Does Anybody Care if the Sixers Are Tanking?
We know that reader polls are highly unscientific, but oh well: An audience poll of 94WIP listeners found that Philadelphians are more concerned with the losing ways of the Phillies and the Flyers than they are with the Sixers — who, it should be noted, stand to set an NBA record for most season-opening losses this week.
Just 7 percent of respondents said that they’re most upset with the Sixers for losing. The Phillies topped the list, with 63 percent of respondents upset with them.
“While many fans are embarrassed by the Sixers, who are just one loss away from tying the worst start in NBA history, some understand the direction of the franchise,” the station said in its overview of the poll.
That may be. Franchise icon Charles Barkley this week said the Sixers have the right approach:
“I actually like what they are doing,” Barkley said recently. ”They have got a bright future. They got the Rookie of the Year (Michael Carter-Williams), they got (Nerlens) Noel back, I think he is going to be a good player. I am not playing (Joel) Embiid this year, I am not playing him. I am going to get another lottery pick next year, and I got four studs going forward — I’ve got a point guard, I’ve got a power forward, I’ve got a legit center. They’re hoping, in three or four years, they can be what Oklahoma City is now.”
Maybe. But maybe all that purpose-driven losing has finally sapped this city’s will to care about its NBA team. Philly loves winners and scrappers — ideally both at the same time — but the Sixers, by design, aren’t really either. (Due respect to the overmatched players, but an organization that is obviously trying to lose doesn’t deserve the “scrappy” title.) The opposite of love isn’t hate — it’s indifference. Is that what we’re seeing in this poll?
Or are we taking a kids’ game, badly played, too seriously?
The Sixers can tie the NBA record for season-opening losses in their game Wednesday against Minnesota.