Did Philadelphia 76ers fans take RoCo and Saric for granted?

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

With Dario Saric and Robert Covington now new fan favorites in Minnesota, did the Philadelphia 76ers take their ex-forward tandem for granted?

There’s an old saying that you can’t be missed if you never go away.

Is this a corny saying that’s potentially super shortsighted? Totally, but less than a week into the Philadelphia 76ers post-Process-era, a question has started to be whispered around the league: Did the team, and by extension, their fans, take Robert Covington and Dario Saric for granted?

Sure, the duo received their share of fair wells from all corners of the 76ers’ fandom before leaving town, my personal favorite coming from the team’s mascot Franklin, but it seems like a small but passionate swash of social media has been (not so) patiently counting downs the day until the City of Brotherly Love could finally be rid of the forwards.

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But now that they are gone, even said critics appear sad to see them leave.

Now don’t get me wrong, (virtually) everyone declared the Sixers the clear winners of the Jimmy Butler trade, as they procured a top-20 player and a young upside big man for a pair of role players and Jerryd Bayless, but addition by subtraction is real in the NBA, especially when swapping out an…outspoken antagonist for a pair of team first, selfless starters.

Will Covington and Saric ever elevate their respective games and become multiple time All-Stars? In all likelihood no, especially not in the Western Conference, but after spending years in Philly as trade fodder, the fans in Minnesota have already taken a liking to their new starting forwards.

But did Philly take said forwards for granted?

Between Saric’s early-season struggles and RoCo’s seriously volatile 3-point shooting percentage, both players received their fair share of negative backlash on social media. While some of this was overblown, especially when you consider just how good Covington is on the defensive end of the court, it’s clear Philly fans wanted an upgrade over the duo and got their wish.

Is Butler going to make fans forget about the Homie and Big Shot Bob? I think that’s a pretty safe bet, but it’s clear Minnesota fans are in punch drunk love with their new forward tandem and expect to get better without a legitimate star like Butler.

Can a starting five of Derrick Rose, Andrew Wiggins, Covington, Saric, and Karl-Anthony Towns do enough to secure Minnesota a playoff berth, and keep Tom Thibodeau‘s job for at least another season? That remains to be seen, but the team at least appears to be playing happy, and that is a marked improvement over the first month over the season.

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And for Philly? The team is all in on winning now, and unfortunately, that sometimes means saying goodbye to fan favorites in pursuit of something better. Will Butler be enough to make the Philadelphia 76ers the team to beat in the Eastern Conference? Only time will tell, but at least Robert Covington and Dario Saric when to a good home, where their talents may be fully appreciated.