Four-for-Four: Valentine’s Day Edition

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Injured 76ers big man Nerlens Noel has already done an excellent job of using social media and his limited availability to connect with the Philadelphia fanbase. Though he is restricted by his injury as far as on-the-court performance goes, Noel is quickly becoming an impressive young figure within the NBA community. His following video, posted through his Instagram account, pokes fun at fellow Kentucky alum Anthony Davis. Noel’s ability to connect with the young Wildcat fans in the video paired with his charisma makes the wait for Noel’s debut that much more tantalizing.


In the first of their back-to-back 40+ point losses this past week, the 76ers fell to the Los Angeles Clippers. No fan of a team should ever root for the opposition, but it is hard not to marvel at the style of play of the Clippers. The addition of Doc Rivers at head coach along with a couple of key free agent acquisitions have transformed the other Los Angeles team from a gimmicky squad to a legitimate contender out west.

Blake Griffin, who many pegged as a one-trick pony, has evolved into a formidable threat from the power forward position. Chris Paul, now healthy, has a bevy of targets to distribute to and he remains one of the most tenacious competitors in the game. Unlike the Indiana Pacers, who are mostly homegrown, or the Miami Heat, who have built through free agency, the Clippers are a mix of the two. Griffin and Deandre Jordan were brought in through the draft, but the acquisition of Paul is what makes the ‘Clip Show’ a threat in the west.

Now that he is not in Boston, I can say with no hesitancy that he is my favorite coach in the NBA. Rivers helped guide his new team through a rocky start and now, entering the All-Star Break, the Clippers find themselves in a three-way tie for third place in the Western Conference.

The Clippers have gone from the joke of the NBA to a marketable, dangerous title threat. They were able to do so, not by sticking to a concrete equation but by taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. This is the way to exceed in the NBA. Not spending any money and hoping draft picks come together to form a dominant team would take too long. Piecing together a squad primarily through free agency and not developing any sort of cohesiveness is far too dependent on talent. The Clippers might not be where they have to be in order to compete for a title. That said, there might not be any team without LeBron James on them who are capable of doing so. What Los Angeles has been able to do is equip themselves as well as possible to butt heads with the Heat or any of the juggernauts the Western Conference has to offer. Sometimes, this is all a team can hope for in the parity-less NBA.


Rather than breaking down a pair of prospects this week, it seemed more appropriate to keep the focus on the 76ers historic week of futility on the west coast. On the heels of their 2nd blowout loss, Andrew Sharp of decided to pay tribute to the 76ers struggling stretch.

Against the Warriors, former Sixers 1st round pick Marreese Speights became the latest has-been to skewer Philadelphia to the tune of a career-high. Earlier this week, I discussed how the inspired pay from the team earlier this season has started to fall off quite a bit and holding onto the nucleus of this squad for too long could have long-reaching effects.

I still find this to be the case. Keeping players who have become accustomed to losing on a team with younger talent, not used to how to handle the NBA, fosters bad habits. I am all for the team holding onto their veteran players in order to wait for the best possible return on an offer. However, stubbornness could derail Sam Hinkie’s plan if he is too proud to ship off the trio of players who have been mentioned most often in trade rumors.

Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, the 76ers rid themselves of the veteran players in their starting lineup and we can officially shift our focus to the offseason. The novelty of the 40 points losses has more than worn off and I am ready to watch a team that has players who actually have interest in competing. All that in mind, after seeing this following picture, it made the five-point loss to the Jazz almost enjoyable.