6. Collins to the Rescue
Just one year ago, the 76ers were a laughingstock. The 2009-2010 team went 27-55 (good for sixth-worst in the league) and emerged from the draft lottery with the second overall pick. Though their selection, Evan Turner, has been in large part a disappointment, the 76ers have experienced a profound turnaround. In 2010-2011, Philadelphia is 41-41 and earned a spot in the playoffs. What has been the difference? Coach Doug Collins.
Collins has established quite a reputation of rejuvenating middling franchises, and his first year with Philadelphia has corroborated that claim. In his first year at his previous three coaching stints, Collins took Chicago and Detroit to the playoffs and improved Washington's records by 18 games. So far this season, Collins has engineered a 15-game improvement and seen many young players take great strides in their play. Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala are all playing at or near their peaks in efficiency while Elton Brand is healthy and having his best season in over three years.
Perhaps Collins’ greatest accomplishment has been creating a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. Lacking a true superstar, the 76ers are still over .500 and poised to makie a run in the playoffs. Though their team is far from a finished product, the improvement in Philadelphia is very surprising and yet another testament to Collins’ coaching prowess.