While there’s no guarantee Doug Collins will be in Philadelphia next autumn, for the time being, the Sixers’ head coach bristles at any suggestion his team would be better off phoning it in the rest of the way and improving their draft status. Mindful of the way in which Boston turned a number 5 overall pick into Ray Allen in 2007 — in a crucial prelude to their subsequent acquisition of Kevin Garnett, Hoop76’s Eric Goldwein respectfully proposes that perhaps the buck oughta stop somewhere else besides Collins.
Collins is 61 years old and in the penultimate year of his contract. For the coach, the return on these meaningless regular season victories may actually exceed the value of additional ping pong balls. (Rumor has it, Team USA evaluates assistant coaching candidates by looking at their regular season records.) Rational or not, Collins is focused on the now.
It’s understandable – if not necessarily defensible – that Collins would blanch at the notion of coaching to lose. He’s a deeply competitive man. But the real problem with the Sixers isn’t the coach’s philosophical opposition to tanking. It’s that there’s nobody questioning the coach’s philosophical opposition to tanking. Not team president Rod Thorn. Not general manager Tony DiLeo. Not CEO Adam Aron. In the Sixers organization, Collins is Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge. He is both coach and executive director of basketball operations. Not by name, but it’s widely believed that Collins has the final say on personnel decisions. He has the final say on the tanking decision, too. Perhaps it’s time to take that away.