Throughout his persistent, four-stop coaching career, Doug Collins and his beautiful basketball mind have been stricken with Marty Schottenheimer luck.
Then he got canned by Detroit 45 games into the 1997-98 season, a year after squeezing 54 wins out of a washout All-Star team (Christian Laettner, Loy Vaught, Cedric Ceballos, Bison Dele, etc.) plus Grant Hill.
Finally, his perpetual misfortune reached its crescendo when Jordan tabbed his former coach to oversee the Capitol Hill circus featuring the selfish return of His Airness and the worst No. 1 draft choice in the history of sports (Kwame Brown).
Through it all, the former four-time All-Star's prowess as a color announcer left no doubt in the minds of most pundits that he would give coaching one more shot if provided with the right situation.
But it would have taken a truly deep and colorful basketball mind like Collins to see potential in the muckraking Sixers, a team that hasn't been past the first round of the playoffs since 2003. With virtually the same nucleus that has propelled this season's hot start, the Sixers bottomed out with a 27-55 season under the hapless and disinterested Eddie Jordan the year before Collins arrived.
They had no star, minimal fan support and Jordan was Philly's sixth coach in seven seasons between 2004 and 2010.
At best, the Sixers were an easy five games out against the powerful Eastern Conference ruling class. At worst, they were a lottery team with fewer bullets than Jack Sparrow. Either way, it was a multimillion dollar retirement plan for any candidate loony enough to accept the challenge.
At this very moment, the Sixers look no different than the outcast band of mediocre check mongers Collins inherited in 2010...except in the standings.
For bucking just about every NBA middle-class conception and transforming his perpetually mediocre squad into a one-percenter, Collins is the most obvious early candidate for Coach of the Year in recent history. Here's a closer look as to why.