Weep For The Youth: Tony Battie Still A Philadelphia 76er

Last year, when the Sixers went out and signed Tony Battie in June, we ran an article called "Sixers sign Tony Battie, Calamity to Follow". And while hysterics to the point of calamity did not, as predicted, follow, there were several facepalming moments of last season in which Battie was given meaningful minutes over better, younger players. This is what I was frightened of.

If he sniffs the court, it should only be because his cocaine fell out of his pocket. I pray that Doug Collins understands this, uses him as a warm practice body, and continues to play the young guys with a chance of helping this team in the future.

Unfortunately, Collins tipped back the bottle of Kool-Aid and blurted out ridiculous things like Tony Battie was his "closer" and played him in crunch time. Battie backed that up by having the team's worst Offensive points per possession and a Net48 worse than any of the regulars not named Andres Nocioni. And the new ownership has decided to reward him for all 377 minutes of playing time last season with another one year contract.

It's not that Tony Battie played too many minutes last season. It's not even that he isn't good enough to be a player in the National Basketball League. At the risk of repeating myself 18 months later, the reason that signing a soon-to-be 36 year old Tony Battie to another one year deal is a despicable, worthless move is because he will do absolutely nothing to advance this team to a contender now or in the future. He will not be a building block of this franchise. He will not get any better. He will not become Crash Davis and mentor young players into stardom.

What he will do is get in the way of Nikola Vucevic from becoming the league-average center he is capable of becoming. He will keep Lavoy Allen off the court. He will continue the Sixers history of ignoring the D-League. He will be the most non-entitiest of non-entities. And for what? All in the name of continuity on a .500 basketball team. We'll have much more on that fickle word later.

Essentially, Tony Battie is not a good basketball player. He may have been passable 6 years ago. Now he is end of the bench fodder and Collins felt it important to bring him back on a mediocre team because, well, you need veterans! No you don't. This roster spot would have been better used elsewhere (such as on Dwayne Jones, who got a camp invite and will not make the team) and while the money is a non-issue, little things like this is what separates the smart organizations from ours.

In writing this, I am fully aware of this waste of time in venting about someone that really, really, really doesn't matter. But in keeping with my age bias and vehement agism, each second that Tony Battie takes away from Vucevic, Allen, or Brackins is the dumbest second of all time. There's no reason NOT to sign a younger player given the circumstances of this team and the number of young, low-risk projects out there. And this angers me to no irrational end.

To infuriate the 99% further, Battie made $2,266.28 for each minute he spent on the court last season. Jason Kapono made $59,298.57 per minute, which makes me laugh and cry like I'm watching The First Wives Club.

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