This free agency period has been nothing but polarizing for the Philly fan base. On one side, there's the group of fans that will go to the grave with Hinkie because he's being technically brilliant, and understand that the team has to be really bad and stockpile assets that fans at Libertyballers have to get excited about. On the other side, there's the group that wants to unrealistically try for big name free agents like Lebron and Melo, then settle for more mediocre players like Paul Gasol as consolation prizes. I tend to be part of the former, but the 12 year old inside of me wants to agree with the latter more.
I believe the most important statement in my previous paragraph is: "...stockpile assets that fans at Libertyballers have to get excited about..."
I chose the phrase "have to" very precisely, because unfortunately, that's about where our team is right now. I just read the latest article about Jeremy Lin and what we could get from Houston in the deal, and how Hinkie was licking his chops over 2nd rounders and other assets we could flip. And the article was spot on.
But even the most intelligent, technical, strategic basketball fan inside of you has to be just a little sad at the fact: that right now our GM, and our fan base needs to choose between either disliking the Sixers and its management, or just loving the idea of getting some no namers, a backup point guard, or future 2nd round draft picks.
I am not saying getting excited over it is right or wrong, but it is unarguably not the position a basketball team, its management, and its fan base wants to be in. No team wants to feel like they have to undergo such a radical rebuild that management and fans need to strategically design how they are going to bamboozle teams out of their assets.
I understand that's what teams like the Sixers need to do in the modern NBA, and that's the way to greatness, but on its own, that is not a good position to be in. And as a community we have come to terms with that, and accept that it is crucial to the morale of our team and fan base to understand the process and (hopefully) love every step of it. Yeah, that's just how shit happened with the Sixers. That's the cards that Hinkie + management + fans were dealt.
But even then: it sucks. Period. No argument. Whether it's what we need to do, or just want to do (and we all know we need to do it), getting excited over no name players and assets and then writing about it here at LB like we just signed Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony sucks.
That's where I think the danger comes in: pretending to be overly excited about needing to acquire other team's garbage just because in our heart of hearts we know its right.
Now if you are one of those fans that truly and honestly can say you get excited over the thought of acquiring a 2nd rounder and nothing else Monday through Friday, more power to you. But I think it's important to remain realistic in emotional scope and come to terms with the fact it kind of sucks that that's what he have to do.
The other side, in my opinion, also needs to be more realistic. Saying that the Sixers' management is doing a terrible job and should go out and sign big name free agents then settle for consolation prizes is definitely more dangerous to the organization as a whole. That's what happened to the Sixers circa 2005 - 2012, essentially the Elton Brand, Iguodala, Chris Webber days.
That type of fan ideology is dangerous not regarding its motive. Wanting the best and most skilled free agents is something any team wants, and to the fans, maybe having a guy like Pau Gasol makes it worth taking the family out to a game for a night of fun is more justifiable than paying to see Hollis Thompson. Whether it's what the Sixers can do no or not, signing the best free agents is a pretty good strategy to have if you can get it done.
My conclusion on it all is this: it's important not to live in an echo chamber. The people at LB for the most part are well-informed fans, and understand what is happening, but I do think, we are - myself included - are being a little too romantic about Hinkie and how exciting it is to get all these wonderful and amazing useful 2nd rounders and future draft picks. I understand the utility and usefulness of them all just as much as the next guy, but as a basketball fan, its just not something that we naturally should get excited about. Which I suppose makes sense - this rebuild has been anything but natural. Its been a strategic overthrow an organization.
The echo chamber also exists on the other side. Spike and the mainstream Philly media and all of its following are overly critical of the Hinkie regime and how we are continually 2 years away from being 2 years away. That's obviously not good either.
Logically working with an echo chamber is like trying to go onto a Coke fan forum highlighting all the benefits of Pepsi. No matter how logical the point, it will always be the echo chamber - essentially hundreds of internet users - versus one, and that never turns into a fair argument/discussion/though exchange.
The result: 2 sides butting heads, arguing whether Hinkie is the next coming of genius or deserves to be fired and put as head chef at the local Arbys.
The Sixer community needs to embrace both schools of thought, and understand the frustration/praise the other side is exhibiting. One school is purely strategical, while the other is the basketball fan in all of us. Both are critical to an organization's success.
My opinion: The Sixers are doing what they can, and what they need to do...flawlessly. But I can't seem to get as giddy over it.