Coach Doug Collins says Sixers won't try to lose

Posted: April 10, 2013

Had the 76ers not been eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend, their reward would likely have been swift elimination in the first round, courtesy of the Miami Heat.

They would also be looking at losing this year's first-round pick, which is lottery protected through 2015 as a result of last year's draft-day trade with the Heat that brought them Arnett Moultrie.

Still, with six mostly meaningless games left in the regular season, Sixers coach Doug Collins said the Sixers will not try to lose games to improve the team's chances of acquiring more ping-pong balls in the lottery.

"I have seen a lot of teams looking like they're sliding in for those ping-pong balls," Collins said Monday following the team's practice, "but I'm not sure karma ever rewards that."

The 2013 NBA draft lottery will be held on May 21, and the 2013 draft will be June 27. Heading into Monday's games, the Sixers (31-45), who play at playoff-bound Brooklyn (44-32) on Tuesday, were slotted to pick No. 11. Last year, Portland selected Meyers Leonard out of Illinois at No. 11.

It is conceivable that the Sixers could move up two places to ninth, where Minnesota (29-47) is slotted.

Collins said that while he understands the rationale behind losing games late in the season, players and coaches aren't programmed to intentionally lose.

"It's just not within my nature, and I don't think it's within any professional player's nature, where all of a sudden you start sitting guys down and say, 'We're going to let these guys play, and we want to lose,' " Collins said. "I just have never been a fan of that. I just think you send the wrong message."

Additionally, this is not a particularly strong draft.

"If you look at the draft this year, is there a knockout difference between [picks] one and eight?" Collins said. "Is there that one guy that anyone would be tanking for?"

Before they lost to Miami on Saturday, the Sixers had won four of their previous five games. Before that, they scored a season-high 117 points against Sacramento on their last West Coast road trip. On that same trip, they came close to ending Denver's eventual 15-game winning streak at 13 but blew a 100-95 lead in the final 10 seconds.

"We're not going to stop playing hard and just roll over for people," Sixers reserve forward Dorell Wright said recently. "It's not in our nature. Guys want to compete no matter what the circumstances are."

Contact John N. Mitchell at Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter.

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