By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It would be wrong to say Spencer Hawes was not trying on Tuesday night against the Cavs.
He was trying not to get hurt. Trying to avoid contact. Trying to get out of the building in what he obviously believed was his final game as a Philadelphia 76er.
Hawes’ final game with the Sixers, in which he went 1-6 for two points, to go along with six rebounds, and a -25 in 30 minutes of action in the wrong end of a blowout, was a fitting farewell for a center whose toughness has always been in question, and whose performance has almost always been disappointing.
It’s true, if Hawes got injured in that game, the likelihood of him being traded would have been much smaller. The odds of him ending up on a contender for the rest of the season would have grown much longer. Think of how difficult that would have been for the Big Conservative. Imagine he’d have to collect the final two million dollars of his contract, while rehabbing with great doctors, in the fifth largest city in the country, without any pressure to return, and free agency staring directly at him. Think of how tough that would be.
Think of how unfair it is for the few fans who did attend the game, and have watched him play over the last few years, to believe that Hawes should actually go out there and try to win the basketball game.
There is a difference between being bad, and doing what Hawes did on Tuesday night. The Sixers are a bad basketball team, but Hawes’ performance didn’t even deserve a descriptor as complimentary as “bad.”
I felt it while I was watching:
I felt it the next morning when we did our pre-trade deadline edition of The Rights To Ricky Sanchez podcast.
But it wasn’t until a neutral party, Grantland’s Zach Lowe mentioned Hawes’ abhorrent performance did my rage reach its peak. Someone else noticed it, so it must have been real.
“Spencer Hawes on Tuesday night against the Cavs was actively avoiding any responsibility to defend shots at the rim,” Lowe wrote Wednesday. “Like, he was jumping out of the way. It was a masterpiece of not giving a [expletive].”
Hawes is a talented guy, who will probably have a long NBA career, but he’s always been a disappointment in Philadelphia.
His physical inability to defend has only been matched by his lack of desire to ever get better at it.
Any one of us would have a hard time giving it our all on the final day at a job. But Hawes has never shied away from any spotlight, and seems to enjoy the negative reaction he sometimes invites on Twitter and Instagram. So it’s only fair that a bright spotlight be shined on his last game.
Spencer Hawes will likely be traded by today’s 3pm deadline. I couldn’t be more glad.
Congratulations on your Barack Obama toilet paper, Spencer. I can assure you the Hawes’ toilet paper, if it’s ever made, will most certainly be much softer.