Four-for-Four: The Reality Sucks Edition

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Heading into the 2010-2011 season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were set back on their heels upon the announcement of their franchise player, LeBron James, announcing he would not re-sign with his hometown team but instead chase an opportunity for a title with the Miami Heat. Since the Cavs drafted James first overall in the 2004 NBA draft, they had geared every effort of roster construction toward supplementing their generational star with the type of talent that could bring a title to the franchise. When James spurned the Cavs for a chance to play with draft classmates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, the franchise was devastated. Much like the other teams courting James in the offseason prior to the 2010-2011 season, Cleveland was trying to create an environment ideal for a landing spot for LeBron. Being left at the alter after gearing every offseason effort towards bringing him back set the Cavaliers up for what would end up being the worst season owner Dan Gilbert could have imagined. Bracketed by a pair of overtime wins (one on December 18th, the other on February 11) the Cavaliers lost 26 straight games as they sledged through a regular season that would prove to be enough of a failure that they would net the first overall pick in the following draft. The Cavaliers happened to be fortunate enough to acquire a franchise-caliber player with the first overall pick, despite the Minnesota Timberwolves having the worst record by two games, in Kyrie Irving the following offseason. In less than a year, the Cavaliers lost the face of a franchise only to have the NBA feel sorry for them and give them another one to soften the blow to the Cleveland faithful (nothing highlights the lottery conspiracies more than the Cavaliers success in the ‘random’ draft order since LeBron left). The Cavaliers may not be where they expected to at this point, but that does not change the fact that Irving is a unique talent at an important position that an organization should be able to build upon. Cleveland put all of their eggs in the same basket as half a dozen other teams trying to acquire LeBron James. Instead of their franchise being set back a half decade due to the way their roster was constructed, them getting Kyrie Irving the following season allowed them to establish a new face of their franchise and inject a colossal talent into the roster they were trying to turn over.

As people pile up upon the 76ers for their painful futility, one cannot help but wonder why teams did not get on the Cavaliers for being so reckless with their franchise. An organization that had gone deep into the playoffs for the better part of a decade could not build up the supplementary roles on the roster well enough to give themselves a chance to contend if James decided to leave. Instead, they fueled the ‘superstar’ narrative that drives the NBA and fed off the sympathy of the league that they received upon LeBron’s departure. The Cavaliers have been lucky enough to acquire the first overall pick twice since James last played in Cleveland and neither year were they the team with the worst record. They will most likely miss the playoffs, again, and find themselves with yet another lottery pick they might manage to screw up. Cleveland can drum up all the sympathy for losing LeBron James that they want. The fact of the matter is, they’ve had four seasons and offseasons to boot to rebuild a roster with ample resources. The league and national media is chastising the 76ers for setting forth a very risky strategy to try to improve their team. No one is going to feel bad for Philadelphia if they do not receive a top selection in the draft, quite the opposite actually. Many will bash GM Sam Hinkie and the recklessness with how he tore apart a franchise. For those who do so, look no further than how Dan Gilbert whined and pointed fingers his way to several opportunities to replenish the talent level of his team and the front office has been unsuccessful in doing so. While everyone is bashing Brett Brown and Sam Hinkie, very few are shining light towards what is on the line for both of them. A first year head coach and GM have put their reputation on the line for an unsure thing. The 76ers have been successful in their first major step they set forward at least year’s draft: they are the worst team in the NBA in terms of on-the-court talent. They cannot control the next step in the process, but they have done all they could to deal with both the worst and best-case scenario. Forgive me if I have a tough time getting on a front office for taking bold steps, completely within the framework of the league, to try to re-energize a franchise.


For all of their losing this season, the 76ers have had some rather remarkable buzzer-beaters. From some of Spencer Hawes early theatrics, to Tony Wroten‘s 3/4 court heaves in back-to-back games, the Sixers have provided some relative excitement in the form of some impressive answered prayers. The latest, in the 76ers road loss to the Rockets, came from latest 10-day contract stalwart, Casper Ware.

In an attempt to avoid a ‘friendly ghost’ joke, let’s just say the Long Beach State alum showed great a-WARE-ness with the first quarter clock winding down…lame, I know.


Mar 27, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center John Henson (31) grabs the loose ball during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Lakers to move one game back of the 76ers for 2nd worst record in the NBA. Let’s digest that fact for a second. The Bucks, a team that probably did not expect to find themselves in the cellar of the NBA at this point of the season, have maintained a stranglehold on the bottom spot while the 76ers have lost 26 straight games. Fortunately for the Milwaukee faithful, I predict the 76ers will unseat them as the best of the bottom by season’s end. I predict the Bucks will win their final game of the season, a home matchup with the Hawks, along with another game along the way to pull ahead of Philadelphia on the last day of the season. Personally, I see a team like the Bucks opting for a potential prospect like Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid over Andrew Wiggins. The Bucks already have a raw, tantalizing athlete on their roster in the form of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bringing in a player like Wiggins, coming off a game that put into question all of his shortcomings as a player, would only bring more uncertainty toward the Bucks organization. I almost prefer the Bucks end up with the first overall pick while the 76ers get the second. Either way, I think Philadelphia would get the player they want if the first two picks involve the 76ers & Bucks.