I consider myself to be a smart Sixers fan. And along with everyone else, it has been a long and painful past decade here in Sixers Land. I want Wiggins, and know that tanking is the best course of action. I also know that this roster's tankability is off the charts.
But what if the Sixers surprise some people? How can I not pull for a young, scrappy Sixers team who starts off the year 3-5, or 4-4? I know we're thinking long term, but June, 2014 seems like an eternity away.
So, Dave, my question is this: What if the Sixers win a few games early? Can I root for them to win short-term, even though it would be detrimental to the franchise long-term? Does that make me a lousy fan? An uninformed fan?
Imma hang up and listen.
This is a fantastic question asked by a really insightful reader, and one that I've been thinking about a lot lately. It's no secret that we here at Liberty Ballers have embraced the Tanking Lifestyle.
I haven't beaten my nephew in Uno in over two years. Hell, I haven't even played a Draw Four card since the Cheeks Administration. Last Saturday, Tanner went outside to work on his foul shooting, but instead got into his car and drove to Wendy's for a pretzel bacon cheese burger. Roy's bedroom wall is covered in Tank Abbott posters. Jake has come down with a severe case of 7th Gradeitis. Rich is only watching eight hours of Synergy a day, down seven plus hours from last year. (Those extra seven hours are now dedicated to Freddie Prinze Jr. Rom-Coms).
"Freddie actually has some depth as an actor," admitted a tanking Rich Hoffman.
And Mike B. just ran off and got married. I didn't even know Mike B. was engaged.
If the writers here at Liberty Ballers were tanking any harder, we'd be typing each post in nothing but No Fear t-shirts. So, yeah, we're big picture guys. We're through with mediocrity. I've flirted with a #8 seed enough times to get a restraining order filed against me.
"Hey there, sexy. Daaaamn, you're looking good in those standings behind Milwaukee. Ever been to Miami in April, baby?"
The Sixers have finally bottomed out. They will be terrible this year, and that's ok, because terrible is good and up is down and front ways is sideways and Andrew Wiggins will be crashing on Bauser21's couch until he gets his feet under ‘em and I'm already carving out a spot on Broad St for the Championship Parade in 2017 and you guys are all invited to my place afterwards as long as you take your shoes off at the door otherwise my wife will kill you.
But wanting the team to tank and openly rooting for losses is an entirely different animal.
And what if the Sixers don't initially suck? Yes, I'm about to throw ‘What If' scenarios around like Ja Rule lyrics, but what if the Sixers win a few games early? What if Thad Young blows up? What if Mike's future Best Bro, Spencer Hawes, morphs into Wight Howard yet again in November? (Tanner and I went to opening night last year. It was the closest thing I've seen to Bill Russell). What if our rookie point guard, Michael Carter-Williams, and his Dhalsim-like arms and legs jumps into passing lanes and ignites fast breaks?
What if the Sixers do start 3-5, or 4-4? The Sixers clip Washington, and jet lag ravages Golden State, and Cleveland rolls over because they were just decimated by another Andrew Bynum ‘basketball activities' time table, which appears in the tangible form of an Edward Nigma riddle box placed in each player's locker.
This season is uncharted territory for me. Tanking in September? There is no precedent for this. You're asking me to root against the Sixers for 82 games, when just three weeks of an inspired Damien Wilkins last year took five years off my life. I'm built for speed, not comfort. I don't think I can do this.
So, it's with a heavy heart, that I announce I'm pulling for the Sixers this year.
(At least until December, when they're seventeen games under).