Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our 2012-13 guide to the upcoming NBA season in which SportsGrid’s acid-tongued writers identify the reason why your team should probably start looking forward to 2013-2014. Today we have the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers finished the 2011-12 season surprisingly strong, upsetting the East-leading Chicago Bulls (albeit sans Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah) in the first round of the playoffs and pushing the Boston Celtics to seven games before being eliminated. What’s the best way to capitalize on this momentum? If you’re Philadelphia, you completely reshape the foundation of your team.
This offseason, the Sixers traded All-Star, Olympian, and face-of-the-franchise Andre Iguodala for immature injury-machine Andrew Bynum, let 6th Man Of The Year candidate Lou Williams leave for Atlanta, amnestied starting power forward Elton Brand, and signed human black hole Nick Young and human punchline Kwame Brown. All in all, a pretty pathetic offseason for Philadelphia.
And it gets worse.
The Sixers are already on the hook with head coach Doug Collins this season, but rather than waiting until the year gets started before making a decision on 2013-14, they’ve already elected to sign him for an additional season. This despite the fact Doug Collins-coached teams typically do not do well in his third year of coaching, which is what he enters this season with Philadelphia. Consider his history.
As coach of the Chicago Bulls in the late ’80s, Collins was fired after his third season after the Bulls were eliminated in consecutive postseasons by the Detroit Pistons. He was replaced by Phil Jackson and the rest is history.
As coach of the Detroit Pistons in the mid ’90s, he was fired mid-way through his third season with the team after starting the year 21-24, just a year removed from a 54-28 record and two years removed from a 46-34 year. And this is all with a healthy Grant Hill.
He didn’t even get a third season with the Washington Wizards during the mid ’00s after back-to-back 37-45 seasons with Michael Jordan. Yes, that means Michael Jordan’s domination of the NBA in the ’90s is bookended by disappointing squads coached by Doug Collins.
That leads us to his stint with the 76ers, whom Collins led to a .500 record in his first season and a 35-31 record last year. But already, the teams shows signs of falling into that same old Collins third-year slump, having started last season 20-9 before finishing 15-22 to settle into their eventual eighth seed, all in the extremely-weak Eastern Conference. And that was just year 2.
Sure, they saw a little success in the playoffs against injured Bulls and Celtics squad, but there’s no question the team is worse today than they were a year ago and are led by a troubled center playing on damaged knees and a coach with history stacked against him as he enters his third year with the team.
Actual season prediction: There is almost no chance this season ends well for the Sixers. If Collins’ history doesn’t get them, Bynum’s knees will. If Bynum’s knees don’t, their complete lack of scoring punch after him will. Honestly, a .500 season is a successful season for Philadelphia, but at this point, best case scenario, I see 30 wins in their future. It’s going to be a rough one, Sixers fans. Thankfully, Allen Iverson is in NBA 2K13, so you don’t even have to watch a single game this year if you don’t want to. Just add AI to the current Sixers squad and go nuts.