Yes, this was the year that the Sixers were supposedly “Tanking”, as of right now? Yeah, not so much…But hey, I am cool with it. First and for most, I am a fan. I will NEVER just sit there and root for the Sixers to lose. It’s just not in my DNA. If you do root for them to lose, I am not sure how you call yourself a fan if I’m being honest. Of course I want them to get a high draft pick, so they can continue the draft process, but just maybe they’re already a step higher then we thought.
Its waaaaaay early, but maybe this team could win 30-35 games this year? I know I had them around 17-18 wins this year like most. We all thought that this team was going to struggle with every part of the game-scoring, rebounding, defense, and turnovers. This team is built with guys that are getting their last chance, rookies, underachievers, and guys fighting for their next contracts.
There are two things that usually happen when players have their “backs against the wall” or even everyday people like us for that matter. One is that they succumb to the pressure. They just go into a shell and just can’t take the pressure. The other is that they come out fighting, laying everything on the line. They’re ready to run over any obstacle that is put in front of them. No matter what the cost is. They don’t care what anyone else thinks about them. They believe in themselves and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. In the first few weeks of the NBA season that is what the Sixers are doing. They have come swinging.
It’s funny as I am watching last nights game, I realized to myself that I am seeing something that I haven’t seen in awhile around these parts. This Sixers team has some “dog” in them. There was no better evidence then these few plays where Wroten and MCW both dived on the floor for the loose ball and the Sixers came up with it, Thad coming out of nowhere and blocking the hell out of Dion Waiters, when he could have easily just let him throw it down, then of course Thad again stealing the ball from Tristan Thompson. That was a play you see all the time where the player will grab the rebound and just kinda walk it out of the lane and set the offense up again. It happens all the time. What doesn’t happen is what Thad did.
Listen, I not trying to glorify this team. Really, I am not. But there is an excitement about this team. It’s the way they play and with the energy that they play with. All that starts with Thad and Wroten. Both go full tilt. MCW doesn’t shy away from anyone, even Orton brings physicality from the bench. All of this style has rubbed off on Turner and Hawes. Turner (shooting 55%. Career 43%) is playing with a chip on his shoulder and playing his best basketball maybe ever. He has seemed to conquer his own demons (whining, sulking and disappearing), while attacking the rim and not worrying if he is going to get the call or not.
Hawes has been equally as good (10.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game). Hawes has been very good with starting the break. His outlet passes have been very impressive, if there where “Hockey assists” in the NBA, Hawes might lead the league in them. He has been decent defensively as well (coming off 6 block shots performance). He also is shooting the ball well at 56% clip. And for you advance stat lovers- Hawes is at 23.42 per (21st overall).His career high is 18.19. Turner is at 22.21 per (34th overall). His career high is 12.69. So everyone is winning right now.
This whole Sixers thing could go up in flames. They could lose 17 of their next 20 games. BUT, all I know is that I am enjoying this ride while it last.
Everybody knows this season is not about the “W’s”. I have heard some people actually say that the Sixers may make another run at the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Yes, that thing they were relinquished of just a few years back (Thanks Bobcats). When it comes down to it, it’s all about the individuals for the Sixers. It’s about hoping and wishing for that “Diamond in the Rough”.
This roster is full of undrafted, castoffs, and underachievers. It’s full of players that are just trying to get one more shot to prove that they belong. It’s early…OK, fine. It’s real early, but the one guy that is standing out and catching some people’s attention is guard Tony Wroten. Who? If you don’t know who he is, you might want to find out.
The former first round pick (25th overall of last years draft) of the Memphis Grizzlies, played his college ball for the Washington Huskies. He averaged 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for the Huskies and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team in his only season of college ball (2011-12). The former Huskie has easily been one of the best players thus far in the preseason.
Wroten, 20, is a 6″ 6′ point guard, but he plays more like a combo guard in my eyes. Once he takes off his warm-up, he is in attack mode. The kid can flat-out get up and down the court. He looks like he eats about 30 packets of sugar, before he enters a game. The kid just has a ton of energy. There are few things that jump-out about him besides his energy level. That would be his transition game and the way he attacks the rim. Brett Brown has said that he wants the Sixers to play fast; well Tony Wroten fits that model perfectly. He easily looks to be the fastest player with ball.
The one thing that Tony looks like he needs to work on is his jumper, even though he just went 4-8 from 3-point land the other day. He has plenty of time to work on that.
Why would the Grizzlies give up on raw-talent like Wroten for just a second-round pick? That is a easy question to answer. They don’t have time to take on a project; they’re too busy trying to win a NBA title. On the flip side, the Sixers, obviously have time for that.
So the kid, who played just 272 minutes all last season and averaged 2.6 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting, will get plenty of opportunities. It’s early as hell, but he looks to be ready to take full advantage of his opportunity. Remember its all about individuals this season. We talkin individuals.