With the All-Star Break over and the trade deadline looming, LB is giving you two previews for the second half of the Sixers season. The pessimistic preview is delicately written by Mike Baumann. The optimistic preview below is butchered by me.
Hypothetical: You are a housewife in Iowa in winter. Your husband's romantic dispositions have all but vanished with the crop. You haven't had sex in 8 months and you don't even want to. You never had kids because your husband is infertile and he didn't want to adopt. The heat in your house just broke and you don't have the money to fix it so you go to Walmart to get blankets for you and Lyle before the snow blocks the roads. You see your friend Sherry there. She asks if you're doing anything fun this weekend. You know that you're not but you say you are. You hope that you are. You don't know it, but you're a Sixers fan.
The Sixers haven't even begun to build up all that summery good will that their baseball counterparts have over the last 5-6 years. The Sixers have only given you reason time and again not to trust them. They're not good enough to be considered "cursed" and they're certainly not fun enough to make the losing go down easier. They are 7 games under .500 and you are searching for a reason to keep watching.
I'm not going to sit here (I'm actually laying down) and tell you that being pessimistic is easy (it is) and you should be optimistic because sports are theoretically entertainment and if you're not being entertained than you should either stop watching or seek help. I'm not going to do that because if that were true, then this blog wouldn't exist. Optimism isn't some badge of honor or a mark of a good fan. It's a choice and one that demonstrates just how immaterial you (and I), The Fan, are. It's bullshit. It doesn't matter. Think what you want.
This season has been depressing. Beyond depressing. We passed Depressing in December, Heartbreaking in January, and we're two exits away from Oppressive now in February. But objectively, there are many, many reasons to be excited about this Sixers team -- they're doing exactly what we wanted them to do.
-- Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner have developed. One more than the other, but both have gotten better at basketball as they have taken on bigger roles on the team. They have won games. They are the guys taking shots at the buzzer. That is to be celebrated. Jrue is an All-Star. That's a thing.
-- Missing the Playoffs means keeping the draft pick. If the big guy doesn't play, they'll miss the playoffs. There is no question about that. So either we get him back for some games and he dominates or we get a lottery pick in June. That's exciting as hell. Be great or be terrible. That was always the deal. The way their schedule looks, it's gonna be a disaster -- awesome.
-- Andrew Bynum continues to do things. If he's screwing with us, it's the most elaborate plan outside of South Bend I've ever seen. I don't know what the hell is happening with him, but he's still playing some basketball, so he at least plans on coming back some day. The whole thing makes me weep uncontrollably, but all we can do is keep waiting and assume he's getting healthy.
-- Doug Collins is not the future coach of this team. He is having a terrible season not only from a record standpoint but also a mental health one. He's already had some problems with Vertigo and gone on record as saying this is the hardest season of his career. He's not having a good time. Doug's "system" will not be in place forever. He also doesn't think the Sixers will make a big deadline move, for what that's worth.
-- Arnett Moultrie is starting to do things! Like actual things!
There are reasons to be excited. Those reasons may not involve winning a championship or even winning 10 more games this season, but all we can do is look forward. And forward isn't the worst place to be with Jrue, Thad, and a few high-upside wild cards in your pocket.
Maybe you will have a few fun things planned this weekend. Wrap yourself up in your blanket and dream.