So. We're almost to the midway point of the season, and our Sixers are bad, but not horrible, at least not consistently. Tonight, they have the Pistons coming in, a team only one game behind them in the race for the bottom. If ever there were a must-lose game, tonight is it.
Tonight's game is sort of a microcosm of the season so far for me.
My head wants the Pistons to win tonight, and my heart wants the Sixers. We need to fend off the Pistons for draft position, but I hate watching when they play like crap against crap teams.
This is the toughest year to enjoy the Sixers I can remember, and I thought it would be the easiest. It's hard to actively cheer for the other team, even when you know it's the best thing in the long term for that other team to win. And it's hard to cheer for the Sixers, when you know that every win is another nail in the Andrew Wiggins coffin, especially with the Sixers being thisclose to backing into a playoff spot (could you imagine? So much tanking...so...much...tanking...so...much...), and sorry, I don't consider Noah Vonleh as any sort of consolation prize for anything (Hey, cheer up, we missed out on a potentially franchise-altering talent, but at least we got a guy who might make a nice 8th-9th guy on a good team someday! Good Times!!)
I feel like unless something drastic is done, and quickly, (something like trading Turner and Hawes, and maybe Thad, or at least giving him a phantom injury for a month or two), it's going to play out that they'll even be mediocre at tanking, come out of this "loaded" draft with two guys that project as mid-to-back rotation players on a good team eventually, and spend the next 10 years floating around between 25-35 wins, as they are crappy enough to inject more and more mid-late rotation guys into their roster, but not good enough to make any real noise...maybe they sneak an occasional 8th seed in an off-year for the Eastern Conference.
The next couple drafts, from everything I've read so far (which, admittedly isn't much), don't really project to have any really transformative players (next year might be even worse than the Evan Turner fiasco, which, I must admit, I was on board with when it happened, so I'm a hypocrite). Who knows when there will be more than one or two top-end talents coming out next? Five years from now? 10? And a consistent drafting in the mid-to-late lottery isn't going to get it done.
"Yes, but what about the Genius of Sam Hinkie? Don't you think he'll save the situation?" No. Not really. Stupid GMs are becoming rarer and rarer, and there's no David Kahn left to fleece for two 1st-rounders in exchange for Spence Hawes and the Rights to El Richard. Besides, all the genius in the world isn't going to help you when you're trading for two 1sts in a draft where Evan Turner is the consensus second-best player (I would maintain there is exactly one top-flight player from that draft, and it was raw luck that he fell to Indiana).
"But you have to get value for the players you trade!" Um, yes, if you're talking about an outgoing player who himself is valuable (e.g. Thad Young). Hawes and Turner would be addition by subtraction. We'd get rid of their obnoxious POINTZZZZZ!!!! (although Spence seems to be fading from Wight Howard mode as the season progresses) and horrific, horrific defense, while some other lucky team gets a half-season rental and cap space for next year. Maybe we have to take back a crappy contract with more than a year on it, but we're going to be so far under the cap next year that it's not even going to be a consideration.
And my personal favorite:
"A core of a more-experienced MCW, a healthy Noel, Gary Harris, and Montrezl Harrell will develop into a really good team! Brett Brown is great at player development!!"