Thursday, January 5, 2012

7.5% of the season done, and my laundry isn't horrible

So after a starting 5-game road trip that just seemed designed to drop any continuity momentum into the crapper... my beloved Sixers are 3-2 after spanking the surprising New Orleans Hornets tonight. Of the five games, the only real obvious loss was opening night in Portland, where they made a game of it with some late three-point shooting.

They also belched up a game in Utah which was a little bit disappointing, but tonight's win was one of those up for grab games where Jrue Holiday came through, and man alive, is that exactly the most encouraging way for this team to win games... with their best and most promising player coming up big.

Oh, and it also didn't hurt that Evan Turner, last year's #2 pick in a weak draft, had a monster game off the bench. Because, well, the plain and simple truth of this franchise is that they are three to five very good years away from doing more than being a hard first round out, and by the time they get to that level, Andre Iguodala will be on the downside, and still making too much. If Turner can take Iggy's minutes and role, and Iggy can be moved for a talented young big that develops... well hell. That's interesting.

Speaking of interesting, and maybe even an awful lot of hope, let's talk about Spencer Hawes. Last year's glimpse of competence around huge clumps of soft has been replaced by a big man who is moving the ball well -- honest, he almost had a triple double in one game -- and he's even showing moments of consistency. He's lost weight, been motivated by a one-year make-good contract, and even shown some snarl. If this is his new level, and Elton Brand can stay healthy, maybe they get to that 36-30 level. And if Jrue can somehow become a top 10 player in his third season when he can finally drink legally, maybe even more. But not likely.

Everything is not, of course, skittles and beer. Jodie Meeks looks lost, they only go eight deep in a year where depth looks critical, and if Meeks isn't good, the age-old problem with the laundry -- that they do not shoot threes or score easily outside of transition -- is going to bite them hard. This is usually the time of the Doug Collins Coaching Experience in which he starts to lose the team with his unrelenting intensity. The trade of Marresse Speights to Memphis for second-round picks show that they aren't going to be too hard about this year. Either that, or they like Nikola Vucevic more, and that works for me, too.

Now they get 18 of their next 22 in Philadelphia, where new ownership, lower ticket prices and a possible wining record could make the sun shine. The Knicks and Celtics look vulnerable, Toronto remains weak, and New Jersey is still in a holding pattern until they can get to Brooklyn... so, well.

Why not them? And why not now?

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