I’d argue the Sixers have had the worst season in the NBA.
Along with no playoffs, and a low chance in the draft lottery, the Sixers got rid of a top defender in Andre Iguodala, a young rebounding machine in Nik Vucevic, a sixth man candidate in Lou Williams and a coach who many consider to be the best in NBA. With heralded superstar Andrew Bynum injured all 82 games of only season in Philadelphia, die-hard Sixer fans were subject to a season that can be described as “Fool’s Gold”.
Bynum dragged out his injury all year after a setback occurring at the bowling lanes. Nick Young, Dorell Wright, and Jason Richardson clearly were hindered by Bynum’s absence. However, Richardson did miss a big portion of the year due to another injury. Kwame Brown has not panned out, just as many fans predicted. Rookie Arnett Moultrie didn’t get the minutes he should have, especially with the team largely out of contention after the All-Star break. I respect the gamble in bringing in Andrew Bynum. Who could have foreseen that he would not play a single minute the whole season?
Last year, The 76ers were at the TD Garden in Boston to face the Celtics in a deciding Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the first year of a new ownership. This was as far as the club had been since Allen Iverson’s magical run to the 2001 NBA Finals. The game’s winner would play, as unprecedented underdogs, against Miami for a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals. Boston won the game, thus ending the Sixers’ feel-good season.
However, Philadelphia’s first round series win over the Chicago Bulls in the NBA playoffs was taken with a grain of salt. The Bulls had lost Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to injury. Everyone knew the Sixers had no business winning seven games in the playoffs, so they took a chance on Andrew Bynum. Many of the key members of the 2012 team would not return, as the 2013 team was centered around Bynum. With Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Elton Brand, Jodie Meeks, and Nik Vucevic no longer with the team, the 2012-2013 team could not succeed without Andrew Bynum.
Many pundits were picking this team to be a threat to win the Atlantic division over the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets. Maybe they would have done so with Bynum, and reached the east finals as an underdog to the Miami Heat. However, we will never know what could have been of the 2012-2013 team with a healthy Bynum. Sixers fans never saw the true team on the floor. All the excitement was for nothing, and the season was certainly “fool’s gold”.
I give Doug Collins a lot of credit for what he did with this team. I don’t believe anyone other than him would have this banged-up roster mathematically in contention until six games left. However, his resignation seemed imminent with a stressed demeanor all year long. I love Doug, but he clearly lost the locker room at some point this year.
There are some other reasons why Doug Collins may have wanted out of the head coaching job here in Philadelphia. His son, Chris, was recently hired as head coach at Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois. Ironically, Doug’s first NBA head coaching job was also in Chicago, where he had the opportunity to coach a young Michael Jordan. Doug may want to assist his son, (who previously served as assistant to Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University), in learning the ropes of a head coaching job.
Also, Doug is getting older. God-willing, Collins will turn 62 years old in July. He is also a grandfather, so he wants to spend more time with his grandchildren as they grow up. Doug has always been a coach who uses so much energy on the bench. He even stopped wearing ties with his suit to cope with sweating! At his age, this style of coaching has become tiresome to the players and himself.
I have no clue what GM Tony DiLeo and the front office will do regarding Bynum. As fans of this proud NBA franchise, we must wait and see what they do. I still consider myself a fan of the Sixers. I trust that Adam Aron is genuinely trying to build a championship squad to tweet about. I know it’s not what the fans want after being a middle-of-the-road team for almost ten years since Allen Iverson’s golden years, but we must be patient.