Andrew Bynum Fiasco Makes Doug Collins Coach of the Year Favorite
Considering what Collins has accomplished without getting a single minute out of their prized 2012 offseason acquisition, they shouldn't even need a vote.
The much-maligned center suffered a bone bruise in his left knee while rehabbing the same injury in his right (according to what multiple sources told ESPN's Chris Broussard and Brian Windhorst).
Bynum has since progressed with the right knee, but is still in considerable pain and will need an MRI on the left (according to Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News). According to Cooney, Bynum could be nearing his return with the big man saying "worst case scenario it's another month".
The big man elaborated on his recovery process on with Comcast Philly's Dei Lynam.
Without Bynum, this team has no business being in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Short of Jrue Holiday (and, to a lesser extent, Thaddeus Young), the roster is a collection of has-beens, disappointments and hangers-on.
Before jumping on the criticisms of this 11-9 team, consider this: Holiday, unquestionably the team's best player to date, is shooting a hair over 44 percent and turning the ball over nearly four times per game. If that's not enough, then consider this: Holiday owns the second best shooting-percentage on this team (trailing only Young's 52.2 percent).
To put those shooting numbers in further perspective, the New York Knicks have six different players shooting above Holiday's mark. Young's field-goal percentage ranks 61st in the NBA, while Holiday is their only other player who ranks in the top 200 (186th).
The 76ers are also not what one could call a defensive stalwart. Their pace-aided points allowed per game (94.4, seventh fewest in the NBA) aren't a great barometer for their defensive efforts. In fact, Philadelphia has allowed the 11th highest field-goal percentage (45.0) to opponents this season.
To make matters worse, they haven't been a good rebounding team either. Their minus-3.25 rebounding differential ranks 25th. Their top rebounder, Young (7.4 per game), ranks just 40th in the league.
Yet somehow Collins has guided this team to a tie for the sixth best record in the Eastern Conference.
With Collins apparently losing his patience for the big man's return (according to Tom Moore of phillyblurbs.com), the coach has been forced to keep doing what he's done all season—overperforming with an undermanned roster.
Credit Collins for finding ways to win with this roster.
He's made up for the lack of an interior scorer with the NBA's twelfth best perimeter attack (36.2 percent). He's loosened the reins on Holiday and former second overall draft choice Evan Turner, and both players have responded with career years. He's even formed a workable duo on the frontcourt with Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen combining for 13.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.
If that's not an award-worthy coaching performance, then perhaps the league needs to reconsider their criteria for selecting the coach of the year. Because if Collins keeps this team in contention without getting a return on the Bynum investment, this award race should already be over.
All statistics used in this article are accurate as of Dec. 9, 2012.
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