By Khalid Salaam
For the rest of our season previews, go here.
There are two kinds of fans in my estimation. There are those who root and support their team no matter what, don’t care at all about what players do off the court, don’t care how much players get paid, expect greatness every year and even when they don’t get that, they except whatever they can get. They just want to be entertained and if their team struggles year after year they still support them and are proud of whatever they do.
Then there are the fans who despise losing, and want to win so bad that it makes them hysterical, it makes them delusional even, and they are all about complaining and scab-picking their teams to death. They boo their own players when they under-perform, get mad at guys for not playing through injuries, call talk-shows and vent on a way too personal level and generally anytime they can, spew negativity like they’re getting a paycheck for it.
The latter is the preferred mindstate of Sixer fans (Eagle fans too). We really do eat our own. And the 2007-2008 version of the 76ers promises to be a smorgasbord for the die-hards. It’s really hard to have optimism for this year’s team but that’s fine. I have such low expectations that whatever they do is acceptable. I remain unimpressed by Head Coach Maurice Cheeks, who while serviceable, hasn’t really gotten as much as he should have from his players. I’m sure he’s into the games and is committed to winning but often I get the sense watching him that he’s just as bored with the roster as I am. Maybe he’s not a big rebuilding guy.
It does me little good to speak about Sixers General Manager Billy King (aka Fake Ass L.A. Reid) since most people who read slamonline with any regularity know that I’m not a big fan of his. I don’t wish him harm but if he just happened to vanish into the abyss I wouldn’t give a f*ck either. As far as the roster, I suppose I have to start with Andre Igoudala, who should be about ready to become a legit Number 1 guy if in fact its ever gonna happen. He’s a high-riser and a good slasher but doesn’t have the shooter’s touch to ever average 20 points a game, which wouldn’t be so bad on most other teams. His whole total package thing (with the steals and defense and rebounds) is cool but there isn’t a go-to guy on this squad and Igoudala isn’t a dominant offensive player so double-teams are not needed. And you can’t win in the NBA without a double team guys.
Kyle Korver is the second best player but his game is still centered on outside shooting. Which is great because he’s amazing at that but that’s all he can do. Occasionally he’ll up the ante but he’s a jump-shooter, which isn’t bad, but not enough on this team. Then there’s Sam Dalembert who seems smart enough (he’s a techie guy) but his basketball IQ is the stuff legends are made of. Basically dude doesn’t really know enough about basketball or either can concentrate enough because he makes stupid mistakes all the time. He’s a beast with the blocked shot but what else?
Andre Miller is a good point guard but not a good shooter, Willie Green is a good driver and plays hard but not a good shooter. Reggie Evans is an amazing rebounder and he will help but that’s all he can do.
It’s a team full of specialists and that is probably not going to work beyond a few stretches here and there. I like rookie Thad Young but I expect little from him this year, same with rookie big man Jason Smith. He has some ability but you don’t get the sense that he’ll make a run at the rookie of the year award. I could, possibly be wrong but I doubt it. Anybody got the balls to bet otherwise, lets go.
So to bring back my early point, even though I know this team will struggle to win 25 games, I still support the effort. The team isn’t good, ok I can accept that. Do I miss Iverson? Sure, but I’ll live and bringing back old memories and old people (Larry Brown stay away. Seriously) doesn’t do any good. The team is rebuilding and it’s gonna take a few years before we can really compete. We are the worst team in the Atlantic Division. Whatever. I hope the team does ok. I hope they just do the best that they can but all that Sixer fan bs where we all try to destroy our own teams to give our lives worth is dead man. This is the dawn of a new era, a new way of thinking. Follow my lead. Go Sixers. F*ck the Haters.