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Sixers vs. Hornets Preview: Is Hope a Dangerous Thing?

The scuffling Sixers are drawing scorn from even the most optimistic of fans. Can they get on track against the Charlotte Hornets?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to a couple ugly, turnover-filled games in a row, we've once again reached the point in the program where the Sixers grand plan is called into question, even by the Church of Hinkie. Has it all been worth it? Can the core pieces fit together? Is The Process™ really the Ponzi scheme critics have been claiming it is?

The answers to those questions depend on what kind of person you are.

At this point, we're all locked in the same compound by virtue of tracking the rebuild. Some of us have done longer time than others (e.g. those who suffered through the Eddie Jordan years), but we're here now all the same. We all cope with each tally in the loss column differently; the investment and disappointment are the same, whether it manifests with grim silence or comment section lash outs.

If you're questioning The Process now, I can't say I blame you. We just watched one of the uglier basketball games the team has played in three years, and the primary pieces in place appear as though they don't fit together, at least not yet.

Most would have guessed that by year three with multiple top-three picks under our belts, we'd be past this ugly stage of the rebuild. Maybe the Sixers were never going to compete for a playoff spot by now, but moral victories might have taken a backseat to real victories depending on lottery luck. Even Brett Brown, the relentless optimist, has shown cracks in his demeanor in his post-game pressers.

The toughest thing in the world is to watch the optimists among us brought down by circumstance or the evils of the world around them. No one bemoans a cynic meeting the end he always predicted for himself. But we all lose when someone who sees the good in the world meets an unfair, untimely fate.

Yet there is power in continuing with optimism that isn't granted to those who choose the path of negativity. We have small moments of triumph that help power us through the tough times, post-roasting from Jahlil Okafor and tenacious defense from Nerlens Noel among those. Fleeting as these moments may be, we still have them.

I think there are a couple types of people left caring about or investing time in this team at this point. Whether you're Andy Dufresne, clinging to memories of Mozart, or Ellis Redding, shielding your heart from the harm that hope can bring, we're still in this together. At the end of this winding road, maybe we'll find out how dangerous hope is after all.

Sixers-Hornets tips at 7:00 PM.

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