Most of what we write about the Sixers goes into angry, rambling, semi-coherent emails that go unpublished. Until now. The following program has been edited for content and to fit the time allotted.
Men: It's over. I feel like we've bonded, become a family through great hardship over the past several months, like the baby dinosaurs in The Land Before Time. But we all follow other sports, and we've seen Murphy's Law seasons like this one before, from the Phillies and Eagles and Temple football, to say nothing of some really frustrating Sixers seasons before this one. But this seems to stand out as the worst. Am I crazy? And if not, why?
For next season to be worse than this one, all the Sixers would have to die We Are Marshall style except Spencer Hawes, who magically survives and goes on Oprah to talk about his survival. Then the Sixers clone Willie Green four times and max them all out and there's your lineup. That would be worse than this season, but only that.
Land Before Time is the best 69 minutes of my life. Ducky rocks.
This season was the worst. And it's not just the losing. I think we're all immune to the losing at this point. We didn't exactly break any new ground here. But this team was just so, so boring. Sure, those early/mid-90s Sixers teams were dreadful, but they at least trotted out a couple of guys over 7'5" and managed an occasional 50 point scorer (Burton; Barros). If you're gonna stink, at least entertain me. And if you're not gonna entertain me, then why are we still together? For the kids?
I guess we're still together for the kids.
I was actually thinking about this earlier as I read Levin's eulogy.
This season was the worst. And like Dave said it's not because of the losing. Eddie Jordan lost more games than the Sixers this year, the Phillies are currently losing, the Eagles lost last season, the Flyers are losing this season. I can tolerate losing. I've supported teams that lost before and I'll support teams that will lose in the future. I've only been alive for one major Philadelphia sports championship. Losing is not a big deal to me. I would not be a sports fan if I could not tolerate losing.
The big deal is the dichotomy from the optimism at the beginning of the season to where the Sixers currently find themselves. It's not that they lost, it's that they lost in such a way that rips your heart out. It's that they lost while their star acquisition that was going to bring about the end of Mediocracy never played a single minute. It's that they lost while Evan Turner continued to mostly disappoint. It's that they lost while ignoring a rookie they traded back into the 1st round to get while giving Spencer Hawes 27 minutes a game. And unlike a heartbreaking playoff defeat a la the 2011 Phillies, it was not just one single knockout punch. It was an unrelenting diet of roundhouse rights to the face. I am proud that the Sixers gambled and you do that Bynum trade 100 times out of 100 if presented with the knowledge the Sixers had then, but for everything to go as bad as it did and the Sixers to still fall out of the top 10 of the draft just kills you.
Say hello to future Philadelphia 76er Mason Plumlee. Then get ready for a trade for Miles Plumlee. Then say hello to future draft pick Marshall Plumlee. Then when Philadelphia gets a professional women's volleyball team in six years, say hello to their first ever player Madeline Plumlee. Plumlee-delphia here we come. Seppuku here I come.
To build off what Justin just said, I think that it was more than just optimism. The Sixers made a deal to make themselves relevant, something that hasn't been the case for almost 10 years. Relevance was something we all wanted after being mid-tier flotsam for years, and Bynum was the ticket out of that.
But once Bynum became less and less of a possibility, the Sixers became more and more irrelevant, everything else came up. They turned into a sideshow, more notable for funky haircuts and post-game meltdowns and PR gaffes and Adam Aron's Twitter account and weekly interviews which had no meaning and fourth-string centers who walk to the scorer's table for candy than their on-court product.
And, sadly, this may have been a good thing when considering the quality of the basketball.
That's why I also believe it's the worst season we've endured. Combining the terrible team with the sideshow, this had everything for all the wrong reasons, and in terms of the NBA the Sixers are as irrelevant as they come. Again.
I don't know if anything will beat that post-Barkley, Doug Moe debacle back in '92-93. And lest we forget the John Lucas Era, during which Vernon Maxwell was a thing, and Richard Dumas missed the end of the season after he dropped a trash can on his foot. Here's the starting lineup the Sixers trotted out Lucas' last game: Rex Walters, Greg Sutton, Clarence Weatherspoon, Ed Pinckney and Tony Massenburg. Seriously.
Granted, this season wasn't all that enjoyable. But we did learn a few things about Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young that we didn't know before. And the entertainment factor provided by Swaggy P was fun while it lasted. And, for a while, we had hope. Sadly, that hope was washed away in a storm of terrible hairstyles, misguided tweets and cartilage grown in Petri dishes.
Guys, why do we write about the Sixers?
Besides the fact that I like basketball and am from Philadelphia? I dunno.
Part of the reason I like writing about the Sixers is that pretty much everyone that visits any forum is a diehard. I've never been happy with the amount of support that the Sixers get from what it is otherwise a great sports city. Liberty Ballers and other Sixer forums are pretty much Fight Club in the Philadelphia sports scene. I like interacting with people who care, and also beating the crap the out of them until they are bloody and can't walk.
Ladies call me The Sixers because I'm hopelessly inadequate. This commonality bonds us, imploring me to write about them.
I find myself unable to have a conversation with a Sixers fan who doesn't, in some way, hate themselves for it. Also I think about the Sixers during sex sometimes and go soft instantly. It's a problem.
I wish I was lucky enough to have Levin's problem.
Wait... you wish you were impotent, Justin?
OVERRATED: The Underrated/Overrated game. Also Wheat Thins.
I wish I had a chance to know whether or not I was impotent.
When I'm trying to avoid any premature fireworks, I recite the '93 Phillies starting line-up. (I usually start Eisenreich. Righty on the mound). That doesn't really apply to impotency, however.
Dave usually gets goin' around Uncle Milty.
I think I made it to Dutch once.
Did you create a Dutch oven as a result?
Alcohol could get ya to Kim Batiste.
Who would you get to coach the Sixers?
I'd love someone like Stan Van Gundy who has a good track record and would get the fanbase excited, but I think that's a bit of a pipe dream.
Short of that, Brian Shaw would be a good choice: He has a bit of a pedigree and he's young enough that he should be able to relate to the players better than Doug did.
To put it frankly, I don't care too much. I'm not sure how much it matters anyway. I think I'd prefer an external option (meaning not Michael Curry, although I'd like to keep him at his current job if possible?). There's some interesting names out there as far as assistants go, but I'm not sure if the Sixers could attract one.
For no good reason at all I think the Sixers hire Byron Scott.
I don't want Scott or SVG. If I had my druthers as an outed ageist, I would like them to hire the youngest coach possible. Erik Spoelstra's son. Anthony Michael Hall circa Sixteen Candles. The kid who plays Rickon. Really anyone who can't legally drink.
But yeah it doesn't really matter even if everything goes right (losing lots), since the way the NBA goes, they'll be gone before the Sixers are good anyhow. So just get me somebody who runs a fun offense. Not McKie or Curry.
In that case, I'd go for VMI head coach Duggar Baucom, who teaches a hyperactive brand of basketball that makes Paul Westhead look like Bo Ryan. How does 50 three-point attempts a game strike you?
If it comes with Reggie Williams, Travis and Chavis Holmes, and Austin Kenon, then I am SO ON BOARD WITH THAT YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.
Kelvin Sampson would be my first choice, but any offensive-minded coach would be okay. I'm so sick of running offenses from the early 90s.
Kelvin Sampson! I guess the texting nonsense doesn't really matter in the NBA, but I for one would rather not have my team's coach be best-described as "sleepy-eyed."
Though it would certainly open up the discourse to a million Half Baked references about people who have the desire to talk to Sampson.
These guys should be used to questionable texts by now, considering the old coach's late night texting habits and Levin's slightly inappropriate requests at all times of the day. Those probably aren't stopping, though.
As for Sampson, I like the hands-off style the coaching staff he's on in Houston has during games and the emphasis they place on practice because of that. It's a fun style to watch in games, and it's also very effective. Granted, he's older than you'd ideally want, but there's not going to be any perfect fit here.
And when Michael Beasley requests a trade here, well, we'll know why.
Stan Van Gundy doesn't want us anyway, so he can go kick rocks.
Let's all kick rocks. We'll see you next week for another episode of the You've Got Sixers Email Thread, hopefully this time with better formatting.