“It’s 14 degrees in Philadelphia … and the heater has broken inside the Wells Fargo Center — so the visiting Indiana Pacers are warming up in full sweats and winter gear,” TMZ reports. “Unclear when the heater crapped out … but multiple team sources tell us the same thing — ‘It’s f**king freezing in here.'”
Well, hey. After the Sixers traded Michael Carter-Williams on Thursday, we knew they were due for a cold streak.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) is defended by Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers, 12-41 and out of contention for the foreseeable future, were not expected to be a major player before the NBA Draft deadline today. What little we knew.
In a pair of deals just before the deadline, the Sixers appear to have shipped out starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams, last season’s rookie of the year, and promising first-year small forward K.J. McDaniels. Bothreports come from NBA trade guru Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. McDaniels is headed to the Rockets, while Carter-Williams will be with the Bucks. Read more »
An Action News cameraman films Tim McDermott, chief marketing and innovation officer for the Sixers, and new mascot Franklin as they prepare for a TV interview (Photo | Dan McQuade)
It looked like he was going to miss.
Franklin, the new Sixers mascot, had shown off his dance moves, and now he was preparing for his big moment. The Sixers’ Flight Squad, a team of dunkers/cheerleaders for the team, had already dunked on a hoop set up in the Franklin Institute. Now it was Franklin’s turn. He grabbed a ball, sprinted toward the basket and bounced off a trampoline.
And he almost missed. He seemed to hang in the air forever. Fortunately, Franklin was able to stretch and put the ball into the net with a last gasp effort, avoiding a complete embarrassment. He was more successful on a second dunk attempt, though he kind of collided with the rim.
The Sixers kept it close last night, but ultimately fell, 89-84, to the Golden State Warriors. This is no shame. The Warriors are the best team in the NBA, 41-9 after last night’s win, and averaging almost 101 points a game.
But the highlight of the game came in the first quarter, when Sixers rookie K.J. McDaniels tossed a pass off the backboard to himself and threw down a one-handed jab. This is quite possibly the dunk of the year.
They said it couldn’t be done. In December, one sports book moved the over/under on the Sixers to 9.5. But it is only the end of January, and the Sixers now have nine wins on their own. They will, at worst, tie the 9-73 Sixers for futility in an 82-game season, and that’s only if they lose their final 36 games. That’s probably not going to happen. This Sixers season will not be the most embarrassing NBA season ever, record-wise.
The Sixers jumped out to a 24-4 lead on the Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center and didn’t really have to look back. They held the Pistons to just 69 points — including just 32 in the second half.
One of the funnier moments in recent Sixers memory happened on January 29th of last year. Down a point to the hated Celtics in Boston, Evan Turner drove the lane and hit a short shot at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 95-94 wins. Fans on Twitter exploded — in anger at Turner. This was the Sixers 15th win of the year, and a lot of people thought the Sixers had played too well: They’d hurt their chances at getting the No. 1 overall pick too much.
After that win, the Sixers would proceed to lose 26 consecutive games, not getting another victory until March 29th. Turner was eventually traded to Indiana. But those fans were right, in a sense: Despite the long losing streak, the Sixers did not end up with the worst record in the NBA. Their 19-63 mark was second-worst, and the 76ers only landed the third overall pick when Cleveland jumped all the way from ninth to win the NBA draft lottery and the team with the worst overall record (Milwaukee) nabbed the second pick.
This season was not expected to have any of the philosophical debates over winning and draft position. The Sixers were not coming in with a small veteran corps like they had the previous season. They came into the season with one active player, Malcolm Thomas, who was born in the 1980s. Everyone else was a ’90s kid.
But a funny thing happened since that train wreck of a start. The Sixers have clawed from 0-17 to a 7-29 mark (which is merely embarrassing). Two — two! — professional basketball teams have worse records than the Sixers: The Knicks (5-35) and the Timberwolves (5-31). And, on cue, fans are actually starting to grumble that the 76ers are winning too many games, that they’re sabotaging their chances at a top player. No longer are the Sixers an abomination to all that is good and holy about basketball. Now they’re just bad.
So how’d they get there? Here are five reasons the Sixers are no longer the laughingstock of the NBA.
When the Sixers traded for Andrei Kirilenko earlier this season, it was expected that the veteran forward wouldn’t be in Philadelphia long — that, given the Sixers’ tanking ways penchant for departing with talented veterans, “AK-47″ would end up on another team. And soon.
“The 76ers have suspended forward Andrei Kirilenko for not reporting to the team after his trade from the Brooklyn Nets last month,” the Associated Press reports. “Coach Brett Brown confirmed the suspension during a shootaround before Friday night’s game in Brooklyn. He says he had been looking forward to coaching Kirilenko.” Read more »
In case you haven’t noticed, Philadelphia has a sports team ownership problem.
It took last week’s Eagles front office fiasco to get me thinking about this. And the Eagles are the one viable team in this town right now.
Jeffrey Lurie has now owned the Eagles for 20 years. Not only is there no championship of which to speak, but now I’m very leery of the direction this owner provides towards that end. When confronted with in-house bickering of his lieutenants, Lurie caved like a pre-fab house in a stiff wind. His anointing of Chip Kelly as the main architect of the franchise and demotion of Howie Roseman from general manager to vice president of shoulder pads, or some such thing, was not exactly generalship. It was a panic move from a weak leader. Read more »