The 76ers are hosting their annual Media Day, a time for media (and by proxy, fans) to get to know the players who fill the training camp roster. For some teams, Media Day is a formality, with the key acquisitions being shuttled in front of cameras for news conferences and season ticket holders well before training camp begins. For others, the rosters look familiar, and no introductions are needed.
Clearly, neither will be the case in Philadelphia. Media, including our own Derek Bodner, will get to meet the new 76ers, including some players for the first time. The roster isn't close to being finalized; as of Sunday night, and the news that Chris Johnson (formerly of the Boston Celtics) was claimed by the team, as many as 23 players were 76ers either under contract or through draft rights and had been expected to be in camp. The roster must be trimmed to 15 by the start of the upcoming season, and only 8 players linked to the 76ers have fully-guaranteed contracts.
The uncertainty in the roster does not mirror the uncertainty in the season's outcome. As many paths as the upcoming season may take, there's one certainty: the team will lose a lot. And let's face it, losing games sucks. The Hinkie madness surrounding our team and the promises of a brighter future make the losing seem worthwhile, but the path to eventual contention will be filled with more seasons of losing.
The losing wears you out. It even can make you wonder whether the rebuilding pains justify their means, even if you thought you were wholeheartedly on board with Sam's master plan.
But then great things happen in darker times, too! Like last year's home opening win against the Heat, complete with a bonkers start from Michael Carter-Williams. Or when 17,000+ showed up to witness infamy only to see a 26-game losing streak snapped by a blowout victory. Or when James Anderson (wishing you the best in Europe, James) scored 36 points in an overtime victory against the Rockets. Or the countless smaller moments where you think, maybe, someone like Hollis Thompson shows he has an NBA future.
That's what it's all about: looking for signs of progress within the layers of losing. Maybe Nerlens Noel learns as the season goes along how to contest shots without fouling, or MCW makes a change in his shooting stance that's repeatable and improved mechanically. Maybe Thompson expands his game, or Tony Wroten tones down the ill-advised passes in favor of something more effective.
Today is a day of hope. Today is a start for something bigger and better. I can't wait for this season to begin. Michael, would you do the honors?