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Stretching the Field: Don't blame Collins for 76ers' futility

11:27 AM, Apr 12, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - You can never tell how rigorous a duck works when it glides smoothly across water.

Take a subaquatic glance and you'll notice how feverishly the webbed feet are working.

For Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins, the stress and angst in trying to succeed gracefully is written across his aging face.

Collins is under contract for the 2013-14 season after the Sixers picked up the fourth-year option on his contract and has taken some blame for a team that had high hopes after landing All-Star big man Andrew Bynum. The Sixers relinquished a lot to get Bynum in red, white and blue, most notably losing center Nikola Vucevic, who barely found the floor in Collins' scheme.

The departure of Andre Iguodala was understandable since he made a significant amount of money and competed much like a tier 3 or 4 player.

Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys or even Sherlock Holmes couldn't have predicted Bynum would miss the entire season with chronic knee issues, and he's solely to blame for Collins' demise. Philadelphia went out and added a few role players with the conception that the offense would run down low through Bynum.

Au contraire.

With Bynum's absence, the Sixers appear more like a D-League team save one or two players worthy of NBA status.

Nick Young can't play defense. Dorell Wright had some flashes of greatness this season, but let's be honest, he is what he is. Jason Richardson was lost for the season in January because of knee surgery and Kwame Brown is simply awful. Collins has only two admirable NBA players in Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, and Holiday looks lost at times as evidenced by a 2-for-24 performance April 3 at Charlotte. How does an All-Star go 2-for-24? Maybe the Sixers should move Holiday to the two spot and bring back Andre Miller.

Those are some of the issues Collins has been embroiled with in 2012-13 and rumors are circulating that the Sixers' brass want him out. Collins would still be owed a healthy chunk of change if he opts to step away, something he has done in other cities during his coaching tenure.

A mastermind of the game and arguably one of the top analysts alive, Collins is known for having a confrontational style of coaching. He'll text players at odd hours, call them out in the media and vehemently rip them during games. It may work in other towns, but it hasn't settled in with the 76ers, who did reach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals a year ago. But Collins had NBA-worthy players then in Iguodala, Elton Brand and Lou Williams. Those three made Holiday and Young that much better. And now? The 31-47 record speaks volumes.

A few players such as Evan Turner, a whipping boy of Collins, Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes seem transparent on the floor some nights. Damien Wilkins plays hard when his number is called, but as Gob Bluth from "Arrested Development" would say: "Come on!"

Don't forget about Royal Ivey (insert chuckles here).

Collins' agent, John Langel, was quoted as saying on Phillyburbs.com that the fiery sideline general is in control of his future.

"The relationship with Doug, me and Sixers management has been terrific," Langel said. "What they told me beyond this season and as recently as today and yesterday is how long Doug stays here is Doug's decision."

The Philadelphia brass could give Collins a mulligan on the season and see how Bynum's knees hold up for next season. It also could ask him to step down and not even flirt with the idea of shelling out big bucks for Bynum, too. In either scenario, the Sixers still have a long way to go development-wise and should be concerned they may not land a better coaching candidate than Collins.

Co-owner Adam Aron said a few weeks ago he hopes Collins will be the coach of the 76ers for "years and years and years." Collins went 41-41 in his first season with the Sixers in 2010-11 and 35-31 during the lockout-shortened campaign, and made the playoffs each time. Now this season couldn't end any sooner.

For Collins' sake, he should step down to spend time with his family and decompress from what was supposed to be an exciting time in Sixers history.

The Sports Network

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