Doug Collins rant had him going viral. He’s not really sure what that means.

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Tuesday night after an embarrassingly bad performance by the Sixers, old-school coach Doug Collins went off in an 11-minute press conference talking about effort. About being a professional. About leaving everything you’ve got on the court.

“I looked out there to start the game and three guys weren’t even sweating when we started the game. They’re going to ease themselves into the game. You’ve gotta get sweaty, you’ve gotta get ready to go.”

We talked about it and the clip was all over the Web. Thanks to the NBA’s very strong twitterverse Doug Collins was trending and the video went viral.

That confused him, reports Dei Lynam at CSNPhilly.com.

“I guess I was trending. I was viral and trending,” Collins joked. “What is all this stuff?

“It was interesting. I went back and I didn’t think I was hard. I thought I was talking about what I expected and as a coach that is what you do. There was nobody called out. I have never been a guy that if you lost a game but competed to your best, I was never disappointed. I have always been disappointed if we didn’t do everything we are capable of to win.”

“I was trying to get the spin on this. How was it spun that I was so hard. I don’t think I did that at all. I think the players know that. We are a big honesty group and I think our guys know when you put a Sixers uniform on what is expected, but I was shocked. My phone was blowing up on me. I didn’t realize I had been so tough.”

Collins didn’t call out names but he didn’t really have to because nobody in a Sixers uniform should have been safe.

But he also went on to say that he understands part of what has happened in Philly — a team that has lost seven in a row and dropped six games out of the playoffs — has to do with making a big trade and building a team around Andrew Bynum only to have injuries keep him out an entire season so far. Again from CSNPhilly.com.

“I think sometimes we don’t understand how that really affects guys,” Collins said. “Like the other night before we played Orlando, Andrew was getting ready to speak to the media and I said, ‘I don’t know if he is speaking or not.’ Players were getting ready for the game and the media was waiting in there for Andrew to speak. I don’t know how guys process that.

“I talked a little about it today because I didn’t read it, but someone said (Bulls head coach Tom) Thibodeau was talking about managing distractions. There are so many distractions for these young players today. They have so much on their plate and to keep focused on the task at hand.”

Collins is the kind of old-school, hard-nosed coach that can wear on a team, particularly a young one that is not winning. But the lessons he tries to impart about effort and professionalism do matter if guys want to stick, want to succeed.

It’s just hard because the Bynum injury dealt Collins and the Sixers a bad hand to play. At some point the reality of the talent situation was going to catch up with them, and it’s hard not to be frustrated with the reality of that.

After Zion Williamson injury, Donovan Mitchell notes risk without reward

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Hype for rival North Carolina visiting Duke on Wednesday night was near an all-time high — secondary ticket prices were pushing Super Bowl prices. It was on national television. A lot of people were making money off of this, starting with the two universities.

Then Duke star and lock No. 1 pick Zion Williamson had to leave the game with a knee injury (later described as a knee sprain).

Utah Jazz wing Donovan Mitchell wanted to remind everyone Williamson was not among the people making money.

Luka Doncic then reminded everyone there is another path.

The NCAA makes its money off the archaic notion of amateurism, that myth fuels the profits major universities rake in off their revenue sports. Keeping that myth alive creates the underground market where players are bribed with shoe money or by boosters (or coaches) to come play at specific universities. It’s that myth that needs to die for the system to change. The issue of paying players is not a simple one — college softball players spend just as much time perfecting their sport and face the same restrictions, shouldn’t they be compensated as well? That said, there’s enough money for everyone if done right. A first step might be to allow Williamson and other stars to be able to profit from their name and likeness while in college without losing their eligibility.

Or, more basketball players may just start choosing Europe or other paths.

76ers coach Brett Brown says he doesn’t expect rookie Zhaire Smith to play in NBA this season

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Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons.

Zhaire Smith?

A few recent 76ers first-round picks missed their entire first professional season due to injury. Smith, the No. 16 pick in last year’s draft could join them.

Smith has missed the entire season so far with a broken foot then allergic reaction. He just returned to practicing with the 76ers, but maybe not in time to play for them this season.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

If the 76ers clinch their playoff seed before the regular season ends, I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith plays for them. But meaningful minutes seem unlikely.

Philadelphia is trying to win now, and a rookie who entered the NBA relatively raw then missed so much time is unlikely to help.

That said, backup wings James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons aren’t exactly reliable options. If everything breaks right for Smith – essentially the opposite of his season to date – maybe, just maybe, he plays for the 76ers this season.

Warriors vs. Bucks or Raptors betting favorite to be NBA Finals matchup

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Who will we see in the NBA Finals come June?

The West looks cut and dried — if the Warriors are healthy, it’s hard to imagine any other team in that conference giving them too much trouble.

The East? That’s wide open. A good case can be made for Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, or Milwaukee finding their way in. (For a more detailed breakdown, listen to the latest PBT Podcast where Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports and myself break down the East in more detail.)

The bookmakers over at BetOnline put together these odds on potential Finals matchups, and after the first four options the odds get pretty long.

Milwaukee Bucks vs Golden State Warriors 9/2
Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors 9/2
Boston Celtics vs Golden State Warriors 5/1
Philadelphia 76ers vs Golden State Warriors 5/1
Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors 28/1
Brooklyn Nets vs Golden State Warriors 33/1
Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Milwaukee Bucks vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Philadelphia 76ers vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Toronto Raptors vs Houston Rockets 40/1
Charlotte Hornets vs Golden State Warriors 50/1
Detroit Pistons vs Golden State Warriors 50/1
Miami Heat vs Golden State Warriors 50/1
Orlando Magic vs Golden State Warriors 66/1
Washington Wizards vs Golden State Warriors 66/1
Boston Celtics vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1
Milwaukee Bucks vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1
Philadelphia 76ers vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1
Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder 80/1

A few quick thoughts on that list:

• Interesting that the Sixers and Celtics are just a little behind the Bucks and Raptors in the minds of the bookmakers.

• I don’t know that I’d have Houston in front of Oklahoma City as the second-best option in the West. Not this season. The Thunder have the defense and star power to do playoff damage.

• If you’re thinking about putting money on Washington or Orlando to make the Finals — against anyone — just donate that money to charity instead. That way it will do some good.

Likely No. 1 pick Zion Williamson leaves Duke-North Carolina game with knee injury

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Zion Williamson will probably be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

He’s a generationally good prospect. The rest of this draft also looks relatively weak.

In fact, Williamson has such a stranglehold on the top pick, some have suggested he sit out the rest of his freshman season.

His injury during Duke’s game against North Carolina tonight will only heighten those calls.

Duke:

Hopefully, Williamson is OK.

And hopefully, the system changes. The NCAA is a cartel in which schools conspire to cap compensation for athletes at a scholarship plus some expenses. In a free market, Williamson would earn far more.

Unfortunately, it probably can’t be both. If Williamson escapes this without major injury, the status quo will likely endure.

But, if this injury even allows him to play again this season, it might be a warning shot that causes him to sit until he can enter the NBA draft.

Again, I hope he’s healthy enough to make that decision for himself.