By: Andy Wheeler
So we are only a few short weeks of dodging snow away Phillies Spring Training and summer nights at the Bank. However for the first time in a long time I find myself sitting here thinking about the Sixers. Are they for real?
I’m not the only one asking myself that question, doubters are everywhere right now. And I really can’t blame them. On the surface they play a stifling defensive game. They are relentless, enthusiastic and oppressive defensively game after game.
They can run you out of the building with wave after wave of athletic depth. They deflect passes on defense, while making the extra pass on offense.
It is a polished team game played under the watchful eye of the early favorite for coach of the year in Doug Collins. So why on earth do I doubt? I should have season tickets by now right?
New owners and a new confidence, they are the next big Philly team right? Not so fast everybody. We need to calm down.
Let’s just say at the moment, I’m going to consider this circumstantial success.
Before you get upset and say that I’m being negative, or hating…I’m not.
Doug Collins said a few weeks ago after practice that even though he wanted to put some new plays in to help with the loss of Spencer Hawes, he couldn’t because there was no practice time. So that means there is very little time for the Sixers to prepare for other teams and other teams to prepare for them.
Then factor in the Sixers success for the most part, at least in my opinion, has been the simplicity of what they are trying to do and the athletic ability of their team. Then you can start to see my theory start to take shape.
Maybe just maybe this team is uniquely geared toward this shortened compact season. For other teams, 5 games in 7 nights could be a huge deal. For the Sixers, when their starting line up on Saturday AVERAGED 23.8 years old…it’s no big deal. Fresh legs could end up being the biggest difference in this entire season. Depth has certainly been the biggest difference for the Sixers this season. But that’s just my opinion.
Some are screaming out that this is a Championship team…but a dose of realism is needed. I think this team has the pieces in place for an extended run of excellence. They are still missing their “star”. The NBA has proven over and over and over again that you can not win without a “star”.
Now, could a Star emerge from this group of young talent? Absolutely! Beasley told me the other day we can’t know if there is a star or not yet. And I have to agree. However, I can’t remember the last time an NBA team won the Championship with a bunch of guys that stuff the stat sheet. You need that one “Star” to drop 40 in the playoffs…and right now that guy doesn’t exist on the Sixers.
I think what’s happening for them right now is fantastic. It’s great that Basketball is mattering again at the Pro level in Philly. I think everyone should go down and support the team and the new owners, and just enjoy the ride and not try and over think it.
Just remember when all the teams get on equal footing in terms of preparation and time between games things might be a little different. The Sixers new advantage will be gone in the playoffs this year and when things get back to normal next year. So while a division title is absolutely in reach this year all these blow out wins and unexpected success may end up being a mirage next year.
Now I just hope they crush Kobe tonight.