Six Things on the Mind of a 76ers Fan
A season preview.
by Ben Taylor
It has been five long months since, with your help, I picked the Sixers as my team (if you can’t remember what I’m talking about, and to be honest it was so long ago I can’t blame you, check here, here, and here).
Overall, a frustrating NBA free first five months as a Sixers fan—charity games, world tours, more charity games, Euroleague rumors, Chinese league rumors, British league rumors, Lebron and KD making friends, flag football. Basketball Never Stops, basketball stopped, basketball is back, long live basketball.
Thankfully, sanity is but a few weeks away. Here’s the six things I’m most interested in ahead of the Sixers’ 11/12 season.
1. Seeing the Sixers Play Actual Basketball
I don’t care who they play or what time I have to wait up until to watch it on League Pass. I don’t even care whether they win or lose. I just cannot wait to see these guys play. So much so that I’m in the middle of an elaborate plan to convince my girlfriend that Philadelphia is the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day, in the hope that I can sneak in a few games and a trip to see my friends at Mitchell & Ness (any suggestions appreciated as always).
2. To Tank or Not to Tank?
There has been some discussion about whether the Sixers should use the shortened season to reset—basically, trade away players and aim to finish low enough in the NBA pecking order to get a good draft pick. This is one of those quirks that you have with the free agency/draft system that as a Brit and football (soccer) fan, I struggle to get my head around. I think I see the logic—it’s a short season, you trade away expensive pieces for expiring contracts, take a few losses and hope to get a decent pick in the draft and be left with cap space to land someone big. My problem with the argument is twofold. Firstly, it’s a pretty depressing way to approach competitive sport; I hate the idea of starting a season with the goal of coming last. Secondly, you’ve got to be pretty damn sure that you’ll get a marquee free agent (Dwight Howard) and a potential superstar in the Draft. Is Dwight Howard going to sign for the team with the worst record in the League? I’m guessing not. Check Philadunkia for some good stuff on both sides of the argument.
3. Resigning Thad Young
Thad Young has to stay in Philly. Thad Young wants to stay in Philly (hopefully). His teammates want him in Philly (probably). This is by no means conclusive, but the Sixers drafted me and traded away Thad on 2k12 My Player mode and we STUNK. Seriously. That can’t all be down to my questionable decision making and 5 turnovers per game. Can someone please just make this happen and then we can get on with getting ready for the season. Thanks.
4. The New Ownership
So far I’ve been pretty impressed with the new ownership group (as impressed as you can be with a bunch of billionaires you don’t know). They quickly got rid of the annoying gangster rabbit, cut ticket prices,and made a conscious effort to start listening to the fans. Their first real test will be re-signing Young, but after they do that and get Will Smith in to warm up the crowd with some Fresh Prince classics, they can consider me 100 percent in support of their ownership.
5. The Youth
One of the things that excited me most about the Sixers was their core of young, talented guys. Jrue Holiday is a rising star, Evan Turner has been working on his shot all summer, and Thad Young was in the running for Sixth Man of the Year. Hopefully, with another season under their belts, those guys will be primed to kick on and shock a few people in what will be a superstar-packed Eastern Conference.
6. The Amnesty Clause
Imagine if you had an amnesty clause for your life. A do-over on one bad decision. You could get rid of that crappy job and start again, cast off the ball and chain and make a move for a younger model, go back to school and study the thing you really wanted to study. Just throwing it out there…obviously, I’d have no need to use it (you never know who might read this).
Anyway, back to basketball. The Sixers have four amnesty options:
1) Use the amnesty clause on Elton Brand and go after Nene, Tyson Chandler, or Marc Gasol. It could work, although those you’ll overpay for one of those three guys.
2) Use the amnesty on Brand and give Spencer Hawes a chance. If it doesn’t work out, make a play for someone big next summer.
3) Wait it out until next summer, see what the market looks like and maybe make a play for a superstar/potential superstar. I’d go with this one.
4) Keep Brand and amnesty Nocioni.
As always, it would be great to know what you think on this stuff and anything else you fancy, so hit me up in the comments.
Bring on December 25.