Tanking is more of an art form than a strategic science. It takes great effort and dexterity to find the happiest of mediums between Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star awful and being competitive but not yet good enough to win. Throw up a couple heat-checks, make a few over-aggressive passes, toss in a few moral victories, and you have the fine work of a true craftsmen.
Brett Brown has been damn Picasso-like this season, getting endless effort from his overmatched players against opponents who nightly play down to the Sixers’ roster’s talent. With the team’s 108-100 loss to the Toronto Raptors tonight, the Sixers are now 1-6 in December, losing four-straight by single-digits while also yielding more than 100 points in six of those seven contests—the only team that didn’t score over 100 coincidentally was the Los Angeles Clippers and their high-powered offense.
But tanking isn’t just about wins (strikethrough) and losses, it’s also about player development and seeing notable improvements and consistent production. Brown has gotten that from his motely crew of a roster as well. Evan Turner continued to play like a trade asset worth a future first round pick against the Land Before Timers, posting a stat line of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists on 7-18 shooting. Tony Wroten shot 5-8 from three. Yes. One three pointer for every finger on his beautiful junkyard dog paws. James Anderson even had 15 points in 30 minutes off the bench.
After starting 3-0, the Sixers are now 4-17 and playing like the team we all expected them to be during the preseason. The clanking of a basketball careening off the rim never sounded so sweet. Turnovers thrown into the fifth row are funnier than a night with Aziz.
This team just simply isn’t good enough to win NBA basketball games without Michael Carter-Williams, dropping to just 1-8 with the leading candidate for the Rookie of the Year. It was encouraging to see him standing and even jumping a little while watching from the bench tonight and dawning a full uniform. At least he still has the capability of smiling.
The Sixers return home to the Wells Fargo Center to presumably get blown out by the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow evening. I’ll be in attendance for a Sixers game for the first time this season.
I’m looking forward to seeing Brown’s brush strokes in person. True craftsmanship deserves proper attention and applause.
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