Listen... we may not all agree with The Plan or The Process or The Philosophy or whatever you want to call it, but it's hard not to be at least slightly optimistic at what may be in store for the Philadelphia 76ers. The team is clearly in a better place now than they were at this time last season, and arguably better off than they have been during the month of March in recent memory. Let's take a look back into the archives for old times' sake...
It's hard to believe that it's only been one year since the Sixers gave Allen Iverson a boat during his retirement ceremony.
This, of course, is the same ceremony that former Sixers' head coach Larry Brown is upset that he couldn't be a part of. And while we all would have liked to see Iverson and Brown hug it out one time for the benefit of those with flash photography, it think it's more important that the team organized the gathering around Iverson's schedule instead of catering to Brown. But I digress...
Earlier in the day, newly-installed NBA commissioner Adam Silver dismissed Stan Van Gundy's assertion that what the Sixers were doing last season was "embarrassing" to the league.
[I]f you look at what's happened here over the last several years, it's badly needed," [Silver] said. "Somebody needs a plan. Somebody needs a vision to win here. And I think that's what's happening."
For what it's worth, there was an actual game between the 76ers and the Washington Wizards that night. I was supposed to drink some PBRs with Michael Baumann afterwards, but while he was off interviewing A.I., I sat in the upper reaches of the Wells Fargo Center watching Trevor [redacted] Ariza knock down three after three on his way to 40 [redacted] points. Needless to say, I left well before the final horn. I'm sorry, Mike - I probably owe you a couple of beers from that night. But I did buy "Philadelphia Phenoms", so there's that. (I still need you to sign it, though.)
Two years ago tomorrow, the Sixers beat the Golden State Warriors 104-97 at the WFC in front of a raucous crowd of 17,929 fans. (I have no idea if they were, in fact, "raucous", but it WAS Wilt Chamberlain bobblehead night, so there a good chance they were more animated than usual.)
Thanks to the genius of Doug Collins, Royal Ivey got the start in the backcourt next to Jrue Holiday, and the former Sixers/Hawks/Thunder/Bucks point guard scored 17 points and nabbed the "Ace of Spades" award for the night.
(Remember the Ace of Spades award? It was like the wack version of Taz's FTW ECW "championship" belt.)
For reference, here's how far we're removed from that evening: Seven guys who were on the Sixers' roster that night (Ivey, Kwame Brown, Charles Jenkins, Damien Wilkins, Jeremy Pargo, Arnett Moultrie, Andrew Bynum) aren't even in the league anymore. By comparison, all 10 guys who suited up for Golden State that night are still in the NBA, and most of them still play for the Warriors.
A mere 36 months ago, our very own Dave Rueter spent countless hours and/or brain cells penning a masterful work entitled "Remember This Guy: Kevin Ollie". An excerpt:
They say that UCONN is grooming Kevin Ollie to be their next head coach, and by "they," I mean my friend, Pete, who told me two weeks ago in his apartment that, "They say that UCONN is grooming Kevin Ollie to be their next head coach." Now, it's not hard to see why. Kevin Ollie had the reputation of being a smart basketball player. He was heady. He wasn't flashy, no; but he was steady. And the intelligence - my god, the basketball IQ - I heard that Kevin Ollie got his Master's in help defense, thanks in large part to a forty page thesis written on the defensive shuffle. Its title:
The Defensive Shuffle and Its Integral Role in Help Defense: by Kevin Ollie.
Two years later, Kevin Ollie led the UConn Huskies to the national championship.
Sadly, March 1, 2012 was also the day that the Sixers allowed Francisco Elson's second 10-day contract expire without signing him to a deal for the rest of the season. Elson's stat line from his time with the Sixers: Five games, 16 minutes, two points, one rebound, one assist, one steal, one block, one turnover. He never played in the NBA again.
And finally, there's this nugget from an article written by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News on March 1, 2011:
[Evan Turner and Herb Magee] will get together at some point during the offseason and see whether they can fix what Turner calls "a hitch" in his jumper.
"I haven't really seen him all that much, I don't watch as much as a lot of people," said Magee. "He doesn't get a lot of shots... What we'll do is get in the gym and I'll watch him for quite a while. I'm sure he's a good shooter, probably not great, but good."
"The good thing about all of this is that it sounds like it's something he really wants to do. That's the most important thing. We will be successful."
Just finished with herb Magee. He's got my shot looking right!— evan turner (@thekidet) July 19, 2011
Herb Magee: Fantastic coach, tremendous "Shot Doctor", terrible prophet.