Amid Wall-Turner, Sixers coach Collins recalls another 1-2 matchup

The Cavaliers' Jim Brewer (52) was a No. 2 overall pick in 1973, who later squared off against the top pick in the NBA draft that year, current Sixers coach Doug Collins.
The Cavaliers' Jim Brewer (52) was a No. 2 overall pick in 1973, who later squared off against the top pick in the NBA draft that year, current Sixers coach Doug Collins.
Posted: November 03, 2010

WASHINGTON - Much of the hype surrounding last night's Wizards-76ers game (if you can have hype when winless teams face each other) was about top pick John Wall playing Sixers guard Evan Turner, the second overall pick.

During his many years as a player and a coach, Doug Collins has seen more than his share of top picks going head-to-head.

In fact, it happened to him as a player. In 1973, Collins was taken with the first overall pick by the Sixers after they went 9-73. At some point in the following season, Collins faced off against the Cleveland Cavaliers and No. 2 pick Jim Brewer, a 6-9 forward from the University of Minnesota.

Collins can't remember a lick of the game.

"I don't remember, because it was Philadelphia-Cleveland, so I don't think that was on NBA TV that particular night," Collins joked. "I don't remember anything about it. My first year was sort of a bust. I broke my foot 6 weeks before the season started and I tried to come back and play and played 25 games with a broken foot. Much of that was a blur my first year. I really wasn't playing healthy."

Last night's game, which the Sixers lost, 116-115, in overtime, probably was a little more of an event than Collins-Brewer. Wall had 29 points and 13 assists, and Turner had nine points and six rebounds.

Collins wasn't all that worried about the extra attention the duo was receiving.

"I don't really say much," Collins said. "These guys are so much bombarded with things today. I think they've learned to understand what this is all about. I just want him to relax and play and enjoy the game. If you do that and start putting too much pressure on yourself and who's going to win the matchup, it usually ends up blowing up on you, and I don't want him to think like that."

As for Collins and Brewer . . . Collins played all eight of his seasons with the Sixers, and was voted an All-Star four times. Bothered by foot injuries throughout, Collins finished his career averaging 17.9 points and shot 50.1 percent from the floor. Brewer played nine seasons, finishing with averages of 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Sticky situation

The Sixers' decision not to extend Thaddeus Young's contract could make for an unhappy player, but Collins is staying out of all that.

"I don't [talk to Young about it]," the coach said. "I stay out of the contractual things, because I want to separate the business aspect of it from my personal relationship and coaching him. Thad is ultra-sensitive and one of my favorite guys, and I don't want him to be thinking about having to play well every night and putting too much pressure on himself.

"He was a 'four' man 2 years ago, and then a 'three' last year, and now I'm using him coming off the bench as a 'four' and I'm using him as a 'three' in some situations. He is one of the nicest young people I have ever met and he will take things to heart, and I don't want that to happen to him."

Of his contract situation which will make Young a restricted free agent after this season, the fourth-year forward said in a statement: "I'm disappointed that we were not able to work out an extension. I would love to be with the team long term, but I recognize that the uncertainty in next year's CBA has an effect on the team's approach to contract extensions. My focus now is to continue to work hard with my teammates and new coaches to help improve our team and win games. The fans deserve that."

Six shots

For the fourth-straight game, Doug Collins inactivated forward Craig Brackins and guard Jodi Meeks. *

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