The day after losing for a 27th time this season and scoring a season-low 69 points, Sixers head coach Doug Collins made sure to put things in perspective for his team.
“I said, ‘Guys, here is Thad (Young) who is injured. You have J Rich (Jason Richardson) who is looking at season-ending injury,’” Collins said. “’You have Jeremy Pargo who is on a 10-day contract. You have a man who lost his job last night. Do you think there is anyone in that outside world that feels bad for us?’
“Let’s keep this in focus and let’s understand that this is a real privilege to play basketball, and the moment you ever look at basketball as a job, you can’t play it at the highest level.”
The man who lost his job was Shelvin Mack, who the Sixers let walk after his second 10-day contract expired on Wednesday. That move opened the door for Pargo.
The Sixers will certainly welcome the help with the team down three starters in Young, Richardson and Andrew Bynum. All three are sidelined with various injuries.
Some still look at the Sixers’ playoff prospects with a level of optimism because the team currently sits in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and Bynum’s return is on the horizon.
“That is one thing I love about Philly -- if you have five out there you are supposed to win. That is what I love about this city,” Collins said. “I wouldn’t want to coach in a place that didn’t think you are supposed to win because I had that same mentality.”
The reality is the expectations that came with the moves the Sixers made in the offseason can’t possibly be met given the circumstances when they have a combined 72 man games lost to injury.
“I don’t know if you can plan to go through what we have gone through this year,” Collins said. “It has been pretty tough. It is the toughest year I have ever had to coach and the reason is there are great expectations. I have gone to places where the roster is thin but there weren’t a lot of expectations. Going into this season after finishing the way we did and then making the trade, there was expectations of us being a top-four team.”
Those team expectations were also met with high individual outlooks. Jrue Holiday has certainly showed the promise the franchise had for him by developing into an All-Star. However, the same can’t be said for Holiday’s perimeter running mate, Evan Turner.
The third-year player is a tough talent to figure out. He had a 17-game stretch in which he scored in double figures each game and averaged 18 points.
In the 19 games that followed, Turner averaged 13 points a night. Over his last four games, he is averaging just five points.
“He can’t let the little things bother him,” Collins said. “He just has to play. Evan is hard on himself, too hard. There is no perfect game. There is no perfect player. We are going to make mistakes, but you just have to play.
“For him it is the all-around game. When he is having an all-around game everything fits in for him. He can’t let some missed shots bother him. And sometimes when he is not shooting the ball well it deflates him a little bit, it frustrates him.”
There is plenty of frustration to go around with Sixers sitting at 21-27 with 34 games to go in the regular season.