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Bill Simmons on the Sixers

In Bill's latest column he ranks all 30 NBA teams, and gives his thoughts on each. He ranks the Sixers twelfth overall, and placed them in "THE FEEL-GOOD STORIES" section of his power poll. Below are his thoughts on the Sixers, specifically Doug Collins, Andre Iguodala, and Evan Turner.

12. Philadelphia 76ers

We're immersed in a memorable battle between Scott Skiles and Doug Collins for the career lead in, "Most Times A New Coach Has Gotten a Team To Overachieve, Been Anointed as Their Savior, Then Eventually Burned Them Out Because He's Too Intense." (Note: It's a "Best of 7" series and they're tied at three apiece -- Vegas has Skiles as a heavy favorite because he'll probably get fired a year before Collins does.) Hiring either of these guys is like submitting your beaten-down car to "Pimp My Ride" -- they're going to restore it and it will look fantastic, and you'll get to know what it's like to drive a car that has a 40-inch plasma, a fishtank and wheels with 45-inch rims, but within a year, you're going to be putting that thing on eBay and taking any price you can get.

Here's my suggestion: Collins and Skiles should just embrace their inner Winston Wolf and switch teams every year. Why not? How many teams need a temporary coaching savior every summer? Five? Six? You're telling me Pistons fans, Kings fans or Clippers fans couldn't use a year of the Collins/Skiles Pimp My Ride experience? It won't play out that way, but it should. Two more Sixers thoughts ...

• Andre Iguodala finally tapped into his inner Pippen and became a destructive perimeter defender; add him to the list of Team USA players whose careers were transformed by the experience. He won't win Defensive Player of the Year because of Dwight Howard, but in 2011, Iguodala had a tougher job: night after night after night, he had to shut down the other team's best perimeter player during a year when we were overloaded with terrific perimeter scorers. He'd get my vote if I had one. He's a classic "Stay Your Lane" example: in 2008, he averaged 15.6 field goals per game and had a usage rate of 23.8 percent. That's a little too much Andre Iguodala for anyone's liking. This year? He dropped to 11.3 field goals and a 19.1 percent usage rate (sixth on the team). Perfect. That's exactly how you want to use him.

• Poor Evan Turner might be the latest to get nailed by the Curse of Sam Bowie. Since Portland stupidly passed on MJ for Bowie with the second pick in 1984, we've seen the following calamities at No. 2: Steve Stipanovich, Len Bias (RIP), Armen Gilliam, Danny Ferry, Shawn Bradley, Stromile Swift, Jason "Not White Chocolate Or The Guy Accused of Killing His Chaffeur, But The One From Duke" Williams, Darko Milicic, Marvin Williams, Michael Beasley (even if he's rejuvenated, we have to call him a "bust" because Miami gave him away), Hasheem Thabeet, and now, potentially, Turner (who can't be officially called a bust yet, and actually, I kind of like him, but it can't be a good sign that Collins pushed out of his nine-man rotation). That's 13 of the last 26 picks ... 50 percent!

Even weirder, 11 other No. 2 picks that either worked out or kind of worked out (Kenny Anderson, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Kidd, Keith Van Horn, Antonio McDyess, Marcus Camby, Mike Bibby, Steve Francis, Tyson Chandler, Okafor, LaMarcus Aldridge) were traded by the teams that picked them either during the draft, right after the draft or sometime within the next four years. Only Kevin Durant and Gary Payton ended up becoming franchise players for the teams that drafted them ... and yes, they were both drafted by a franchise that no longer exists.

So if you're counting Seattle's murdered franchise, we somehow went 0 for 26 in the "pick him second, pencil him as your franchise guy for the next 12-15 years, retire his jersey" department. How is that possible??? It's the second pick in the whole draft!!!!! Maybe Philly was doomed no matter who they picked -- had it been DeMarcus Cousins (who would make them so much more imposing on paper), he might be serving a 20-game suspension right now. There's a reason they call that pick "Number Two."

Hard to disagree with Simmons' synopsis of Sixers. However; Andre Iguodala hasn't "finally tapped into his inner Pippen and became a destructive perimeter defender", it's just every mainstream writer is finally noticing, for whatever reason. It's probably inaccurate to say Iguodala is finally receiving recognition because the Sixers are in the playoffs, because they've been in the playoffs two of the previous three seasons. I think Doug Collins deserves credit for pumping up his team and players constantly. The fact that he's Doug Collins, and seems well-respected around the league doesn't hurt. The coach has literally become the face of the Sixers franchise.

Whatever the reason, it's nice to finally see Iguodala and the Sixers getting the credit they deserve.


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