I was hanging out with a few friends recently, flipping back and forth between the 76ers game and the Miami Heat game. At some point during the hour and a half of dead silence my one friend nonchalantly said: "I can't believe these two teams play in the same league."
It was a perfect assessment of the situation.
They do play in the same league; in fact they play in the same conference. Shockingly enough, the Sixers are only a game out of the playoff race in said conference. If it were not for the three infamous collapses thus far this season, the 76ers would currently hold the 8th seed for the playoff race.
So that raises one question...Where do the Sixers go from here? Some fans will say; "If this is in fact a "rebuilding" season, then an 8th seed with a sub .500 record is not the place we want to be. It sounds hard to say that the Sixers should tank the season in order to receive higher draft picks, but let's be honest...Is this team good enough to beat the Heat, the Magic, or the Celtics? They are 0-2 this season against the Wizards."
Other fans will say; "This is a young and upcoming team. They are only going to get better as the season progresses. Sure they may not win the NBA Finals this year, but they can definitely get people in this city excited about basketball again."
I think I agree with the latter. Maybe it is the player in me, but the thought of tanking a season does not sit well. In fact, what the fans don't understand is that players don't give up on seasons...Okay, correction. Good young players do not give up on a seasons. A few blockheads (Just watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas") have indeed given up on their teammates, coaches and fans in the past.
I don't see any player on the Sixers roster that would be a culprit of such an atrocity this year. After all, besides Elton Brand, they are all young up and coming players. Why would they play below average basketball? So that the Sixers can draft another player to take their job?
In theory, I agree that the smart decision would be to try to get the highest draft pick possible...Especially considering the talent that will be declaring their eligibility come March. If the Sixers are as bad as everyone seems to think than there will be a large contingency of ping-pong balls come May.
However, I believe this team can surprise a few people as the season progresses. If you have been watching, the flaws that were prevalent in the beginning of the year are slowly being corrected. The Philadelphia 76ers are a team on the rise.
By the way is anyone as excited about the recent surge of Jodie Meeks as I am? His shot is so quick and perfect. And it's a good thing he plays a position currently not occupied by every talented player on the team. I think the Sixers are trying to see how many young 2's and 3's they can stockpile before the end of the season.
I also wanted to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Phil Jasner. As a local athlete, I have been following Phil's work for many years. His appreciation and love for the game of basketball was obvious in his writing. He was a knowledgeable source of 76ers information throughout his career and an inspiration for those of us who aspire to his greatness.