You've Got Sixers Email vol. 12: The Great Liberty Ballers Civil War

Whether you think Elliot is catching or throwing this ball ultimately says what you believe about humanity. - Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Heartbreak! Betrayal! Jewelry! All that and less on this week's UNENDING DEBATE on the Sixers early season non-failure.

So things have been getting a wee bit crazy in the comments these days. I'm like 98% happy about it because this is a Sixers blog and hey, why not have strong opinions about the Sixers? We're generally a hive-minded body of jiving parts with the occasional outlier (ahem) so when there's something that cleaves a fissure between neighbors as much as this issue has, we'll pop that puppy on a pedestal and throw javelins at it until we run out of javelins.

This is our last javelin. It starts off light. By the end, we're mortal enemies. Some of the more socially insensitive bits have been edited out and locked in the LB vault. To the emails!

BAUMANN

I'm bored with the Sixers now. I'm going to spend the rest of the season coming up with new terminology for basketball terms. So if we're calling the area outside the arc "downtown," we should call the area immediately inside the arc Fishtown or University City or something.

O'CONNOR

Isn't that Allentown already?

FISCHER

What about calling the short corner Aquille Carrner? Amirite?

BAUMANN

Under the basket is Passyunk.

O'CONNOR

Bordered by West (Oak) Lane and East (Oak) Lane

BAUMANN

Wherever Darius Morris is standing can be called Camden

O'CONNOR

Kwame Brown's seat is definitely Hershey. Both location and candy relevant.

BAUMANN

Okay I'm out of Philadelphia geographic jokes because I'm a sheltered South Jersey kid. From now on, the lane is Xanadu and the top of the key is Mysteryville. I guess my point is, could you call a game and change all the nouns and still have it make sense? I say it's possible. Unlikely, but possible.

PAVORSKY

I've been calling 3 pointers "Seattle". At least when Hawes shoots them, that is.

O'CONNOR

Jason Richardson's perch has to be called Old City

PAVORSKY

Has he touched a basketball at all in the past 6 months? He knows he can't use his feet, right?

BURTON

- Co-sign on J-Rich and "Old City"
- The straightaway 3 is "Seattle" (because it's so far away...)
- I'd petition for the corner 3 to be named "Turnersville", but ET's bricked way too many of them this year.
- Shouldn't "long 2s" be considered "Midtown Village"?

PAVORSKY

And it rains a lot in Seattle. Spencer makes it rain a lot on the court. Or in the club. Can't confirm the latter half. Maybe Mike can...

O'CONNOR

Petition to call the above-the-break 3 area "Tangtown"

BURTON

I wish there was a place on the court where Hawes never goes - that, of course, would be known as Basketball Apartment.

I'M GOOD, BRO...

O'CONNOR

Favorites/RT's email, if possible.

BAUMANN

Can we talk about the hilarious arrogance of Levin 1) naming his apartment and 2) naming it Basketball Apartment?

STEIDEL

Surprisingly very few actual basketballs in said apartment.

"Greenland is full of ice and Iceland is very nice".

PAVORSKY

I kind of dig it. Sounds like the name an NBC sitcom.

LEVIN

You bring that shit into Basketball Apartment, Baumann, and we'll see if that flies.

I got all the Seattle puns for Spencer on lock. "He hit that from Bainbridge!" "His range only extends to Cap Hill." "Spencer just fighting through the Pike Place foot traffic to get that bucket."

Look, Listen: Hangin' With Spencer!

BURTON

Jake: I'm going to need to you stop reading my mind. I had planned to pitch Levin on the idea of the "Basketball Apartment" sitcom, which I think would be ratings gold if done correctly. If nothing else, it has more legs than Dwyane Wade's "Three The Hard Way."

If that failed, my plan was to spin "Basketball Apartment" into the NBA's answer to MLB's Fan Cave. More hoops, less appearances by Nickelback. I could go into more details on both fronts, but I've been advised not to do so by my lawyers.

PAVORSKY

I have the roommates played by Aziz Ansari and Jason Sudeikis. Occasional appearances from NBA players, most of the time it's just Iman Shumpert. Aziz and Jason take Giannis on a wild trip around LA in one episode.

Mike, have your Hollywood people call my agent. I'm self represented.

BAUMANN

No, Dev Patel.

LEVIN

WHITE DEV PATEL FOR LIFE

BAUMANN

It is one of the best cross-racial lookalike matches I've ever heard of. If they'd made Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 10 years later you'd totally have gotten a non-speaking part in the bar scene.

(LATER)

NO! KWAME!

PAVORSKY

Hinkie's gotta be picking up Kendall Marshall, right?

BAUMANN

BOOGIE TRADE

F.

After this week, I can no longer use Kwame Derp Face as the default image for Casual Friday posts :(

PAVORSKY

I think Kwame is well deserving of a 30 for 30.

BAUMANN

Also, the fuck you can't use Kwame derpface, Justin.

(5 DAYS LATER, SHIT ABOUT TO GET REAL)

LEVIN

So are we all gonna declare sides on the SHOULD WE CHILL OR NOT debate/fiasco?

GOWTON

I feel chill but slightly annoyed when they win games like they did against the Bucks. I've seen way too much bad Spencer/Evan to suddenly come around on them. I just don't enjoy watching them play. I'm not freaking out about wins because I have faith this is all going to work out. But I can't help but be a little frustrated in the short term.

I wasn't as into the Sixers when they traded AI for Smith/Miller and hurt their chances of getting Durant (or Oden!), but I've come to learn of this through it bringing brought at LB many times. It's been sitting in the back of my head that Hawes/ET are basically the new Smith/Miller, to a certain extent. It's not an exact comparison, but I feel the frustration is somewhat similar. I saw JSams (!) himself make the comparison recently. I already don't like watching them play. And now they're potentially preventing the Sixers from a top pick? Ugh. Just frustrated.

It's more of a minor qualm than a serious concern because, again, I think it'll work out. But I have a hard time enjoying them right now.

Just venting!

STEIDEL

I don't really buy the Miller/Smith comparison very much. Those were two guys the Sixers went out and acquired, then proceeded to give big minutes to. Hawes and Turner were already a part of the roster. Hinkie and friends and just utilizing what they were given. If it were the same situation, you think Hink and Brown would have even traded for/played miller and smith? I'll take your answer off the air.

I get the basic premise of the comparison which makes sense. Just think the situations are very different.

PAVORSKY

I don't like rooting against the Sixers, I really don't. It makes me feel bad. But last night I woke up in a cold sweat because the Sixers drafted Mitch McGary instead of Julius Randle. You can't tell a team to lose, you can only position them in a place to perform poorly via personnel. Hinkie did that.

I think Hawes is still really overachieving. He seems to have an insane first couple weeks every year, then gets hurt and comes back to Earth. You know what you're getting with Thad. Jury is still out on ET for me.

I think they'll end with a top 5 pick, but they're scaring the shit out of me.

O'CONNOR

With Tanner on this one.

My philosophy: I only root for them to lose if the consequences of them doing so are overwhelmingly positive. Now, you have Hawes and Turner who are playing well and increasing treir trade value, MCW showing lots of promise, Brett Brown kicking tail (and basketballs!) as coach, which could all help down the line. Those are good things. This is not Doug Collins protecting his legacy and Damien Wilkins trying to earn another contract. There are positives here. Also I just wrote about this kinda.

STEIDEL

That's the only actual opinion you'll hear from me all year. I'm good for one a season. Goodnight all.

BURTON

I'm in chill mode, but that could change if the current pace continues.

The Milwaukee win doesn't bother me given the fact that the Sixers should probably beat a team like that anyway. Obviouvsly, the way the game played out factors into the equation somewhat, but if a team wins a game that they're expected to win, is necessarily that a "bad" outcome?

We've all watched enough basketball to know that this isn't an immensely talented team. Guys like Hollis Thompson and Brandon Davies don't get extended minutes on a playoff squad, not even an 8th seed in a weak Eastern Conference.

The reality is that they're probably a 25-29 win team as opposed to the 17-22 win team that most of us pegged them to be a month ago. And as "good" as the Sixers have been, they've lost 7 of their last 9 and are exactly 2.5 games ahead of the worst team in the East (Milwaukee). So I wouldn't worry too much just yet.

That said, there are quite a few winnable games coming up (Orlando twice, Detroit, Denver, Toronto), and if they wind up with 14 wins heading into the New Year, then it'll be that much more difficult to wind up with a top-3 pick.

FISCHER

Just like Roy said, they're only 2.5 games ahead of the last place team in the conference and a lot of those teams in the current East cellar are far more talented. The Wizards, Cavs, Knicks, Nets and even the Magic have a more talented roster than the Sixers.

They're also giving up over 100 points per game. They can't stop anyone. And I think this will slow down and crash back to earth. There will be a Spencer injury like Jake said and MCW will probably hit a wall in February. I just think they will rattle off a 10-15 game losing streak in December. Other teams are still finding their identity. The Sixers amazingly already have. Once those other teams do, we'll see some very different results.

BAUMANN

I'm having a hard time staying calm, just because of what happened to the Blue Jackets last year.

The Blue Jackets traded Jeff Carter and Rick Nash, hired a hot young GM were supposed to be shit and draft Seth Jones and build around him, or if not him one of the draft's franchise forwards. Then Bobrovsky caught fire and they traded for Marian Gaborik and instead of finishing last, they missed the playoffs by a point and they drafted some pudknocker, like, 14th. And now they're worse than the Flyers, which they should've been anyway, but now instead of Seth Jones they have the aforementioned pudknocker.

If that happens to the Sixers in this draft I'm gonna end basketball. Because while this is a strong draft, franchise players don't go twelve deep I'm this class. The problem is that I don't know that they can do much more to make this team worse without crossing that ethical boundary from tanking to what the 2007 Celtics did. So being the pessimist that I am, I'm convinced that they're going to screw themselves into 34 wins and Mitch McGary.

LEVIN

I wager everything I own, including the signed Dana Barros framed picture and this blog, the Sixers will not draft Mitch McGary with their top pick. Moratorium engaged.

RUETER

Mitch McGary is without a doubt the new Mason Plumlee. Sixers fans are terrified of him.

HOFMANN

It's not just Mitch McGary, even though that's the popular name to warn against winning. It's the possibility of taking any of these guys -- Montrezl Harrell, Gary Harris, Wayne Selden -- without pairing them with a Wiggins/Randle/Parker/Exum that scares me.

I get why people are turned off by others complaining about winning. There's nothing the players can do out on the floor except what they've been doing. There's nothing Brett Brown can do differently either.

But in the long run, I don't think MCW's nice start or Brown turning Hollis Thompson into somewhat of an NBA player outweighs the potential reward of obtaining a top pick in this draft.

PAVORSKY

Other Jake kinda brought up this point, but I don't think Brooklyn and New York can sustain playing how bad they are. Too much talent for them to fail as miserably as they are.

I think everything will work out, but I'm still gonna lose sleep thinking about what could go wrong. Guess its the Philly way.

FISCHER

It's totally the Philly way. Detroit could also find a rhythm defensively that could correlate to more wins and Orlando really is better than this Sixers team.

LEVIN

I just...... as the most experienced member of rooting for losses, I feel like I have some ownership of the ideals being hotly and manically debated on Twitter and in the LB comments. It's too early to scoreboard watch in either direction. It's just too early. You can't sustain it. There are currently 67 games left in the season. That's a post-burrito's load of games. If you're not enjoying the stupid fun of this team now, you'll be in the ER by February looking at an x-ray of the machete you swallowed after a 121-119 OT win over Charlotte. Regardless of your feelings about Spencer (BRANDON) or this draft class, you have to take a second and enjoy that this team is 10000000000 times more fun than any Sixers team I have ever been alive for. Including Iverson's teams. Because you *don't* have to care if they win. And you *don't* have to care if they lose YET. We'll get there, but we're not there yet. We're just not. It's not healthy yet. If you're watching Spencer drill one-legged buzzer-beating fadeaways from the corner and you're not high-stepping around the house like a drunk imbecile, then I don't know that simply drafting Wiggins/Parker/Randle/Exum would be enough to satiate your appetite for a good time. I'm as big a believer in THE PLAN as anyone else alive, but only a sith deals in absolutes. I fist-pumped after the Hollis Thompson OT three against the Bucks like it was Utley's inside-the-parker.

And I can promise you -- PROMISE -- the losses will come. They've played mostly home games and are 1-5 on the road. They've eked out lots of close wins -- that'll normalize. They are going to be one of the 5 worst teams in the league because when it comes down to it, Hinkie will move some combination of Evan/Thad/Spencer to get us there. And other teams will stop sucking quite as much (Brooklyn, NYK, Cleveland, Washington, Boston, Detroit) and the Sixers will be bad. They'll be bad. For the love of god, they'll be bad.

So what I'm saying is: It's still a win-win situation if you like having a good time, there will be a day in a few months when that's not the case, trust Hinkie, it's a long season, fun is fun, feel really good about Brett Brown and MCW for a bunch of years, and for the love of god the losses will come.

CHILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

HOFMANN

I guess I don't exactly agree with the "Chill" mandate, Levin. It's possible to enjoy everything that's happening on the court -- That's important to note, because personally I've found them a lot of fun to watch -- while also believing that winning games very well could ultimately have an adverse effect on this team's long-term prospects. And that belief could absolutely turn out to be wrong. You're right in that there are no absolutes in how to build a championship contending team, which seems to be the crux of the debate.

But for that reason, I think the discussion starts to get messy when people are told what to root for and how to enjoy the games.

LEVIN

No, I agree with that. I just don't see the reason to get super worked up about it when it's still so early and still so fun. Would not object to people rooting for losses at this point, only to getting super bummed about ridiculous wins.

And a different opinion: maybe as I'm getting older, I simply care about the Sixers less, and, while still generally keeping the bigger picture in mind, would like to have fun watching the team now even if it's somewhat at the expense of the future.

I don't know if that's necessarily true, just thinkin' out loud via email.

F.

I'm not chill. It was fun when they beat Miami and Chicago, now Spencer Hawes is draining fadeaway three point shots at the buzzer to send a game into overtime they would win with the help of Hollis Thompson. That's not fun, that is frustrating and annoying as there is not a person alive who thinks Hawes is a part of any future of this team and I highly doubt one game is going to significantly change how teams are valuing Hawes as we edge closer to the trade deadline.

And while it is possible the Nets and Knicks will regress into playoff teams, other teams like the Bobcats and the 1st place Raptors may regress/trade themselves into tanking teams. That this is the best draft class since 2007 and a potential once-in-a-generation draft class is probably not something that is lost on other teams. The worst team only gets a 25% shot at landing the number one pick. I get that and I do not care about that, but what I do care about is falling out of the top 4 and what I really care about is what if the Eastern Conference continues to be so bad and the Sixers do not stop winning? Not all draft classes are created equal and this is not the run-of-the-mill 2013 Draft class. The Sixers spent the last decade in the Doug Collins/Ed Stefanski/Rod Thorn mediocrity purgatory and excuse me if I want to see the Sixers with a future superstar as soon as possible.

Remember Doug Collins? Remember Arnett Moultrie? If the Sixers make the playoffs this season, they lose their 2014 Draft pick. They'll be at the mercy of the Pelicans' pick and goodness let's hope they do not sneak into the top 5. This is not a win-win situation. And while I absolutely have faith Hinkie will never let it get that far, this is not a win-win situation until the Sixers are so bad that a top 4 pick is pretty well assured and the Sixers have absolutely no chance of making the playoffs in a dreadful Eastern Conference.

There are great things happening on the court no doubt about that and I enjoy the crap out of Michael Carter-Williams, but the best thing for the Sixers long-term is a top 4 pick in this year's draft and the best way to ensure that is to start losing some games now before it's too late. Think the Jazz, Kings, Celtics, and Magic have any plans to stop losing? Think again. And it is not necessarily that there is anything Hinkie and Brown can really do right this moment (no team is trading for Hawes in November), but everyone happy about the stupid fun that is Hawes draining a fadeaway three to lead to a win against Milwaukee are going to be sorely regretting said fun if the Celtics land Wiggins, the Magic draft Randle, the Jazz select Aaron Gordon, and in spite of their best efforts to avoid tanking the Bucks stumble their way into Jabari Parker while the Sixers are left taking chances and hoping Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid are indeed equal to the others.

LEVIN

Justin,

They will not make the playoffs. You do not have to worry about it.

I guess this is just the crux of the argument -- are you the kind of person that can have fun watching this ragtag bunch of idiots knowing it's all gonna go to shit in a beautiful pyre of flaming James Anderson limbs or is there a singular focus that no amount of weirdness can get in the way of?

Considering the GM, coach, and happily overperforming rookie point guard, I consider myself in the first category. I don't think it's wrong to be in the latter, it's just who you are.

Dave, next Fireball's on you.

HOFMANN

People look for different things out of watching sports. Nobody should begrudge you for running around L.A. and yelling HINKIE at the top of your lungs after ridiculous wins, as I'm sure you're wont to do. On second thought, you probably do that anyway. But others obviously believe that a particular victory's ridiculous nature is exactly what makes it tough to enjoy. I can't fault them for that.

In terms of what's best for the franchise long-term I would offer as a counterpoint to Sean's points from today that we don't know if Hawes and Turner's trade values are inflating, and what the return would be actually worth in the long run. We still don't know really what MCW is as a professional basketball player, except that he's objectively a ton of fun to watch. But on the same token, we don't know if any of the top picks are going to be superstars just like we don't know if the ping pong balls would go the Sixers' way. Hinkie's the one who has to weigh all of these factors and do as he sees fit.

So basically, I think there's merit in both arguments. Like, I sort of disagree with Sean, but I also think that he's making a completely reasonable argument.

F.

The weirdness has overstayed its welcome for me.

LEVIN

67 games left. 67. Tanner gets burnt out after his second game thread.

F.

Let's have a solid diet of losing for a month consisting of maybe one or two games tops MCW steals, then I can get weird again and enjoy Spencer Hawes connecting on a game-winning buzzer beater long two as he is visibly belting "God Bless America."

STEIDEL (LOST IN HIS MIND, MIDWAY THROUGH "LIKE CRAZY")

Jacob and Anna celebrate their love they shared these past few months by exchanging gifts before her return to London for the summer. Jacob reaches down under his bed only to reveal a black box, one exclusively reserved for jewelry. Anna opens the box, revealing a silver bracelet. On that bracelet is a one word, written in script Anna looks down and softly mutters "Patience".

F.

Isn't Pavorsky a little young for love and jewelry?

PAVORSKY

My dad is a jeweler.

*Makes plug for LL Pavorsky Jewelers, on 707 Walnut Street in Center City. Open 7 days a week during the holidays, perfect for all your holiday needs.*

FISCHER

Does LL have the materials and capability of producing the Sixers' 2018 World Championship Rings?

--

You couldn't possibly have read all this.

The 2013-14 season is far more interesting than we had it pegged. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hurl this trident at Brandon's face. Hide your wife, hide your kids. Go Sixers Go Sixers? Go, Sixers! Sixers

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