It all started for me with the losing on purpose philosophy which was heralded by some as genius. Imagine, believing that purposely fielding a team not talented enough to win was revolutionary. Don’t get me wrong, teams did it before them and teams continue to do it. They just don’t strut around acting as if they somehow cracked a revolutionary code that set them apart. Teams have been losing on purpose as long as I’ve been alive. I never respected it then and I don’t respect it now. Teams like Milwaukee and Toronto in recent memory have proven you don’t have to be atrocious and picking at the top of the draft to skillfully build an NBA Champion. In fact, no NBA Champions have decided losing for 4 or 5 years straight was the best path to a title. That is my opinion, it never changed and that period of time damaged my “fan” relationship with the team.
Then I take on the issue of the numerous draft and personnel errors that have kept them from ascending as far as we all expected. In other cities they might call that karma, but in this city we claim it’s just bad luck. I’ll call it incompetence from past leadership. If you’re going to lose to assemble young talent you have to understand how to select and develop young talent. The organization failed at that.
We get to the modern day and the hurdle of attempting to finally win a second round series. I’ve got to tell you that for some reason I’m believing more in this squad than I have in previous years. It’s not that I believe they are so much more talented. I have a faith that this time around they appear better off physically than in previous campaigns. James Harden is managing an injury, tell me if you have heard that one before. Joel Embiid has been wildly successful this year and deserves an MVP. All I care about is this team making a playoff run. A run means you are one of the last 4 standing. We have all seen the second round tough losses. Those aren’t runs. Those are disappointments.
I believe that all of the load management concerns throughout the year can send the wrong message. The team fails to show up consistently at odd times. Last night vs the Heat was a disaster. They had no fire or energy. It’s obvious they didn’t care about that and could once again roll over on Sunday at Brooklyn. They could once again benefit from losing on purpose. It seems to always be the franchise fall back position.
This playoff run ahead is so important. It’s a potential final statement on “The Process” era. I’ll say it in advance, if they lose, James Harden may very well walk. Even if he stays I won’t be lining up to drink the Kool Aid that rolling it back with this same roster is a viable game plan. All I know is that there is a definition of insanity and the 76ers consistently have shown that their plan is off the mark. 2023 is my line in the sand.