The Philadelphia 76ers started the season 3-13. It was a disaster. It was time to blow it up, finally. Ed Stefanski was having his job called for. It was an unmitigated disaster.
Then, they got better.
Last night in a win over the Nets, the Sixers clinched a spot in the playoffs. Doug Collins has taken a team that was an abject wreck and turned into a playoff lock, with a high probability of securing the six seed, what with New York melting down around the Bowery and all. The Sixers will likely face either Miami or Boston, both of whom they can match up well with. But that’s for another day.
What’s relevant now is that not only did the Sixers clinch said playoff spot, but to them, the playoffs actually mean something. There are teams for whom the playoffs mean very little, and can even be a step backwards what with the loss of a lottery spot and all (say hello to Charlotte). But the Sixers validated their reasons for not tinkering with the roster, for keeping the team together through the deadline, and for believing in Elton Brand, who has had a monster turnaround this season.
Andre Iguodala may never be the star his teams need him to be, but he’s certainly capable of doing everything else on the floor to set up his teammates to do the work for him. With his defense, passing, and playmaking, Iguodala has proven worthy of the high praise for him stemming from his work with Team USA last summer. The question will still remain who should get that final shot in games, but Iguodala may be the biggest reason the Sixers get a crack at it.
Doug Collins won’t win Coach of the Year, but he definitely deserves a look. After all, check it out. The Sixers are in the playoffs.