Here we are. 44 wins, playoffs clinched, and still 8 games to play. As I write this, the Sixers are in 4th place, a 0.5 game back of the Cavaliers for 3rd. 50 wins is on the horizon. The Sixers employ the best starting lineup in the NBA, depending on whether or not you’re a NERD! Markelle Fultz’ fiasco is in the past. Ben Simmons is the clear Rookie of the Year. Dario Saric… what can you even say?
In the midst of a Sixers season that is made of dreams. And now, our nightmare has come.
Were we feeling ourselves a bit too much? 50 wins? Eastern Conference Finals? Who are we kidding?
Devastated doesn’t quite describe the feelings of a Sixers fan when hearing the injury news pertaining to Joel Embiid. It’s like someone stole something from you. Like the universe had some vindictive plan all along, just to make you feel miserable.
A freak injury — no, that’s letting it off easy. Freak injuries are scapular muscle imbalances. A freak accident. A dribble hand-off fumbled. How many of those have we seen this team execute? The entire NBA? All with the worst case scenario being a turnover. But this Sixers team? A collision that puts their best player out the remainder of the regular season, and puts his first round playoff appearance in jeopardy.
I ask thee, oh righteous basketball gods, have Sixers fans not suffered enough? How long must this fanbase carry this cross? The meniscus, the metatarsal, the navicular, the scapular, the orbital. Does it have a place on the human body? Well, then a Sixers fan knows the recovery period. They just need to use the formula to convert Sixers weeks to human weeks. Not quite the difference of human years to dog years, but somewhere in the middle. Cursed I tell you.
Or is it so? Are the Sixers cursed, or do we find ourself too high on a mound of treasures, the gifts of Sam Hinkie, afraid to look down?
50 wins would be glorious, this is true. Host a playoff series in South Philly, whoop that Pacer ass? Gimme dat. After all, when was the last time you felt this good about a Sixers team? When was the last time you felt excited watching Philadelphia basketball? I don’t mean that fleeting excitement when TJ McConnell hits a game winner for a 28 win team.
I mean that feeling of watching Michael Barkann and his goofy glasses, begging the clock to fast forward to game time. That feeling of worrying about going to the bathroom, because you risk missing an electrifying play. Or going down to the Wells Fargo Center, and feeling an energy not present since the Iverson years.
The feeling of something special brewing.
And this hiccup, this injury? It’s a speed bump on the highway to glory.
Not only are the events of Wednesday night a hiccup, but it’s possible they are a blessing in disguise. Before you burn me at the stake, allow me to finish my thought.
Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Thanks, Google.
There are two players on this team that still have another level. They are Ben Simmons and Dario Saric, and here lies opportunity. It’s come too early for both, but such is the way of opportunity. It’s time for the two to show, this isn’t just Joel Embiid’s team, this is the Process’ team.
And that’s the two ways this thing splits. Either the Sixers seize this opportunity, and Ben and Dario make a leap. Or, the moment passes and we as a fanbase look forward to next season. In the meantime, maybe Joel makes it back in time for the playoffs, and that would be delightful. But for now, Simmons and Saric have the chance to show us more. More? Yes, more. They have it.
It isn’t the end of the world if they aren’t ready. I know you wanted it; I wanted it! A Sixers playoff run, following an Eagles Super Bowl. The stuff 30 for 30’s are made of.
But don’t despair. This team is young, and the fanbase can forsee multiple playoff appearances, because the Sixers are set up with a treasure trove of talent, assets, flexibility, maneuverability and straight cash, homie. The playoffs will meet the wrath of the Process one way or the other, bet your mortgage. You can keep your goddamn apology Wob, we already knew you were wrong. Colin Cowherd, the only reason Sixers fans feed into your shit is so they can keep your sad, disingenuous show afloat long enough to stick their foots so far up your ass when the Sixers hoist the O’Brien trophy, not another piece of Sixers slander can worm it’s way from your brain out of your mouth.
The Sixers are just fine. Maybe not in the immediate, but for sure, in the long run. And that’s where this situation comes full circle. It is devastating added, multiplied and squared. But this nightmare will end, and the dream is only beginning.
Be easy, Philadelphia.