Sam Hinkie did more than just change the direction of the Sixers when he was hired to be GM two summers ago -- the direction of the writers at Liberty Ballers changed as well. We at LB went from hating almost everything the Sixers did (and writing posts wishing me and Jordan a happy birthday???), to getting labeled Sixers homers and mobbing non-believers on the internet. We used to be not that. I remember Zach Lowe writing something during the Doug Collins Era about the Sixers fans being the only ones who think he rates their team too high. And now we're cronies. Been a weird ride!
So in the wake of many nonproductive Twitter arguments about the trade deadline where I defended everything the Sixers did with the frustrating loyalty of your long-distance relationship in college, I spent the last few weeks sifting through the archives to remind everybody about how awful things used to be. And how many times we had to talk ourselves into the same conclusion. And how mad we used to get. (mostly me. boy i was really mad. brandon can probably find better fav'd examples on twitter.)
DISCLAIMER: This was painful. Remembering all those years is bad enough, but actually reading our embarrassing blog posts from then? Water torture. We thought this was funny back then. Christ. I apologize to anybody who read LB in those dark days.
You know everything there is to know about Eddie Jordan. You know how bad he is. You know why he's so bad. You can rattle off examples of Eddie Jordan's "badness". For the past four months and change all we've talked about is Eddie Jordan. We can't enjoy wins because of Eddie Jordan. All we talk about after losses is Eddie Jordan. I'm going to continue to root for ping pong balls until Jordan is fired. I'm sorry, but I see absolutely zero benefit to winning during EJ's tenure. - Jan. 2010
With a defensive-minded head coach, the Sixers could win somewhere between 40 and 50 games for the remainder of the Iguodala/Brand era. They'd win a couple playoff series, and might appear in a conference finals -- but they'd never, and I repeat never, win a championship. So, what is the ultimate goal of an NBA team? Win 50 games? No. Make the playoffs? No. The ultimate goal of an NBA team is to win a championship. Of the past 20 NBA champions, 19 of them have had one thing in common, a "superstar". Each superstar was either drafted or acquired in a draft night trade, and 13 of those superstars were drafted in the top 5. The bad news, the Sixers don't have a superstar. The worse news, they're talented enough to stay out of the top 5 on draft night. - Jan. 2010
It's a stupid, nothing of a signing, not worth getting worked up about (I am), but since the terms of the deal have yet to be announced, it might be. I will strangle a kitten if it's not one year for the veteran's minimum, and will commence blogging from jail. The most infuriating part about this, for me, is how they'd rather spend an unknown amount of money on a purposeless, old Tony Battie instead of Omar Samhan, Rod Benson, or James Augustine. Young guys can improve and play a role in the future. Battie will not. Signing this contract is a waste of ink. Communal prayer for Doug Collins not to play him. Front court depth be damned.
Text from Jordan: "Don't forget to say he sucks."
Oh and he sucks.
UPDATE 4:02 - Text from Derek: "You taking the battie story? Plz mention he sucks." - July 2010
What I make of the last 8 years in which the Sixers haven't won a playoff series is that mediocrity isn't fun. The team hasn't committed itself to rebuilding and despite Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday, has still not gone all out in the rebuilding process. And these last 8 years are proof that unless you drop anchor on the rebuilding ship, you'll be cast off to the island of mediocrity and there aren't any volleyballs to keep you company. - Jan. 2011
For those who have seen the movie Groundhog's Day (who hasn't?), this is life as a 76ers fan, with the exception of last year where the recovery never happened. Start the season slow, dig a big hole, play average ball the rest of the season to sneak into the playoffs (or close to it) and provide a false sense of inevitable improvement, leading decision makers to believe the Sixers are closer to basketball relevance than they actually are. - Jan. 2011
This is a bad team. A bad team that occasionally plays better than they are because they can outrun teams and catch better teams off-guard for a few quarters. Boil it down, this is an undisciplined team that lacks the talent to overcome their mental mistakes game in and game out. The wrong players get the ball at the wrong time. The coaches match the players in their inconsistencies. There is one player on this team who could start for a championship team right now, and that's Andre Iguodala. Holiday, Turner, and Speights could become those players, but we may never know because Lou Williams and Tony Battie are the guys on the court with the game on the line.
Keep fooling yourself if you want. I'm not here to tell you what to think. For me, though, every game this Sixers team wins is to the detriment of its future success. And it makes me nauseous. - Jan. 2011
By not making a move and standing pat, the Sixers are saying they're content with the team they have right now. And that, to me, is terrible for the future of this franchise.
To keep the team as is when they had pieces to trade is another poor move in the decade-long chess match being lost by Sixers management. While most of the NBA gets better or re-stocks for a run in a few years, the Sixers continue to wander around blindly without a fan base that trusts them to make the right decisions -- even if the decision to rebuild is the hardest one to come to.
Because there is no plan. - Feb. 2011
Sixers draft? Disappointing but not riot-inducing. It's just frustrating to continue to put faith in a franchise that doesn't seem to know how to think creatively and on their feet when draft day comes and other teams draft circles around us. - June 2011
I've neglected this article for a long while. Partly because I didn't want to accept a reality in which Andrew Bynum would never play a game for the Sixers. Partly because this season has taken more out of me than I'd seriously care to admit. And partly because I didn't want to write this angry. I had to let go of any real anger before putting finger to keyboard and laying this abominable season to rest.
But today is the last day of the season. It's time to close the book, then burn the book, then never speak of the book again. And while the anger is mitigated, the overwhelming sense of pointlessness has replaced it a hundred times over. To care about the Sixers -- to really invest your time in them as we have -- requires a certain amount of accepted ignorance that you're wasting your time. - April 2013
One month later, the Sixers hired Sam Hinkie to be their GM. And Liberty Ballers was changed forever.
What's consistent throughout every post in our archives pre-2013? A longing for a vision. A plan. A process, if you will. Any roadmap to success that didn't involve Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng all getting injured. So while, still, the Sixers method is not the only way to build a championship contender, it's the one that made the most sense with the ramshackle team Hinkie acquired. And the one we've supported since that day almost two years ago, because we'd been supporting it for the entirety of LB's existence.
While we wait to see if/when The Plan works out (it will!), it's important (or self-indulgent!) to reflect on the past and see how fucking furious we were. Let's run it back in 15 years during the post-championship era of new Sixers ineptitude, which I look forward to loathing with open arms. But for now, to the idiots who have been with us since the beginning, this one's for you.