A quick check of the calendar shows that we have five months and 69 more games to wring our hands and express our embarrassment/frustration/concern/hope/pessimism about the state of the 2014-15 Philadelphia 76ers. So, instead of drowning in a sea of anxiety and consternation, let's take a look back at a simpler time - specifically, November 24, 2009.
A fabulous invention known as the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine takes snapshots of important Web sites, and there's no more important Web site than the one you're reading right now. The Wayback Machine Webcrawler made its way through Liberty Ballers on 11/24/09 and saved the contents of the site for the rest of eternity. As a point of reference, here is what the Sixers' roster looked like at the time:
- Elton Brand
- Primoz Brezec
- Rodney Carney
- Samuel Dalembert
- Willie Green
- Jrue Holiday
- Andre Iguodala
- Royal Ivey
- Jason Kapono
- Jason Smith
- Marreese Speights
- Lou Williams
- Thaddeus Young
Less than two weeks later, the Sixers would sign Allen Iverson, who lasted all of 25 games in his second stint with the team.
(For what it's worth, the Sixers won 40 percent of the games A.I. appeared in that season, and just 26.3 percent of their games when he wasn't on the roster.)
November 2009 was a different time: SB Nation was known as "Sportsblogs, Inc." and Twitter was still gaining traction - only 4 Sixers players had accounts on the social media service (Iguodala, Young, Williams, Ivey). There were no Papa John's giveaways tied to
76ers' victories games in which the 76ers scored 90 points. And back then, moderator Tanner Steidel spent his days praying to Lil' B in the hopes that Ed Stefanski and Co. would draft Willie Warren.
In those days, players such as Smith, Kapono and Carney were classified as "key additions", and many of us believed that to be true. And for some reason, there was optimism that Eddie Jordan and the Princeton offense would work wonders for a team that didn't have a proven point guard on the roster.
But as the saying goes: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Just as with K.J. McDaniels this year, there was a groundswell within the Liberty Ballers community five years ago for a rookie - Holiday - who wasn't logging significant minutes (Jrue would get his first start on November 25 of that season after Lou Williams broke his jaw the night before). And this excerpt from the 2009-10 season preview about the Sixers' weaknesses could have easily been cut and pasted into the description of this year's team:
"Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot. Can't shoot."
Frustrated by the Sixers mediocre 5-7 start, a user who went by the name of "The Artist Formerly Known As Michael Bourn" (never heard of him) created a poll asking folks who deserved the most blame for the team's struggles that year:
- Eddie Jordan (the eventual "winner" with 58 of the 143 votes cast)
- Ed Stefanski
- Ed Snider
- Elton Brand
- Samuel Dalembert
- Bill Green
- Jordan Sams
- Billy King
- David Stern
For the record, in the days that followed the creation of said poll, the Sixers would lose 11 consecutive games.
If there was a master plan back then, the details weren't made available to the public at-large. The Sixers hadn't won a playoff series since the spring of 2003, and since that time, the team went through five coaches (Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O'Brien, Mo Cheeks, Tony DiLeo) before handing the keys to Jordan.
In 2009, the Liberty Ballers' tagline was: "A Sixers blog, where brotherly love is all we got." Given the current state of the team, that slogan may have never felt more apt than it does now. That said, while the wins were more plentiful, and the losses were less painful, the promise of a bright future is greater now than it was just five years ago.
Just remember: It could always be worse. We could have Eddie Jordan coaching this team. And no one wants that.