“This is my lowest point as a Philly sports fan” was the first post I saw on Facebook after the news broke that Sam Hinkie had resigned from his role as the General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. Yes, it was a sincere post. I know because it was written by a close friend, one of many such friends and fellow Sixers fans echoing sentiments of pure anguish on my various social media feeds. To an outside observer, this type of negativity might seem out of place. Typically, change from top to bottom is welcomed by fans of a professional sports team that has finished near last place in the standings for three straight years. In that situation, any type of change could signify a much needed fresh start. It potentially marks the beginning of a so-called “rebuilding phase.”
This is similar to when a movie series reboots after a disappointing sequel. Reboots and rebuilds usually create a sense of hope that things will improve. Sometimes, that sense of hope appears to be the main impetus for the change, because hope can bring back fans who have given up on the team°. Of course, a large number of 76ers fans are atypical in this regard because they did not want change. They are even more atypical because they already had hope. Along with pride, hope might have been all they had.
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Paul George, the do-everything swingman whose up-and-down season has mirrored the fortunes of his Indiana Pacers team, suffered a concussion in Game 2 against the Miami Heat. Early pessimists pinned him as missing the rest of the series, but now it appears as though he will be ready to play Game 3 on Saturday night in Miami. Elsewhere, Serge Ibaka is facing a similar situation, and his return couldn’t come soon enough for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who face an 0-2 deficit to the all-conquering San Antonio machine. Also, Cleveland wins the draft lottery for the third time in the last four years, prompting questions of faith and critical reason in the city by the lake.
Courtesy of Grantland
Happy Holidays, from all of us to all of you. For Christmas, we got you a ridiculous (and also kind of practical) draft proposal to phase out the lottery and engender a culture of parity in the NBA. The New York Knicks winning the Patrick Ewing sweepstakes in 1985 and, more recently, the New Orleans Hornets
being given the #1 pick in a rigged lottery process gaining the rights to Anthony Davis are two examples of a system which has caused much controversy since its implementation almost thirty years ago: the NBA draft lottery. One team executive has proposed a new system which, proponents claim, would eliminate the temptation of tanking. Meanwhile, Atlanta becomes the third team in the Eastern Conference to break .500, and the Charlotte Bobnets are ever closer to returning the Buzz to the Queen City.