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Toot It Or Boot It: Spencer Hawes

Why Spencer Hawes needs to go, even if not for totally rational reasons.

Spencer is sad. I think it's because of the jersey color.
Spencer is sad. I think it's because of the jersey color.

Whenever I think or debate about roster makeup, I always try to take my emotions and put them off to the side to have a nice relaxing day in the sun. I like to use objective analysis and what little I know about basketball to make rational decisions, using whatever tools I have at my disposal – some combination of statistics, video, contracts, etc. – with the ultimate point of figuring out how a franchise can ultimately succeed. I believe that general managers and other decision-makers should remove emotion from the roster-building process, and I believe the best teams do that.

One example: unlike a lot of non-casual Sixers fans, I had few problems with the BOSS, if only because I felt he provided a valuable skill (volume scoring at near league-average efficiency) at a reasonable price. Sure, he frustrated me to the point of pulling my hair out on many occasions – and by "many occasions" I mean pretty much all the time during every game - but overall Lou Williams helped the Sixers win games, and that’s what teams pay players to do. Whether you harbor resentment because he helped the team win more games that you hoped it would is a different scenario all together - and a scenario that makes a lot of sense given everything that's happened here recently - but you get my drift.

But I find myself unable to come to a reasonable, objective conclusion on Spencer Hawes, if only because the vitriol he inspires within my soul consumes me like a Moe Harkless box score consumes Doug Collins, or also how Doug Collins’s egomania consumes Doug Collins and everyone around him, leaving me unable to really be objective. The frustration accumulated over three years of watching him flounder on the court, miss rotations, and be a generally incompetent player the majority of the time just overwhelms my more logical thoughts that it would not be the worst thing in the world, and that it may actually be a good thing, if he came back next season, regardless of whether or not the Sixers pursue the Bynum experiment further.

While he siphoned the gas out of the Sixers tank (RIP, Lucy the Giant Tanking Octopus) he actually played his best basketball down the stretch of last season. Most of that has to do with added emphasis on better shot selection– he took more threes and shots in the paint, which naturally led to more efficient offense. Over his final 17 games, which meant nothing of course, he shot just over 50% from the floor and 45% from three (on only 31 attempts). His combination of passing and shooting could work well with a paint presence (ahem), despite Hawes being maybe the worst defensive forward of all time, especially as part of a lineup that didn’t play too many minutes.

That being said: screw Spencer Hawes. Seriously. Boot him to Siberia. Maybe he can catch a cold. He can hang out with Royal Ivey and Lonny Baxter. Or maybe he can take out the Soviet Union. I’m sick of his temper tantrums, his attitude, his maddening inconsistency, his nonexistent defense, his stupid haircuts, his weak screens, his propensity for taking the worst shots as often as possible, and his everything else. In three short years he’s nearly reached the Willie Green level of hate for me. Do you know how much hate that is? I thought it impossible for me to hate a Sixer as much as I hated Willie Green. I booed Willie Green while sitting at home during nearly every game for 7 years. My least favorite number is 33 because of him. I like Craig Brackins unironically because Willie Green was traded for him. Hearing even "Willie" makes me cringe. Heck, I wrote a poem once to the tune of "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout" about how much I hated Willie during a freaking community service trip at an elementary school and scared the kids in the class because my hate for Willie Green knows no bounds. And no, I’m not sorry about doing that because the hate consumed me, and those kids needed to understand my problems.

Hawes may not be as bad of a player as Willie was while he was here, but at least Willie was a decent human being and only was detestable on a basketball court. Hawes just comes across as a jerk who is also a sucky NBA player. It’s the things like telling Kings fans who supported him for two years that he’d be happy if they lost their team that really make him a person you don’t want on your squad, even if he can be useful.

Canning Hawes just because I don't like his game, and not because it makes sense, goes against most things I stand for in roster analysis. But then I remember that I'm a fan, and that I'm supposed to enjoy watching my team play (not that this happens often). Spencer Hawes takes away from that little bit of enjoyment, and since next year might not matter anyway, that might as well be the goal.

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