Attention Philadelphia!!!! The Eagles season is over, The Flyers are tearin shit up (which comes as no surprise, my brother touches on it below), spring training is here (which is exciting but honestly we all know were winning the ship sooo whats the point?), which my reading faithful (all 12 of you) leaves us with the 76ers.
The Sixers started out the season a dreadful 3-13, some of you may have taken this pathetic start as a reason to stop paying attention and I can’t really blame you. However I am here to announce the exciting news that the Sixers are actually…..GOOD.
Now when I say good I mean that for the first time in a while the Sixers are competitive. Gone are the days when watching a game was pointless because the Sixers losing was a foregone conclusion. Since that aforementioned dreadful start the Sixers are 23-15, including recent wins over the Spurs, Hawks and Knicks. Allasudden the Sixers are playing like a team that is not only going to the playoffs, but a team that is going to win a fair share of games (especially at home).
The most compelling example came to me as I watched the extremely close game against the Orlando Magic on February 9th. The majority of the game was close, in fact the only time the game wasn’t close was when the Sixers jumped out to a 27-18 first quarter lead. For those of you who are unaware, The Sixers went on to lose the game 95-99. Watching the game I couldn’t help but realize that besides Dwight Howard, the Sixers are almost as good and will be just as good as The Magic (The consensus 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference). Jrue Holiday is only 20 years old and has shown all the potential in the world to eventually be better than Jameer Nelson (and I love Jameer, he’s a St. Joes kid, who led them to an undefeated record). Jodie Meeks is 23 years old, was the 41st overall pick and in limited time this season has shot well (especially from beyond the arc), are you gonna sit there and tell me he couldn’t be at least as good as Jason Richardson? Andre Iguodala though a different type of player than Hedo Turkoglu is just as good, if not better already. Elton Brand has been resurgent this year, finally living up to the expectations his 80 million dollar contract established for him. In his first full healthy season on the team (without Eddie Jordan) Brand has been consistently improving as the season has progressed; averaging 15 points and 9 rebounds per game in October (3 games), 16 points and 7 rebounds in November (14 games), 14 points and 10 rebounds in December (15 games), 15 points and 8 rebounds in January (14 games), and 18 points and 10 rebounds in February (7 games). These numbers are good and the fact that Brand continues to get better is exciting, by averaging nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per game Brand is providing the Sixers with the low post presence they have desperately lacked (his Magic counterpart by the way is Ryan Anderson, who possesses career averages of 8 points and 4 rebounds). All this leads us back to Dwight Howard, a perennial superstar, the Sixers had no answer for the Magic center (as evidenced by his 30 point, 17 rebound night). Spencer Hawes has been inconsistent this year and has never been confused with Dwight Howard. The point ladies and gents is that the Sixers are arguably man for man better than 4/5s of the 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference, the only thing missing is a presence in the middle capable of shutting down a center like Howard (a problem shared by every team not named the Lakers or Celtics).
Start paying attention to this basketball team now fellow Philadelphia faithful. This way when the Sixers make the playoffs (make noise) and then are actually a legitimate contender next season and the season after, you can brag to your vagtastic friends that you never gave up on this team, you knew this potential was there, never doubted the great Doug Collins and predicted this team would be a legitimate contender in the next 2 years (Oh wait….that will be me, but don’t worry I’ll just shorten my rant to saying I told you so and will kindly use my middle finger to direct you to this post)