It seems like it might be a challenge for some to recall a specific event as the single worst moment from the Philadelphia 76ers' 2013-2014 season.
For me, it is not.
Let me take you back to the night of November 22, 2013. The Sixers (5-8) were playing the Bucks (2-8). At the time, I'm not sure anyone thought the Bucks were going to be one of the worst teams in the league. They seemed like a team destined for low-end mediocrity, at the least. Unlike the tanking Sixers, the Bucks seemed like they were trying to field some semblance of a competitive roster.
The game was a back and forth affair thanks to an amazing "WTF" performance from Caron Butler. The long-time NBA vet poured in 38 points (?!) against the Sixers. It looked like the Bucks were going to gain some ground on the Sixers with a win, who were off to an unexpected "hot" start. The tank looked good that night.
AND THEN FREAKING SPENCER HAWES RUINED EVERYTHING. Watch:
I mean, when you watch that video without context, it's a pretty cool play. A goofy Spencer Hawes, of all people, hits a three to tie a game the Sixers had no business being in. The players are gleeful. The crowd is excited. It's a great basketball moment.
But when you apply the tanking context... it's just an abhorrent, appalling, atrocious, awful, bad, dangerous, dire, disastrous, disturbing, dreadful, frightful, ghastly, gruesome, harrowing, hideous, horrendous, horrid, horrifying, shocking, unfortunate, unpleasant, dreaded, inconvenient, loathsome, monstrous, obnoxious, odious, offensive, petrifying, poor, repulsive, revolting, rotten, terrible, unnerving, unwelcome, and vile result. In a tanking season, this kind of game result was the worst one possible: lucking into wins over fellow bad teams.
This was my immediate reaction at the time.
I hate to be that guy, but I genuinely didn’t enjoy that win. It wasn’t fun for me. It was a game they should have lost and they won it on the backs of players that are irrelevant, and even detrimental at this point, to the team’s future (ET/Hawes). The only benefit here being them raising their trade value, maybe.
I hate that I’ve reached this point but it’s the reality of the situation. Maybe that makes me a bad fan but I just didn’t enjoy that win.
Now that I’ve crapped on everyone’s party, feel free to bring the hate. It’s probably deserved.
This is more of me venting than it is looking to debate the merits of tanking or anything. It’s just how I feel.
I'm not unhappy. I’m just "whatever." I didn’t say you or anyone else couldn’t enjoy the game or be happy. I can see why people are happy. They should be. But I’m just not as excited as everyone else.
Also from that thread, and somewhat unrelated to any of this, possibly my most favorite comment in Liberty Ballers history. I won't tell you who said it but you might be able to guess.
ET, beast. Hawes, beast.
Trade these guys? LOL. Build around them.
So, yeah. That sucked a lot. And not only because of the bad result, but by the person who made it happen. As you may have already noticed, my history of former Sixers big man Spencer Hawes is well documented. I'm not going to get into all of that here because he's gone now and I couldn't be more happy about that. It's not a personal thing (so if you're reading this... I'm sorry, Spence.) It's strictly Spencer Hawes the player. In short, Hawes was always very frustrating for me to watch. It was actually painful sometimes. Especially when the Sixers were actually trying to win under Doug Collins. When the Sixers were trying to win, he was especially terrible. And then when the Sixers were in the tank last season, he was actually playing OK. UGH.
Like I already said, Hawes is gone now and that's great. And beating the Bucks technically wasn't so devastating as I'm making it appear to be. The Sixers finished 19-63 while the Bucks finished 15-67. Had Hawes not made that shot, their records would currently be 18-64 and 16-66, respectively. Still, Hawes' shot embodies not only my disdain for him as a player, but the fact that the Sixers got "lucky" too often this season. They stole games with buzzer beaters and lucky bounces that would otherwise have been welcomed in a year where they were actually trying to win games. Instead, it ending up hurting them. What makes it even worse is that these moments came from players who aren't part of the team's future. If Michael Carter-Williams hits that shot, I'm probably still a little bummed, but not nearly as much. (And that itself is a look into the odd dynamics of tanking, but I digress.) The problem is the Sixers now only have the SECOND best lottery odds instead of the first.
I'll willing to delete this moment from my memory (MIB style or Memento style, take your pick) if the Sixers win the NBA Draft Loterry. Or maybe even getting the second pick would work. But if the Sixers somehow get screwed in the lottery my disdain for Hawes and that game is going to reach new levels. Not only will it have been the worst moment from the entire season, it could be a moment that potentially hampers the entire future course of the Sixers' franchise. (OK, that might be a little dramatic. But I think you get where I'm coming from here.)
That freaking shot.