This week since I am currently on my winter break, I stayed up late to watch the Sixers take on the Golden State Warriors. Since it is the perfect time of year to be jealous of other people's possessions, I couldn't help but look at the Warriors roster and wonder if it is better than the 76ers. (It is) In fact, throughout the early going of this season, I have been comparing our Sixers to pretty much every other NBA team.
I decided to create a system for judging whether I should or should not be jealous of another NBA franchise and why or why not. The criteria are as follows:
- Future Potential
- Superstar Talent
- Overall Talent
- Fan Factor
Allow me to explain...As a fan, the team you follow needs a certain likeability factor. There needs to be some excitement, a reason to continue watching. The teams are not ranked according to their current standings, but on the talent they have now, and the potential for future success. I also factored in a few other criteria like knowledgeable coaches as well as knowledgeable fans.
While analyzing each NBA team, I discovered there are a lot of teams I am jealous of. Since an article describing 80 percent of the league would be long and redundant, I figured I would take the teams that are unappealing to me, and using the same system, explain why I favor the 76ers over them.
While reading you may notice some teams are conspicuously absent from this list, most noticeably the New Jersey Nets. This is not a typo. I did this because every so often during my dissecting of a team, if a certain issue is overwhelmingly positive, and exemplify several criteria; it surpasses all the other factors. I call this the Brooke Lopez rule.
(I am a big fan of the Lopez brothers, in case you have yet to figure it out.)
Without further ado, I present my list of teams that make me thankful I am a Sixers fan.
Can anyone but the lone Canadian team start us off? If the Raptors were fielding a hockey team, they may be in good shape. There are six foreign born players on the roster and a tough enforcer in Reggie Evans. Unfortunately, this is basketball, putting this team at the top of my list.
The Raptors meet none of the criteria on my list. They are not enjoyable to watch, lack talent both now and in the future, have a first year coach, (who is Canadian by the way) and fans who are more concerned with the Winter Classic than the sub par performance of their NBA franchise.
(I have no idea why I was just so mean to Canadians. I have absolutely nothing against them. I am going to stop before I get a French to English dictionary thrown at me next time I am in upstate New York.)
Oh poor Cleveland...The lovable losers of the Midwest. LeBron James left you high and dry, and your roster is now in disarray. If you were Canadian you'd be at the top of the list. (There I go again)
The Cavaliers have very few positives going forward. They have proven holding on to a homegrown superstar is impossible, which makes holding on to any other superstar not likely. They can change their uniforms, take down advertisements, complain, cry, or make spiteful Youtube videos all they want...It doesn't change the fact that their team is going nowhere. Dan Gilbert should sell the team to Art Modell and hope for the best.
Few teams have fallen so far so fast. Many of the stars that led them to an NBA title still remain, although they are well past their prime. Along with those aging ex champions, the Pistons added another old head in Tracy McGrady.
One would think it is time to rebuild and not add more aging superstars. Maybe they are trying to cut dining expenses, by having the team eat at Denny's early bird for their pre game meals. Regardless, I heard about (made up) a funny conversation during a Pistons shoot around the other day.
McGrady, Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace, all older athletes, were at shoot around last week. McGrady says to Rip, "Cold, isn't it?" "No," Rip answers, "it's Thursday." Ben Wallace, listening in, says, "So am I! Let's grab a beer."
I know what you all are thinking...Wait, why are the Wizards on this list? They have John Wall. This brings me to my second rule...The Anchor Rule.
This is pretty much the opposite of the Brooke Lopez Rule. The Anchor Rule occurs when, despite having an exciting young player like Wall, the remainder of the team is so unlikable and unexciting they actually anchor down the talented young star.
The Kings made the list even with two talented young exciting players in Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. Mainly because, although they have talent they are still so bad. Tyreke Evans, fills up a stat sheet like LeBron or Kobe, yet does not have near the winning percentage of the other two.
Sacramento can go a number of ways, which is why I put them at five on the list. Unfortunately, whichever way they go, it will be without the fans. The Kings rank last in the West in overall attendance thus far this season, despite the marketing department almost giving tickets away.
This week they are promoting a $99 upper level $199 lower level ticket to four games. They call it the MVP package because you are able to see five former NBA MVP's for only $25 a ticket. Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, Shaquille O`Neal and Kevin Garnett of the Celtics, and Tim Duncan and the Spurs. In case they needed to sweeten the deal anymore, they will be giving away Samuel Dalembert bobbleheads!
It will be interesting to see how many fans they draw for those four games. I am hoping it is better than the 13,484 they currently average. And this is in a city with only one professional sports franchise.
The Bobcats were a close call. They remind me of the Sixers in so many ways. They have an exciting high flyer, a crafty vet, a dead eye shooter, and a plethora of young talent. The thing that separates the two is the potential of each team's young talent. I would rather have Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Jodie Meeks than Tyrus Thomas, Gerald Henderson and Sherron Collins.
Another reason they ended up on the list is due to the departure of Larry Brown. Brown had a knack for turning teams around. Last year he successfully brought the Bobcats from struggling franchise to playoff contender. Without Brown's guidance, I don't foresee many positives for the future of this team.
(By the way, Larry Brown is 70!! I could not believe that. If I would have guessed his age, I would have said mid to late 50s. Whatever he is doing to look so young, sign me up.)
The departure of Yao Ming has decimated the Rockets. They invested a lot of time and money into their "Chinese Giant" only to see him go down again this year, in what may be a career ending injury. Even if Yao comes back, I can't see him being the force he is expected to be.
Without Yao, the Rockets now rely on veteran Brad Miller to anchor, what should have been the best front court in the NBA.
The Nuggets are one inevitable move away from being back to square one. They seem to have the same problem as many of the small market teams in the NBA. They can invest all their time and money into one player, only to watch him escape to greener pastures as soon as free agency hits. This is a major reason why I am more excited about the Sixers than the Nuggets.
As I mentioned before, Philadelphia is a city where players want to play. We are the city that boasts the best rotation and team in Major League Baseball. We are the city that has one of the top hockey teams in the NHL. We are the city that recently embarrassed the New York Giants in the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands Baby!"
Philadelphia is the center of the sports universe right now. It is time for the Sixers to jump on board.