This is exhausting. Any rational human would've bailed by now.
Seriously, this was fun for two years, wishing on draft picks, thumbing our noses at the establishment--it was an intellectual exercise, a playground for basketball hipsterism and a way to blow off a bit of anti-establishment steam. It was great, even if the Sixers lost 65 games a year. But one more season, and one unthinkably large step in the wrong direction, and it's not fun anymore.
I don't expect anyone's sympathy, nor do I really want it. But this is starting to take its toll, even on us, the devout. We who turn out by the hundreds to watch the draft lottery. We who spend our winter vacations watching this Adam Sandler movie of a basketball game for reasons other than "I didn't know they'd be 1-30 three months ago when I promised Jake and Sean I'd write about it." We who have decided to punt on rationality in our own lives for the sake of a basketball team that doesn't know we exist and into whose orbit most of us were pulled out of geography or happenstance. We who wanted to show our unyielding faith with tattoos or a customized bitcoin--which, "getting a customized bitcoin to show that you were in on the ground floor with a rebuilding NBA team" a top-5 Family Feud answer for "what's the least cool thing in the world?"
We, the deranged zealots, are questioning our convictions, because this isn't fun anymore.
We know why it's not fun, of course. There's a line at which a team gets so bad it's not funny anymore. And the Sixers, once a pressing, run-and-gun outfit with a rotating cast of interesting new faces, have stagnated in both their composition and in their style of play. The Okafor Affair. The Colangelo Annexation. Thinkpiece after thinkpiece after thinkpiece until we started eating each other.
It's at the point where I watched a non-Sixers game a couple weeks ago--and it wasn't Warriors-Spurs or anything, it was like Heat-Wizards--and I was staggered at how different it was from the kind of basketball I usually watch. Open jumpers go in. Defensive assignments don't get dropped. Lob passes don't go into parts unknown. It's almost like we can't understand this foreign language of the conquerors.
And I say all this while my faith in The Process remains resolute. Bailing now and scraping back to another decade of 37-45 teams would only serve to denigrate the past three years' worth of awful basketball. I'd be in favor of small changes, but not large ones. I'm just tired.
When the Sixers found themselves down five points and a timeout in the first 54 seconds of tonight's game, I just felt tired. I wasn't angry. I wasn't surprised. I just wanted to go to sleep.