There is a lot of grumbling in Philly these days, and understandably so. The Sixers had been a team that some thought could go all the way. Instead, they got zilched by Boston. Granted, Ben Simmons going out with a knee injury didn’t help. But let’s face it. The team did not have any chemistry. And that itself is reason to grumble.
But the Sixers are not the only NBA franchise that has to wonder WTF happened this season. Liberty Ballers offers its list of NBA clunkers. And there are quite a few!
As interesting, are the teams that have not made it but that have reason to be optimistic about next season. My fav on that list – Brooklyn. KD and Kyrie equal awesome!
So what about the Sixers? Hmmm … Brett is out. So the first question is who will be the head coach. And FINALLY someone notices that the Sixers front office socks. Also Josh needs to step back and let a professional make trade decisions. And is Elton up to being a full time GM? There are lots of questions in how the team should be managed and coached.
And of course, there is the Al Horford issue. Bringing in Al for big bucks just did not pan out. The Sixers will likely shop Al, but who wants him? And for what? This will be a tough sell and an important one.
On the plus side, the Sixers ahve one first round pick, and a slew of second rounders. Derek B. thinks they should bring in at least 2 rookies. That should be interesting. Hopefully, the Sixers will figure out a way to better space the floor with players who can shoot and dribble.
And finally, a new coach will need to (1) get Joel to stick to his diet, and (2) get Ben to start shooting from the 3.
We need to keep repeating this: pro sports is entertainment. And if it is not entertaining, it is not worth the price of admission.
So if pro sports want to keep our attention, they need to keep the entertainment level up. Not just offer the same old product in modified form (like playing in empty cavernous arenas). How does one do that?
One entertains by doing outrageous stuff. By capturing the imaginations of the fans. So why not play pro basketball in down town YMCA’s or do street ball outside?
Forbes offers more kooky ideas like those. I love it!
The NBA is a type of theater. The audience is supposed to stay anchored on what happens on the court – the NBA stage. And the drama on the court arises from the competition on each and every given night. Teams must play to win. That sells tickets, and gets people watching games on TV. And that makes money for the league. Lots and lot s of it.
That is the official story line. As GM of the Sixers, Sam Hinkie realized that a team cannot do that and expect to win championships. To win championships, a team needed at least 3 superstars. And to get 3 superstars, a team needed high draft picks and lower salary obligations. That meant trading away over priced talent and losing a ton of games. It meant stockpiling low level draft picks.
And that is the “process” that Sam imposed on the Sixers. It was a scandal. The Sixers intentionally put a non-competitive team on the floor while Sam shed talent and accumulated draft picks! This shattered the myth that every game has to be competitive. And it pissed off a lot of people in the NBA. Sam had to go, and he was forced out.
Surprise! Sam’s strategy worked for the Sixers They are now a contender. And the weird thing is that Sam’s strategy is now embraced throughout the league.
Here is the thing. NBA fans are not stupid. They know that not all games are competitive. And that is ok, as long as there is something else interesting about the team they follow. As long as there is hope down the road that things will turn around. So, for example, Warrior fans know that their team needs to rebuild. The interesting question is how they will do it.
Which takes me to a weird aspect of NBA coverage. Let’s face it. The NBa is big business. And the fans know it. Why not cover the NBA the way strategy is really developed?
Isn’t it time to step things up and bring fans into the back room?
I found this quote to be rather startling
NBA franchise values continue to soar, up 14% in the past year to an average of $2.12 billion. Compare that with an 11% annual increase for NFL teams and 8% in Major League Baseball, with average values of $2.86 billion and $1.78 billion, respectively. NBA values are up nearly sixfold over the past decade.
The trend is up, up and up!
And perhaps we should not be overly surprised. NBA games are pretty exciting and easy to follow. And the small number of players on the court make it easy to connect to stars.
I like that because I like how the NBA has positioned itself — as an inclusive and (somewhat) caring ecology. Players are not just thrown on the scrap heap when they can no longer entertain. And players themselves seem to understand pretty well that they are in on something really cool.
We are heading to the all star game, which traditionally is a key stop over in the NBA to the playoff run. As we do, a few things are getting interesting.
In the east, forget first place. That belongs to the Bucks and they are not likely to give it up. But just behind the Bucks, things are very much in flux.
- After going 8 – 2 (including a win over the Embiidless Sixers), the Raptors have moved into second and are 8 games back. They have won 7 straight games.
- The Heat were in second, but have gone 6 – 4 in their last 10 games are are 8.5 games back. They are stumbling.
- The Celtics have really stumbled going 5 – 5, and are 9.5 games back. They just got walloped by the Pels (who have Zion back)
- The Pacers just lost to the Trailblazers, and are now tied with the Sixers for the 5th spot at 10.5 games back.
In other words, the jumble behind the Bucks, where the Sixers are, is very interesting.
In the west, the Lakers just lost, and are now only 3.5 games ahead of the Jazz and Clippers. The Nuggets are just 4 games back
So there are some interesting games coming up on Tuesday
- the Celtics play the Heat (both teams have been sagging)
- the Lakers play the Clippers
- Meanwhile, the Sixers play the lowly Warriors (who are just 10 – 37).
We still have a long way to go in the regular season, and who knows how the trade deadline will affect rosters. But for Sixers fans, things are looking up. Joel will be back in a week or so. Meanwhile, the team plays the Warriors (Tuesday) and Hawks (Thursday). They should win both games.
Then a big game against the Celtics on Saturday!
Forget the boring old days when the NBA season was a warm up for the Warriors to take the title. This year, we have quite a few really good teams that could take it all.
The Lakers have been fastest out of the blocks. And blocks is the right word when you have Mr. Davis in the paint. Lets not forget the Greek Freak and the Bucs. They are also off to a great start.
This post offers a few insights and speculations.
My take – In the west, expect the Clippers to start inching up now that they are back to full strength. In the east? The Sixers will start to put it together.
We expected this, and now we have evidence of it. The Warriors are not the team that they were. That was driven home last night when the Clippers showed up in San Fransisco for an early season confrontation.
No contest. The Clippers wiped them out.
BTW, the Clippers also rather easily beat the Lakers the other day. This is confirming what lots of people say — the Clippers are gong to be a tough team to beat. And they are currently WITHOUT Paul George (out with a shoulder injury for a while).
I check out the highlights – the Clippers move the ball extremely well, shoot well from the outside, and Kawhi is, well, just Kawhi.
Meanwhile, the Bucks beat the Rockets in their opener.
Sixers fans beware!
The NBA has had big plans for China. They thought they would make huge money selling broadcast rights to an enormous audience, and access a new talent pool. How could it go wrong?
It could go wrong for the reason that stuff often goes wrong in China. China does not tolerate free speech. And when the GM for the Houston Rockets tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters, everything went off the rails.
The first NBA reaction was to try to take it back.
But it was too late. The cat was out of the bag. If the NBA squelched the tweet, the NBA would suffer its own PR loss in the states. So Commissioner Silver waded into the controversy and said that the tweet was ok. Up yours China!
And China has now said, “Up yours NBA, we are no longer broadcasting NBA games.!”
Hmmm … how will this turn out?
My guess is that some sort of solution will b negotiated. Both sides have too much to lose without it. And my further guess is that the settlement will include some sort of discrete limit on what NBA officials can say about Hong Kong protests. That part of the deal will not be publicized.
Stay tuned! We are just in the first quarter of this one!