It’s been a couple of weeks since the Philadelphia 76ers (34-48) ended their season with a 105-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Doug Collins is out as Head Coach and Jrue Holiday is the assists leader for the Eastern Conference. That’s about all there is for the good news. That’s not really the truth, but there’s not much to be happy about with the 2012-13 76ers.
There’s no better way to describe the Philadelphia 76ers (34-48) season then to call is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace because “disappointment” just doesn’t cut it when you’re looking back over the course of the past season as a whole. “Disgrace”, some might say, is too harsh of a word, but I’m not one of them. Disgrace means a person, act, or thing that causes shame, reproach or dishonor. I feel all of those towards the 76ers organization, overall but not each individual piece.
In sitting here the past week and trying to figure out what went wrong, I’ve spent a lot of time just looking at the 76ers roster and wondering how they could have been better. Most people would assume that you start with Andrew Bynum, his bad knees, poor attitude, lack of care for basketball and love for bowling as the reason the 76ers didn’t meet their expectations this season. Those people would be wrong.
The 76ers problems start at the top and I don’t mean Tony DiLeo and Adam Aron, although they both had hands in this teams failure. Doug Collins has been called a “great coach” and a “great man” but he’s neither. He’s never won anything as coach. He’s never won anything as a player either. The sad part is that the people of Philadelphia continue to live in a dream world when it comes to people that have any sort of ties to the city and their teams. As Collins was the former #1 overall draft pick in 1973 of the 76ers, people love his spirit and competitive nature. What they don’t look at is that Collins is a loser.
I watched the opinions of “loyal” 76ers fans who were saddened to see Collins announce that he was leaving. They were hurt that he didn’t get a chance to win the title this year because Andrew Bynum prefers to bowl. They were upset that the 76ers missed the playoffs because Jason Richardson couldn’t provide veteran leadership from the injured list. They were upset that Kwame Brown was, well, Kwame Brown. What they failed to realize is that during his whole self serving mess of a press conference, Collins admitted that he quit in December.
December!!! The question was asked of Collins, “When did you decide you weren’t coming back?” and his reply, “Around Christmas”. Let’s just say it was Christmas, that’s 54 games left in the season and Doug knew he wasn’t coming back. The 76ers went 21-33 over that period. Does that tell you something about Collins? He’s a coward and a horrible leader. This is the guy that everyone wants to stay? This is the guy that everyone says needs another chance because Andrew Bynum didn’t play and that wasn’t Collins fault.
You can talk about how great it was that he used to play for the 76ers, 35 years ago, and that he likes to refer to himself as a 76er for life, but it doesn’t change that he turned his back on the team about 4 months ago and never found it important to let the team or management know that he wasn’t in to it? That’s the textbook definition of a disgrace.
Collins wants to be remembered as a man and not a coach, according to him. Let’s just remember him as we should. He was a coward. A two faced liar and self serving egomaniacal loser. He’s never won anything. He’s a good talker and that’s why he’ll be back on TV next year as a commentator or analyst, but one thing he shouldn’t be is welcomed back in to Philadelphia, EVER!!!
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s get on to the players. This team wasn’t created to win. It was a collection of other teams junk. With the exception of a few players, this team is what everyone else has thrown away.
Jrue Holiday had the breakout season that everyone expected and was the unquestioned leader of the team. Holidays problem was that he had to try to do too much, too much of the time. How can you be one of the top 5 point guards in the league if you’re dishing to players like Lavoy Allen and Nick Young? Holiday succeeded in spite of Collins and his teammates limitations. Next year, with some new talent around him, Holiday should be one of the top three point guards in the whole league.
Thaddeus Young averaged just under 15 points and 8 rebounds per game, despite being hampered with a mid season injury. He’s a quality player and valuable to the 76ers, but can’t be successful if he’s continually playing against players bigger and stronger than he is. He’s routinely asked to do these things because the 76ers don’t have anyone else to do it.
Spencer Hawes should do well next year and showed some good play this past year, especially towards the end of the season. His 11 points and 7 rebounds per game is pretty good considering he only played just over 27 minutes per game. With a quality center to play down low, Hawes should be able to step back and play the power forward position that was envisioned for him when the team traded for Bynum.
Evan Turner is at an impasse right now. He’s not a small forward and he’s not a shooting guard. So, where does he play? Ideally he should be the shooting guard on this team, but when you’re playing small ball for a coach who could care less, you wind up playing and being overmatched at the small forward position. I’m willing to give Turner the benefit of the doubt, since Collins thought it better to have Turners position and shots taken up by Nick Young.
Arnett Moultrie was traded for, from the Heat, after being drafted in the first round of last years draft. What did that get the 6’11” 250 lb power forward? 11 minutes a game in Collins world, the world where young players don’t get minutes. Moultrie was the person that should have been on the floor, battling the big men from other teams, but Collins thought it best to leave him on the bench. Another Collins mistake.
That’s about it for the team. Those are the good players that the 76ers had for the past season. The rest of the year was filled with players that were discarded by other teams and picked up by the 76ers for who knows what reason. But, where do they go from here? Where do the 76ers start to pick up the pieces and move forward?
Since it’s become obvious of late that the ownership team is not firing Tony Dileo, then we must look at the head coach, first and foremost. Byron Scott is where this search should start and end. He’s a quality coach who’s been in some bad spots, most recently taking over the Cleveland Cavaliers just a few days before LeBron James jumped ship and went to the Miami Heat.
Scott would give the team a quality coach who has also played in the league and might be a better fit for a squad that’s very young. He’s going to need some help from upper management and I don’t mean that they go out and sign another big name, injured, lazy, player. They’re going to have to actually research and probably overpay in order to get the guys they need.
Players like Nick Young, Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown, Damian Wilkins, and Royal Ivey should all be gone. Jason Richardson will not be much help and I don’t know how much leadership he can bring to the team, Dorrel Wright is still a quality player off the bench and should be held on to.
The 76ers need to address the center position immediately in the draft and free agency, for the future and the immediate future. There’s going to be a bunch of names that people bring up, including bringing Andrew Bynum back and seeing if he’d actually suit up for a game. If you’re looking for a player the 76ers should go for, you should look no further than Al Jefferson.
Al Jefferson is the best available center for the 76ers. At 18 points and 10 rebounds per game, Jefferson would provide the 76ers with the big man they thought they had last year in Bynum. At 28, he’s young enough to get a longer term deal and dependable down low. There will be arguments made regarding what was given up to get Andrew Bynum and how the team should make an attempt to keep him, but there will be plenty of GM’s lining up to throw money at him, even though he hasn’t played in a year. Dwight Howard is scheduled to be a free agent, but he’s done nothing over the past two years to prove that he’s nothing more than a diva on the court, distraction in the dressing room, and regular visitor to the trainers room. Jefferson would be a huge take for the 76ers .
After Jefferson, you would naturally have to look at the power forward position and the name that sticks out is Josh Smith, but I can’t see bringing him in for $15 million per season in order to watch him shoot off balance three pointers. He’s a talent and can light up the scoreboard, but probably wouldn’t do well being second to Jrue Holiday, who is the leader of the 76ers.
The only other “name” that would be worth the 76ers taking a look at would be J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks. Smith took less money to stay with the Knicks, as they were closer to his home in New Jersey, so Philly wouldn’t be too far off to ask Smith to go. He would be a huge upgrade at shooting guard and would allow Evan Turner to slide in to a steady role at small forward if that’s the route the team decides to take. He is another scorer that would also take pressure off of Holiday.
Until the 76ers address their head coaching needs, they’re not going to be able to start putting a team together and getting the team headed in the right direction. It could be a very long summer if you’re a 76ers fan and don’t see an educated effort to make the team better instead of the flash of last summers Bynum deal.Tags: Adam Aron, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bynum, Arnett Moultrie, Doug Collins, Evan Turner, J.R. Smith, Jrue Holiday, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Sixers, Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Tony Dileo