The Doug Collins Rule remains in effect: if you hire Doug Collins, you will be hiring a new coach after three seasons. The Philadelphia 76ers will reportedly begin that process quite soon, as Collins is prepared to step away when this season mercifully ends this week. Collins will undoubtedly head back to TNT, where he is an excellent analyst. But the question is what Philly will do next.
Here are some options.
* Mike Brown. With Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, this should be a strong defensive team. Brown is a defense-first coach. But more importantly, Andrew Bynum's best season (2011-12) came under Brown's watch. Given that the rest of Bynum's career was spent under Phil Jackson (minus one year with Rudy T.), that's pretty important ... if the Philly front office believes keeping Bynum is viable.
* Elston Turner. Turner's never been a head coach, but had a decade under Rick Adelman to learn the flex and motion offenses and likes to challenge his guards to defend well. With or without Bynum, the roster could be a good fit for Turner to get his first chance in the lead chair.
* Brian Shaw. Shaw's case is similar to that of Turner (replace Adelman with Phil Jackson), but with the added bonus of having worked with Bynum for a number of years in Los Angeles.
* Nate McMillan. Nate's going to get mentioned for every single job opening. I don't think this is the best fit for him -- I'd like to see him in Cleveland -- but he'd be among the best candidates because he's a damn good coach.
* Kelvin Sampson. Sampson did a fine job running the Rockets while Kevin McHale dealt with a family tragedy early in the season. His experience running major college programs would be helpful if he were to take over a fairly young squad.
* Lionel Hollins. If Hollins doesn't survive in Memphis -- a toss-up, in my opinion -- he should land a new job immediately. There's no reason that couldn't be Philly, though the irony in replacing one coach that bristled at analytics with another is amusing.
* Mike Malone. Another one of the top never-been-a-head-coach candidates who will get lots of interviews this offseason. Mark Jackson's lead assistant should get an extra boost from the Warriors' vast improvement this year. He deserves a look in all towns.
I didn't mention Phil Jackson because, come on, let's be serious. Jeff Van Gundy needs more than I suspect the Sixers will pay. Stan Van Gundy wouldn't touch it unless the Sixers absolutely guaranteed that Bynum wasn't coming back. And I'm trying to avoid certain members of the carousel -- Avery Johnson, Flip Saunders -- because I'm not sure anyone wants to see those guys back in the league so soon.