Collins reminds players NBA career is a privilege

Posted: February 08, 2013

A DAY AFTER his team had been thoroughly beaten by an Indiana Pacers group that was playing its third game in as many nights, 76ers coach Doug Collins didn't do a video-study session to point out mistakes in the 88-69 loss. In fact, he pretty much gave his team the day off, save for some light shooting and some weight lifting.

Collins wanted to reflect, and remind his players of how lucky they are to have the job they do.

"Last night, after the game we had to let Shelvin Mack go," Collins said Thursday. "It's one of the tough things in the business to see a guy who last night was told he didn't have a job. I shared that with our guys today. We had to look around in the locker room last night and see that guy get his stuff and leave, and he doesn't have a job. As much as that game stung, losing, Shelvin Mack is as quality a human being as you'll ever find, and to see him leave that locker room was very sad to me.

"You look and here's Thad [Young], who's injured; you got J-Rich [Jason Richardson] who's looking at season-ending knee surgery; you've got Jeremy Pargo on a 10-day contract [signed Thursday] and a man lost his job [Wednesday] night. You think there's anybody out there in the outside world that feels sorry for any of us? Let's focus and let's understand that it is a privilege to play basketball. And the moment you ever look at basketball as a job, you can't play at the highest level because then it becomes work. Basketball should be joy, and it should be fun. The moment it becomes a job, then it becomes work and nobody likes to go to work, everybody likes to go play."

Someone who doesn't appear to like playing, of late, is swingman Evan Turner, who has scored a total of 20 points over the past four games and shot only 9-for-36. Turner's body language on the court tells all you need to know. He is struggling mightily, during a time in which the team, except for Wednesday, has been playing pretty good ball.

"Evan, he's just got to play," Collins said. "He can't let the little things bother him. He's got to play. Evan gets hard on himself, too hard. There's no perfect game, there's not a perfect player. We're going to make mistakes. You just got to play. For him, it's the all-around game. When he's doing the all-around game, everything fits in for him. He can't let some missed shots bother him.

"Sometimes if he's not shooting the ball well it frustrates him. He's got the ball, and he's pushing the ball up the floor, and when Jrue's [Holiday] off the floor he has the ball in his hands a lot. We run an offense that's pretty much equal opportunity, it's not like we focus on one guy."

When the team lost in Cleveland in November, it was pretty much one guy who was the deciding factor. Thursday, the Sixers signed that guy, Pargo, to replace Mack. Pargo scored a career-high 28 in that 92-83 loss, filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving.

"Whatever it is, I'm willing to do it, just come out and help the team and try to fit in and earn a spot," said the 6-2 Pargo, a Gonzaga product. "I'm just going to focus on bringing what I can to the table - energy, play tough, play defense, be physical and have fun while I do it. I'm going to do my best to be myself and play hard. I'm not putting pressure on myself but just to play my game and play hard and have fun."

Richardson update

Jason Richardson was at the practice facility Thursday morning, but there was no update on his injured left knee. He was seeking a fourth opinion about his next move. It appears season-ending surgery is the consensus among the three doctors he has seen.

Six shots

Jrue Holiday is one of six players who will compete in the Skills Challenge on Feb. 16, the day before the NBA All-Star Game at the Toyota Center in Houston . . . Arnett Moultrie and Doug Collins were pleased with the rookie's 20 minutes of play Wednesday that produced 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and a block. "I had fun," Moultrie said. "I had a lot of fun. I think I did a lot of good things, I played defense pretty good, I rebounded the basketball a little bit and I knocked down open shots. I've got to run the floor a little bit more. I was out there just having fun and I was trying to be aggressive. It felt good, my confidence level was pretty high and I think that's why I had the game I had" . . . The Sixers will host Charlotte on Saturday and the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday before heading to Milwaukee on Wednesday for the last game before the All-Star break. Their first game after the break will be Feb. 20 at Minnesota.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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