Did Doug Collins know what he was doing?
Did Collins know he was inviting never-ending scrutiny when he fired off criticism of his players after the team’s 98-84 loss to the lowly Magic on Tuesday night?
Those are questions that remained to be answered. One thing that stands as a fact is this season has been a major disappointment for the Sixers.
The Sixers’ effort on Tuesday against the Magic was inexplicable. They lost to a team that had three wins in its last 31 contests.
Adding insult was the fact that two players the Sixers traded away put up significant numbers.
Nikola Vucevic registered his 32nd double-double of the season with 12 points and 19 rebounds. His counterpart, Spencer Hawes, grabbed one rebound in 20 minutes of work.
Rookie Maurice Harkless also scored 10 points on just four field goal attempts for the Magic.
Meanwhile, the Sixers’ prized possession that they acquired for the two young talents, Andrew Bynum, was nowhere in sight.
“I think the team that we've tried to put together, we have never seen,” Collins said after the defeat. “And so I think what happens is when you take a huge piece away from it, your warts show.”
The Bynum saga should resonate at the core with any Sixers fan. The move has not worked out. It has not been handled well, and when the big man does speak he gives one little reason to think things will get any better.
Bynum’s absence has greatly impacted the Sixers. With that said, players still have to play the game and Tuesday night’s showing resembled people who are thinking about April vacations.
Does that say more about the coach or the players?
Another question that lacks an answer at the time. However, being embarrassed and outclassed by a Magic team that won for just the 16th time on Tuesday should stir up some emotion in the Sixers. It certainly brought out the fire in Collins.
“Can I tell you something? If everybody looked inside themselves as much as I did, this world would be a CAT scan. OK?” Collins said. “I mean, believe me, there's not two days go by that I don't go to [team president] Rod [Thorn], I don't go to [general manager] Tony [DiLeo] -- 'what can I do? Can I do anything different? How can I be a better coach? How can I be a better leader? How can I help these guys?' Sometimes you've gotta help yourself. You know? Sometimes you’ve gotta help yourself. Youth is a very blaming thing.”
The blame game never works in sports. It is a win together or lose together reality, and the Sixers are showing only the back half of that scenario.