Sixers fans are pretty miserable these days. Between the first-round sweep at the hands of the rival Celtics, the bloated cap sheet, and the front office remaining entirely intact to this point, there hasn’t been much joy lately in the world of Philadelphia basketball. Nearly every decision by management in recent years has basically been a perverse Choose Your Own Adventure ending resulting in getting roasted over the fire by a hungry troll or chomped up by alligators in a Mississippi bayou.
Then, I saw this last night and something occurred to me:
Marcus Smart is screaming in the #Celtics locker room and there is a bunch of arguing going on. Smart comes out say “y’all on that bullshit!” Team is imploding. Smart is in bathroom and there is still screaming coming from locker room.— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) September 18, 2020
That’s the Boston Celtics, who until about four days ago were on Cloud Nine — highly-respected young coach, rising superstar in Jayson Tatum, amazing cast of role players playing a stifling brand of defense — and things are literally getting thrown around a rapidly deteriorating locker room. Now, Boston is only down 2-0 to Miami and both games came down to the final minute, so a Game 3 win and the Celtics are right back in the series. But here’s what struck me: most teams end the season miserable.
Only one team can win an NBA title. For any team that had a realistic chance of winning, falling short is usually cause for frustration and re-evaluation of every prior decision. Aside from teams that achieved a moral victory or saw glimpses of hope along a rebuilding path, the majority of teams see the end of an NBA season as a huge disappointment. I decided to go through every other NBA team and guess how each fan base must be feeling. If you have a different interpretation of the state of any franchise, let’s hear it in the comments.
Miami, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver: Still fighting for a championship. These fans are living their best lives right now. Miami and Denver fans will probably feel great about this season regardless of what happens from this point on. Lakers fans will be upset with anything short of a title.
Boston: Still alive, but things are seemingly falling apart. Getting the series back to 2-1 could change things, but it’s an anxious time in Beantown.
Now for those teams already eliminated...some are actually pleased:
Happy Fan Bases:
Toronto: Genuinely inspiring effort in a title defense. Nothing but good vibes north of the border.
Brooklyn: This year was always a placeholder until Kevin Durant returned to the court next season. KD, Kyrie, and new coach Steve Nash have the Nets poised to be an incredibly exciting and, if nothing else, interesting team.
Washington: Wizards fans are still in the “we finally fired Ernie Grunfeld” honeymoon period.
Oklahoma City: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a great young prospect, multiple teams appear to want to trade for Chris Paul, and the Thunder basically own the draft for the next half decade.
Portland: After the Blazers finally got healthy, they made an incredibly fun run to qualify for the postseason. Dame’s scoring binge was one of the highlights of the season.
Memphis: The Grizzlies have the Rookie of the Year and an exciting young core, although Jaren Jackson Jr.’s torn meniscus is a huge bummer.
Phoenix: Only undefeated team in the Bubble!
San Antonio: The Spurs still have Pop and some promising young guards. I feel like you can’t be too bitter just because a 22-year playoff streak finally came to an end.
New Orleans: Sure, the Pelicans didn’t realize their playoff expectations, but you can’t have Zion and be miserable.
Minnesota: As Sixers fans know, having the first overall pick in the draft can keep hope alive.
Golden State: The Splash Brothers will be back next season and the Warriors snagged the second overall pick in the draft. This past season should be a one year blip for Golden State fans.
While others are decidedly downcast:
Miserable Fan Bases:
Milwaukee: Laid an absolute egg against Miami and now all the talk is about Giannis possibly leaving. The head coach persists in only playing his best players 35 minutes per game in the postseason.
Indiana: Fired head coach Nate McMillan days after signing him to an extension. It was not a very encouraging return from injury for Victor Oladipo.
Orlando: Jonathan Isaac’s ACL injury put a damper on any positivity in Central Florida. Isaac reaching his ceiling is the best realistic path to the Magic getting out of the dreaded middle.
Charlotte: A terrible cap situation and no blue-chip prospects. What are you hoping for as a Hornets fan?
Chicago: You’re not alone in the Jimmy Butler seller’s remorse, Sixers fans.
The Bulls really traded Jimmy Butler for scraps. Lmaoooooooooooooooo— Kev (@NBAcouchside) September 18, 2020
New York: James Dolan is still the owner. Enough said.
Detroit: The Pistons are a slightly more talented version of the Hornets where I’m not sure what this franchise has to look forward to in the foreseeable future.
Atlanta: The Hawks were supposed to take a step forward and compete for one of the bottom playoff seeds in the East, but instead, finished with the fourth-worst record in the league. I know Atlanta loves Trae Young, but it still can’t be fun watching Luka Doncic blow up.
Cleveland: There was practically an insurrection to get rid of John Beilein, and Cleveland is another team in that “couple bad contracts, no blue-chip prospects” group.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers turn losing 3-1 series leads into an art form.
Houston: Mike D’Antoni is out and James Harden and Russell Westbrook are making between $82 and 94 million combined each of the next three years.
Utah: I know everyone blows 3-1 leads to the Nuggets, but Jazz fans still can’t be happy about it.
Sacramento: LUUUKKKKAAAA!!!! (but in a wailing, hands-raised-to-the-heavens tone)
So as you contemplate the reason why you still continue caring about the Sixers year after year as they continue to do the sports equivalent of bamboo torture to you, just know you’re not alone.