It kills me to watch the Philadelphia 76ers play the type of basketball that they have been playing. It seriously kills me.
As a self-proclaimed NBA junkie, I can’t tell you the number of nights I’ve been given ulcers due to losses in close games or been threatened with documentations for furious spats of swearing.
Now, it seems that every time I tune into a Sixers’ game, I make a checklist of the things I can almost guarantee happening:
1. Mo Cheeks hopping and shuffling along the sidelines, clapping his hands and trying to pump up his team like Larry Brown circa 1970. The classic ’70s power mustache only backs up my theory that Cheeks has either watched “Boogie Nights” too many times or likes Burt Reynolds in a way beyond manly appreciation.
2. Samuel Dalembert getting in foul trouble. Again. Is it just me or does Dalembert look like a beaten dog every time Cheeks pulls him because of foul trouble? What really gets me is the “stunned” look he shoots the referees every time he rips off another man’s arm. Seriously, why even bother?
Dalembert fouls out of 20 percent of his games and he continually appeals to the refs. Sammy, it isn’t exactly the ending of “The Crying Game” every time you foul out of a game — don’t look so shocked.
3. Chris Webber limping down the court like a crippled gazelle. I understand that Webber isn’t the player he used to be. I know that injuries happen and that you’re never quite 100 percent again, but it’s absolutely painful to watch him move around the court. Is this a geriatric home or an NBA game?
Here’s the tragedy within the 76ers organization – they’re a team too good to get a lottery draft pick and therein build for their future, but they’re not nearly good enough to be contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Right now it’s almost a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” type of scenario. If the Sixers play great basketball for the rest of the season, win the weak Atlantic Division and secure a three seed in the playoffs, they still won’t go far.
They’ll probably take the first round but drop the second because they’re not as consistent as the probable number four seed, the Cleveland Cavaliers – and that’s saying something.
The Cavs have “Mr. Clutch” himself, LeBron James, and as long as he doesn’t have to make a potential game-winning basket (which, we know by now, he’ll miss), he’ll lead his team to a victory. (About LeBron for a second, did anyone see the game against Denver where he missed the game-tying free throw? Poor guy looked like a little girl with a skinned knee after just finding out she was adopted.)
Defensively, the Sixers have more holes than Shawn Kemp has illegitimate children. Lord knows the 76ers don’t play defense (they allow 102 points per game, third worst in the NBA) and against a team that rebounds as well as the Cavs do, they’d most likely be torched nightly on second chance points.
Rebounding is a lost art in Philadelphia, as they consistently get beaten on the boards. Kyle Korver, who can shoot the three with the best of them, can’t defend worth a lick and makes even the simplest things, like boxing out, seem like he’s figuring out where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried.
On the other hand, they could possibly continue down their miserable path of inconsistency, miss the playoffs entirely and qualify for a lottery pick, although it’s not likely. This can help them build for the future, but, seriously, what fan wants to watch his team drop game after game?
This is probably the worst of all the scenarios, as Sixers fans not only lose out, but Allen Iverson and Webber also get another year older. Iverson may be able to hold up for a few more years playing at the level he does, but Webber is losing his wrestling match with Father Time, and he’ll quickly become even less mobile than he is now. He already looks like a wounded animal trying desperately to get away from a predator when he’s driving into the lane. What’s going to happen when he adds on another few years of abuse and strain on his bum knee?
So far, both scenarios seem less inviting than Kobe Bryant at a Girl Scouts meeting, so what’s left? There is a third option, and with the trade deadline slowly creeping up on us, this is a perfect time for them to start evaluating their assets.
What I’m about to suggest, from a fan’s point of view, I hate. I’m disgusted that I’ve even allowed myself to come to this conclusion, but I really don’t see any other way.
The Sixers have to trade Iverson.Why do the Sixers need to trade Iverson? Is there another way around their problems? Pick up next week’s Signal as I delve further into the Sixers’ woes and answer all the questions raised here.