In case you missed it: The Chicago Bulls hired former head coach and basketball guru Doug Collins as the Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations. The move was met with praise, criticism, optimism, and cynicism. Personally, I am thrilled with the hiring of Collins. There are few basketball minds I respect more than Doug Collins. His knowledge of the game comes across in his color commentary in his previous gigs on TNT and ESPN respectively. He understands the game and we’ve seen him be able to take young teams and get the most out of them (see: 2012 Philadelphia 76ers). Collins’ experience and knowledge should be a resource for young Fred Hoiberg, who has been an outright disaster thus far. Could Collins mentor Hoiberg and provide him with valuable insight to keep this hiring from being a complete and utter failure? I sincerely hope so and I’m sure Bulls management do too.
The cynicism of the Doug Collins hiring is silly. Some have pointed to Collins wanting to sign bust Kwame Brown to a five year/$30 million contract several years ago or the way Doug Collins burns out his players within 3 years (allegedly). You have to understand that this is different. Collins is not going to be the lone voice in management responsible for negotiating contracts and he won’t be on the bench grooming these young Bulls. Instead, Collins will be a respected voice in the room and when conversations like, “Should we sell Jordan Bell, a potential second round steal, for $3.5 million to the defending champion, who seem to badly want him” happen, Collins could be the voice of reason in the room saying, “Maybe should keep the pick and develop this kid.” Or when Hoiberg is needing guidance in tweaking his offense or defense, Collins could share with him some of the knowledge he’s acquired for the past four decades.
Sam Smith put it correctly: Collins is an addition to the vision. With so much grumbling about Bulls management, billboards going up saying, “Fire Gar/Pax,” and the general feeling that Bulls fans wouldn’t trust Gar/Pax to correctly manage a Burger King much less their favorite franchise, you’d think this move would be met with more excitement. Collins is to Gar/Pax as Jerry West was to Bob Myers in Golden State and is to Michael Winger, the new GM of the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s an advisor, a respected voice with a plethora of basketball knowledge, and someone whose opinion will carry weight within the organization. As the Bulls enter the dreaded phase of rebuilding, Collins’ addition should be welcomed with praise and optimism. The Bulls are going to have some compelling decisions to make in the coming years and personally, I feel more confident that management will make those decisions correctly with the addition of Doug Collins.
Welcome back to Chicago, Doug. Last time you were here, you brought about the beginning of a dynasty. Hopefully, history repeats itself.