At some point during the Philadelphia 76ers' season-opening, 17-game losing streak (I'm not exactly sure when), I began hoping - and even praying - that the team would simply notch a single victory.
As a card-carrying member of #TeamChill, I was confident that the ping-pong balls would ultimately sort themselves out, so the only thing that I wanted in late November was for the Sixers to avoid going down in infamy.
An 85-77 win against Minnesota on December 3 eased my fears, and I never worried that they'd tally too many marks on the left side of the ledger to eliminate their chance to land The Next Franchise Player. Check that: I did feel a bit uneasy after an early January stretch during which the Sixers won three games in the span of a week.
Like many of you, I can't bring myself to openly root for the 76ers to lose a basketball game. So instead, I wished for them to play hard for 48 minutes every night, and promised myself that I wouldn't feel some sort of way after each defeat. And, for the most part, the team held up their end of the bargain.
Fast-forward to today: Sam Hinkie and Co. are pretty much guaranteed to land a top-6 pick in June with only four games left to go and...
I think I want them to win tonight.
A loss by the Washington Wizards closes the gap between them and Oklahoma City for the 18th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. If you don't know why that's important, well... welcome to Liberty Ballers - we're glad you decided to stop by!
And even though it's almost a foregone conclusion that the Thunder's top-18 protected first-round pick isn't coming to the Sixers this summer, I haven't resigned myself to the fact that it WON'T happen.
Of course, a victory edges the Sixers that much closer to the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 4 spot in the NBA draft lottery. And even though Byron Scott threw his entire team under the bus on Monday, there are at least a couple of winnable games left on the Lakers' schedule (hello, Sacramento).
So (for some reason), I'm not worried that the Lake Show will go 0-for-the-rest-of-the-season. Conversely, tonight's contest against the Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center could be the Sixers' last decent chance at a win (FWIW, I'm going under the assumption that the Sixers will break out the M1 Abrams for that Miami game at the end of the year). And dammit, I like wins.
There's no reason why the 76ers can't beat a team that whose two starting forwards are Otto Porter and Drew Gooden. After all, the last time the Sixers and Wizards met, Ish Smith scored 23 points. I barely even remember the fact that Washington entered the 4th quarter with a 31-point lead: The only thing that matters is that our favorite Ballers of Liberty outscored the Bullets (Forever) 31-13 over the final 12 minutes.
The Sixers have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory quite a few times over the past two weeks, so for a team that hasn't notched a W since March 25, they're pretty much overdue at this point.
And don't worry about what a win means in the grand scheme of things - it will all work itself out in the end.
Trust the process, right?