|Brett Brown's Reaction|
They've steadfastly gone for the philosophy of Best Player Available, refused to sign or trade for or keep middling talents that would lock them into the pointless middle area of lEastern Conference 8 seed basketball, and plunged the franchise into a 2-years-and-counting period where every Sixer Fan has felt like they might be a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. In a league filled with teams that tank, the Sixers have been bald-faced about it, and pilloried. They also haven't been very lucky with the things that have been beyond their control (i.e., lottery slots).
But losing with purpose and a plan has actually always been supported in this town. The Eagles in the early days of Dick Vermeil and Andy Reid lost handily and everyone was fine with it. The Sixers in the Iverson build got broad support. The Phillies in the days of Ed Wade. If you play kids and commit to it, and said kids try hard, this town cheers for them. They are far more patient than you might imagine, especially for a town that's a top ten media market, where people spend real coin to see games, and have other options.
Tonight was supposed to be about when the Sixers pivoted from developmental to watchable. With the two bigs supposed to come off the board, Hinkie would just take his pick of D'Angelo Russell and Emanual Mundiay. Finally, we'd have someone beyond a D-League point guard, and the club might get Joel Embiid and Dario Saric on the floor, to go with Interesting Pieces found in last year's year-long talent sift. Maybe even, be still my heart, make a trade that wasn't for future second round picks. The club had assets, dammit, so many second round picks that they could maybe package up and use to get a guy on an expiring deal who might be able to hit an open jumper.
So, what did we get?
Well, the Lakers fell in love with Russell, because they saw New Stephen Curry in him, and screwed up the top of the board. The Sixers then took Okafor, and while it really seems to force a trade at less than peak value for either Embiid or Nerlens Noel, Okafor was the consensus top pick not so long ago. You had to take him, fit be damned, and three young bigs to split 96 minutes is defensible, especially if Embiid's foot issues continue. Still time to save the night and the season by getting a point. Just...
Make a trade, maybe for Jerian Grant, the brother of current Sixer Jerami? Nope, he goes off the board in the first round, and the team never trades up. Take a guard with one of their high second round picks? Nope. Instead, Hinkie went for two MORE centers, both of them foreign stash guys, and I'm not going to bother spelling their names here, because there is no earthly reason to learn those names. Take someone late? No, not really, two foreign PFs to go with the two foreign Cs.
A team that went into the draft with starters like Hollis Thompson, Ish Smith and Tony Wroten didn't even produce competition for those jobs. Unless you think J.P. Tokoto, a UNC SF who profiles as a No Offense project, can come through... well, the worst position group in the league didn't get any better.
Maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe there's a trade coming down the pike for Ty Lawson, or Isiah Thomas, or any number of presumably available guards. But that's not how you build a roster, because everyone else in the league *knows* you've got to make a move, and won't give up real value.By the end of the night, ESPN was mocking the Sixer picks before they happened, the same as NFLN guys mock the Eagles for taking Best Available Oregon Duck. Short of something amazing happening, this 18 win team might win... 18 games again. I no longer trust the process, or that there is any kind of plan, other than to lose a lot of games and not pay anyone.
Honestly, is all of my laundry trying to get me to stop caring, all at once?