76ers in need of a character check

The 76ers have lost four straight games heading into tonight's trip to New Jersey. (Nick Wass/AP file photo)

It’s kind of hard for me to get this notion out of my head that the 76ers have bailed on coach Doug Collins and tuned him out.

Let’s back up for a minute. Wasn’t this the case when Eddie Jordan was here? Didn’t this team – with virtually the same core of players – start dropping hints that Jordan and his “Princeton offense” were bad fits here?

I wasn’t here then, but that’s how the story has been related to me on numerous occasions.

You know what this really means in the larger scheme of things? It means that whoever the player is that’s casting bad aspersions on Collins’ heavy handed coaching style isn’t bright enough to know that the  coach-is-too-hard-on-us card has been used and is no longer in the deck. Jordan wasn’t known as a coach with a heavy hand (in fact, compared to Collins, Jordan’s style could probably be best described as placid).

Their criticism of Jordan was that he was trying to plug a square peg into a round hole. And you know what? Most people who saw that offense and recognized how bad of a match it was will give the Sixers that pass.

Not today, though. If the Sixers are tuning out Collins, this says more about the players’ (whoever the snitch or snitches may be) lack of character and respect for the game than it does anything else.

Think about it? Shouldn’t a general manager about to bestow millions upon a player be allowed to ask any member of this present group the next time his contract comes up whether or not he was a part of the contingent that conspired against Collins as the team tried to win its first Atlantic Division title in a decade?

Sounds like a fair question to me.

What does it say about players who could start  20-9, go 9-18 since, crumple in the face of some adversity and then mail it in because the coach raises his voice a little more than does, say, Miami coach Eric Spoelstra? 

And if the above isn’t true, and there is no mutiny in progress, then it means unequivocally that Collins (and please don’t get it twisted; he’s made his mistakes, too) coached up a team of mediocre NBA players early on NOW they are quitting.

In the meantime, here come the New Jersey Nets, winners of six of their last nine games and playing better than your hometown heroes, losers of three in a row and four of the last five.