Doug Collins has always been known as a nice guy. He’s affable and kind, which made him a good announcer in between coaching position. He’s had a solid coaching career, but nothing special. He led a young Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to the Eastern Conference Finals, but was eventually was replaced by Phil Jackson, and the rest is history. Collins then went to Detroit where he improved their record by 18 games, but eventually was fired and replaced by Alvin Gentry. After Detroit, Collins headed to Washington, where he reunited with Jordan and once again improved the team’s record by 18 games. Yet again it wasn’t enough, and Collins was fired from his third head coaching position. At this point, he had established himself as a quick fixer-upper who would improve your team immediately but not take them to a championship. Everybody liked him, but there was a strange pity that followed him around. He went before Phil, worked with MJ twice, and still couldn’t win a ring. He wasn’t a bad guy or a bad coach; he just wasn’t built to win.
Now, the 76ers have advanced to the second round of the playoffs, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in Philadelphia since 2003, and he did it with a questionable roster. He’s forced to squeeze out points from Louis Williams and Spencer Hawes while relying on stellar defense. Collins has turned Philly into a top three defensive team in the league. They gave up just around 89 points per game in the regular season, which is the third best in the league, but more than lineup challenges or X’s and O’s, Collins has changed the culture in Philadelphia. They care, with every fiber of their beings, about winning games, other teams just look lackadaisical against them. Opponents seem to be bothered by the constant effort of the 76ers. It’s like that defender in the pickup game that presses full-court and goes harder than every other player. Except instead of annoying a college student balling in his spare time, the 6ers are annoying professional basketball teams. And they’re winning games because of it. The 76ers love going on the court and giving all they have for Collins. He motivates them. Collins has coached with his signature defensive style and ability to produce playoff appearances with a limited roster, but his stint in Philadelphia feels different. It feels like a much-needed landing spot for a good coach and even better guy. It feels like Doug Collins’ team