NBA PM: Doug Collins Reflects As He Moves On
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Doug Collins Reflects As He Moves On: Early Tuesday morning news broke that former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins, who resigned this summer after a disappointing 34-48 campaign, is joining ESPN’s NBA coverage. At the age of 62 with a coaching tenure that dates back to the 1986-87 season and a playing career with the aforementioned 76ers from 1973-1981, Collins has finally decided to move on from coaching and embrace the “retired” life as a TV analyst. While Collins’ return to coaching ended on a down note, he voiced absolutely no regrets over coming back in a sit down with ESPN’s Marc Stein.
“I loved it,” Collins said to ESPN. “I absolutely loved it. To go back there, it was a circle-of-life thing for me. I went there as a player when the team was 9-73. And then to be in the NBA Finals in 1977, I got to play with some great players and some great coaches. So to go back the second time as a coach, going back to so many established friendships in the city and the fans and getting back into the playoffs, I just love the place. I’ve always loved the passion of the fans and just how much they love their teams in Philadelphia.
“We swung for the fences [when] we added Andrew Bynum. We had to give up a lot of young pieces; Andrew was hurt and it didn’t work out. But I give a lot of credit to Josh [Harris] and the ownership because they didn’t want to be mediocre. They wanted to have a chance at being a championship team.
“If you look at the pieces we had, with [Mo] Harkless and [Nikola] Vucevic and Jrue [Holiday] and Dre [Andre Iguodala] and Thad [Young] and Evan [Turner] and Spencer [Hawes], there were a lot of good young pieces. It’s a shame the Andrew Bynum thing didn’t work out. It was nobody’s fault. It just didn’t work out. But I knew where the franchise was going. I knew they realized they were probably going to have to rebuild, and I was at the stage of my career where I just didn’t feel like I was the right coach for them at that time. At age 62 to take 60 losses … I wanted to coach a good team for three, four more years and then move on.”
Although technically not a part of the franchise anymore, Collins will always have 76ers red and white flowing through his veins.
“Rebuilding is very tough,” Collins said. “Everything has to go right. It’s going to be a long, arduous process. But I’m a 76er. That’s where I was drafted. That’s where I gave my heart and soul. I walk around with an artificial knee and two artificial hips I gave Philly when I played. And I walk out of there having given them my heart and soul.”
It’s not illogical to think that after a year or two away, a team on the fringe of making the playoffs in need of an experienced, proven leader like Collins could come calling and trying to lure him out of retirement again as the 76ers did three years ago. There’s no telling how Collins’ feelings could change after some time away from the game, but for right now he seems to be at peace with never coaching again.
“No, I’m through coaching,” Collins said. “I said it when I went to Philly. That was my last spot. Like I said, it was a circle of life for me.
“I was at a coaching clinic the other day at Illinois State talking about how difficult coaching has become. There’s so much criticism and you’re always under the microscope. It’s a tough, tough thing. There’s so much money involved because these franchises are worth hundreds of millions of dollars — and the coach, whether it’s right or wrong, has to be in the spotlight all the time. That’s just the way the situation is.
“But I knew when [my son] Chris got a head-coaching job, I knew I’d want to be there to watch him grow as a coach. He’s got a great spot at Northwestern now and I don’t want to miss it. When I got fired in Chicago, I took seven years off so I could watch all of Chris’ and [my daughter] Kelly’s high school games. I saw Chris up until his senior year at Duke and my daughter until her senior year of high school when I went to Detroit. That’s time you can’t get back. And I’ve got five incredible grandchildren now that I don’t want to miss out on.
“Coaching is 24/7. You know it’s going to be on your mind all the time. But I feel like I never coached a team that underachieved and I feel very good about that. The respect that you look for is the respect of your peers, and hopefully I have that. I always felt our teams were prepared and I feel like we had young players get better wherever I was. There’s certain things in coaching you can’t control, but I’m proud of what I’ve done as a coach and I’m excited about this part of my life.”
Mason Jr. On His Way To Making HEAT: Despite being signed late in the offseason by the two-time defending champions, veteran guard Roger Mason Jr. is well on his way to making the team’s final roster.
Mason scored 14 points while running the point for the second unit in the HEAT’s 92-87 preseason opening victory against the Atlanta Hawks. He hit three of four from behind the arc, a very valuable asset with creators like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James on the roster, along with the departure of Mike Miller, who the team amnestied this summer.
“He’s a great fit,” James said of Mason to Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald. “He’s just a solid basketball player that knows how to play the game. He’s a combo guard who can spread the floor but also handle the ball, he doesn’t make any mistakes and fits right in.”
At 33 years of age, Mason still has plenty left in the tank even with nine years of mileage on his legs. He did a great job of staying in shape and ready for the call that he eventually received this offseason, and could turn into another valuable piece for the HEAT. Their rotation isn’t going to be easy to crack with Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Norris Cole already in the backcourt, but it’s always nice to have a consummate professional like Mason waiting in the wings in case something happens to the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.
Kansas Receives Another Big Commitment: The Kansas Jayhawks received a big commitment today from Findlay Prep’s Kelly Oubre, a 6’7 swingman who is unanimously regarded as a top-10 recruit in the 2014 class.
Oubre was also strongly considering Kentucky and was supposed to go on an official visit to their campus, but cancelled the visit after a weekend at Kansas that sold him on it being the right place for his future.
Oubre mentioned being able to step right in and take Andrew Wiggin’s spot as one of the big reasons that Kansas appealed to him so much, along with their strong history for developing talent and sending guys to the NBA as well of course. Wiggins is regarded as a virtual lock to be one and done and leave early for the 2014 NBA Draft.