The Philadelphia 76ers are headed in the right direction. I feel comfortable writing that about a season for the first time ever, and that's considering I began writing about sports on the Internet in 2009. It's incredible to me that in just eight months Sam Hinkie has changed the public's perception of this organization so markedly - a complete 180 from the years and years of incompetence from Doug Collins, Rod Thorn, Ed Stefanski, Billy King, and their cronies.
Despite the confidence in the front office, the Sixers sit at 13-28 through the first 41 games of this 2013-14 campaign and currently hold the third-worst record in the league entering their Wednesday night trip to Madison Square Garden. And outside of the Milwaukee Bucks' season from hell, the Orlando Magic's struggle to have a fully healthy team, and having about 4-5 more wins than anyone expected, all is going to plan.
Brett Brown is a hell of a coach. Michael Carter-Williams has submitted the best rookie performance of the 2013 NBA Draft class so far, and Hinkie selected him No. 11 overall. Tony Wroten is a gem, even if he might not be all that productive. Hollis Thompson and James Anderson have shown flashes of competency and potential staying-power in the League. And of course, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner (well, kind of) are all submitting career-best years.
Yes, it may be concerning that the team embarrasses itself from time to time clanking three-pointer after three-pointer or contesting each other's shots. It may be concerning that Brett Brown, the former San Antonio Spurs assistant, struggles putting together a strong defense - though good luck trying to do that with this roster, intentionally built to lose - but that simply doesn't matter for now. This has truly been a season where almost any outcome is a good outcome.
Take, for instance, the Sixers' inability to defend: relish the fact that this team's poor defense could ultimately bring Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins to the Wells Fargo Center. That enough is a reward for the losing.
But the best thing of all is that this truly terrible season is SO MUCH FUN. The Sixers lead the league in pace and are the most enjoyable motley crew of all-time. The Sixers score 101.2 points per game but are second-to-last in the entire NBA in offensive efficiency, which makes the ineffectiveness substantially less painful. Heck, just thinking each players' name makes me smile. Watching these former-first-round-pick castoffs get a chance to play in those beautiful blue road unis is simply delightful.
Going forward, things should change. The trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and one, two or three of Young, Hawes or Turner should inevitably be moved. Then again, we knew we were in for this. It's been expected since June 27th, when Sam Hinkie blew up the franchise as we knew it and made it his own.
There are 41 games left. While it's been a fun ride, these may be the last 41 games in Sam Hinkie's master plan that the Sixers are this kind of enjoyable.