesday night after a loss to the Orlando Magic, it was evident that Collins had officially lost control of his team. Collins stormed off the court before the final seconds finished from the clock during the losing effort at the Wells Fargo Center. He had never been more frustrated with his roster.

Although there is plenty of blame to place on a roster that seems unmotivated to play basketball, there is also plenty of blame to fall on a coach that the Philadelphia front office gave final say on personnel control over.

Collins brought in former first-rounder Kwame Brown during off-season, a player that has never and will never be relevant in the National Basketball Association. He called for the re-signing of Spencer Hawes, due to the lack of size in the frontcourt. There was also the acquisition of a seven footer that still has yet to see the hardwood that's lingering over the heads of the front office.

Doug Collins knows basketball better than most people in the world, there's no disputing that. However, the ability to lead and motivate a roster seems to be a skill that the 61-year old teacher has yet to master and at this point of the season he may have just bought the first ticket out of Philadelphia.

Collins helped bring in a roster that some believed could have challenged the Miami Heat on paper in the off-season as long as Andrew Bynum was healthy. They have since fallen from printed grace and into the dog house of every fan walking Broad Street after each home stand at Wells Fargo Center.

As a season full of nonchalance and unmotivated six footers dawning red, white and blue starred jerseys come to an end, it also seems like it's the end of the Doug Collins era. Time for the Front Office to clean house.

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