Barkley to Sixers: Stop winning

Charles Barkley thinks the Sixers should focus on developing their young players this season. (Erik S. Lesser/AP file photo)

Charles Barkley was at the Chicago-Green Bay NFL game in Soldier Field on Sunday, because, well, because when you're Charles Barkley you can do that kind of thing if you like. He was trim(mer) than usual, said he had lost about 40 pounds, and stopped me in the hallway outside the press box to ask a pertinent question.

"Why is Doug Collins trying to win games?" Barkley said. "That's stupid. They should develop the young guys and try to get a better draft pick."

Barkley said he didn't mind being quoted -- duh -- so I'm passing that along for what it's worth.

"Doug's a great coach. Don't get me wrong," Barkley said. "But sometimes coaches get carried away with their own egos. But in a situation like this, it's not about them."

I don't think there's anything wrong with teaching players how to win, and if Collins can get enough work out of this team to make the playoffs, it's hard to argue with that goal. As I wrote in a recent column, however, the most important thing about this season should be finding out if Evan Turner can play shooting guard in the NBA. So far, that hasn't been the case, although he had a nice game versus Phoenix on Monday.

It is also worth pointing out that, in a related matter, having the No. 2 pick in the draft last season hasn't done them much good yet. So, go ahead and win, even if Charles doesn't think it's a good idea.

Barkley, naturally, also had an opinion on the Jay Cutler controversy. He was a guest on something called the Waddle & Silvy show in Chicago and said players should not criticize their own without more information. That's reasonable.

"Tell all the knuckleheads in Philadelphia I'll be back as soon as the basketball season is over," Barkley said when we spoke. So, consider yourselves told.