So, the Sixers play today. It's a statement that probably draws a ton of mixed feelings. There's the crowd that resents the fact that this team is really still this bad. There's the crowd that's just excited regular season basketball is back in Philadelphia.
This season, many will just have to accept it for what it is. Look for the positives in the play of Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, laugh when things go horribly wrong (read: as expected), and only cry because you're laughing so hard. The quicker you accept this team for what they are, the sooner you'll come to enjoy watching them play.
Who knows, they might even snag a win on opening night as they did last year against the Miami Heat.
David West, starting point guard George Hill, and backup point guard C.J. Watson will all miss opening night with a mixed bag of injuries. Even Rodney Stuckey isn't healthy enough to start Wednesday evening, meaning Donald Sloan will be the team's one and only in shape ball handler. Even with Michael Carter-Williams out for the first few weeks of the season, Tony Wroten is still effective enough to give the Sixers the advantage in that category
Indiana will be returning just one player to last year's starting lineup, Roy Hibbert, who given how he played last year just seems like a rather large body of mass than the great center many thought he might be. Regardless, Henry Sims will still have his hands full with the 7'2" Georgetown product. Sims was tremendous in 26 games with Philadelphia last season, and averaged 11.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG this preseason. Coach Brett Brown also hinted at Nerlens Noel getting action at the five, while playing Brandon Davies or Malcolm Thomas could fill in at the power forward position. With minimal front court depth, Noel will see a lot of minutes against the Pacers, and going forward. He should be able to utilize his quickness to combat his likely counterpart, Luis Scola.
With Luc Richard Mbah A Moute not yet back from Cameroon, fellow rookie K.J. McDaniels seems poised to start at small forward. The Clemson standout posted 8.6 PPG on 45.7% shooting, and will be called upon to defend starting wing Chris Copeland, who averaged 3.7 PPG last year. Philadelphia seemingly has an advantage there as well.
Tonight's game starts what looks to be another arduous 82 game journey that seems all to familiar. If that is indeed the case, enjoy it for what it is, stay hydrated, and expect an opening night win.
The quest for 16 wins is on.