By Khalid Salaam
Lately I’ve been inundated with complaints that I haven’t been supportive enough of my Sixers. That I was focusing on the negatives instead of enjoying what has become the most satisfying season the Sixers have had in years. Well everyone is wrong. Admittedly I was quite hostile and I had a right to be hostile, my fandom has been persecuted.
But I’ve always supported the team, since I was a kid. My involvement with the Sixers occurred right around the time I first started growing a peach fuzz stache and first kissed a girl. We’re talking two decades here and recently my mentality with the Sixers (and Eagles too) is that they owe me a championship. I’ve been through way too may games, era’s, players, coaches and whatever else and looking at the roster coming into the season there didn’t seem much reason to expect anything good happening. For most of the season I was dead-on as they struggled to compete. It’s only been within the last month that they’ve played well. My thing was I didn’t want to make the playoffs with a record 10 games under .500, to me that is not respectable. This upcoming draft is waist deep and I hoped to find a star there because there isn’t anyone on the Sixers roster who has the potential to be a number 1 guy. There is no franchise player. That’s just the truth how I saw it. The numbers backed it up. Just making the playoffs doesn’t impress me. My team isn’t the Hawks or Clippers, we’ve been in the post-season before. So the eff what. I’ve watched thousands of games in my lifetime; I didn’t care about just making the playoffs.
I started watching the Sixers hardcore a couple of weeks ago and the game against Boston earlier this week was for me a watershed moment. I’ve never seen Iguodala play better. Andre Miller was amazing and Mo Cheeks made the right adjustments and substitutions, which considering how he’d been doing since he took over as Head Coach was shocking. But most of all I saw someone with ability, someone who has that upside word that sports fans love to hear. Thad Young looks like the future of the franchise. I don’t want to get too excited but I saw bits of a scoring ability and of a rebounding prowess and even a basketball IQ that shows how good he can become. You never know with some guys, some people never get better and some get comfortable where they are. But at least he seems to have “it” that extra ability that makes careers with All-Star appearances a regular occurrence.
The team still needs a lot though so don’t get it twisted. For such a intelligent guy Dalembert still plays like he rode the short bus as a kid and the team is lacking a consistent outside shooter (Korver was dope but his contract was expensive) and a low post scorer but at least things are looking up. I mean at least we’re not the Knicks. If we give the Pistons a fair one and lose in 5 or 6 games I’ll be happy,
One more thing I’ve been meaning to bring up but I’ve been busy with work, shaking my head at Eliot Spitzer and wishing that Jeremiah Wright worked in the SlamDome is that I’ve thought of a nickname for Chris Paul.
Here it is: The Definition.
As in Paul’s the absolute definition of what you would want in your point guard. As in the definition of making the players around you better. As in the definition of a franchise player. Yes Kobe is the best player in the world and Bron and Tim Duncan are right behind him but right now Paul is the guy who is the most dominant. I don’t care what anyone says, the Hornets roster is highly flawed. Paul makes them this good. They have the best record in the hardest conference in modern history. He’s playing at the highest level possible. He’s Nas right after Illmatic dropped. I said months ago that he was the most improved player (in a real sense its easier to go from scrub to good in comparison to good to great) but he’s been even better since I said that. This guy went to the next level and then to the next and then incredibly to the next. He’s the MVP fam, stop with the politics and be honest.