Philadelphia 76ers: Booing Jerryd Bayless is the best, right?

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

After only appearing in 42 games for the Philadelphia 76ers over three seasons, Jerryd Bayless has somehow become one of the fanbase’s most hated villains.

Man, Jerryd Bayless is the worst, am I right?

I mean seriously, can you think of a worse acquisition over the last decade than the 10th year University of Arizona alum?

No? Exactly.

I mean, I think Twitter’s own Fake WIP Caller said it best during the Philadelphia 76ers recent blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

You see, to many fans, Bayless wasn’t just an oft-injured combo guard meant to ease Ben Simmons‘ transition into the NBA as a backcourt partner, no, he was a wasted roster spot, seldom seeing the court, while robbing a bench spot from a more deserving young player.

His contract was a sunk cost; too expensive to outright waive, but to ineffective to generate much interest on the open market. Had it not been for the T-Wolves’ willingness to take him in a 3-for-2 trade highlighted by Jimmy Butler, mostly to make the money work, Bayless would in all likelihood still be on the Sixers roster.

That’s right, without the Butler trade the 76ers would not have been able to sign sure-to-be long-term piece Corey Brewer to an extremely lucrative 10-day contract, leaving the team undermanned and with one less headband brother for this make-or-break 12 game stretch.

But it wasn’t always like this.

No, there was a time, long, long ago when Bayless was actually the crown jewel of the Sixers’ free agent class, a comical reminder of a bygone era.

In the summer of 2016, the 76ers were still bad, like really bad. They’d yet to see the debut of Joel Embiid or Dario Saric, and new GM Bryan Colangelo had just utilized the first overall pick in the draft, the team’s first since Allen Iverson in 1996, on a ball-dominant 6-foot-10 power forward who couldn’t shoot.

This team was coming off of a 10 win season, their worst since the 1972-73 season, and needed some veteran leadership to show their young core the ropes.

Colangelo did so by signing three players, an NJ-native guard/forward named Gerald Henderson to a two-year, $18-million deal, a Spanish point guard who’d been out of the league for close to a decade in Sergio Rodriguez for $8 million, and Bayless to a 3-year, $24 million deal.

Of the three, only Bayless has logged an NBA minute since 2017, with Rodriquez returning to Europe to right CSKA Moscow’s ship, and Henderson joining the Charlotte Hornetsbroadcasting team following experimental hip surgery. Sure those minutes are pretty limited, 1,061 over three seasons to be exact, but he’s still playing, which says a lot.

It’s not like he chose to get injured either. From injuring his thumb in 2016, and again in 2017, to hyperextending his knee before the start of the 2018-19 NBA season, Bayless never quite lived up to his previous pedigree, which is a shame, because the 76ers have consistently needed a versatile combo guard capable of picking of lighting a spark while coming off the bench.

The Philadelphia 76ers (unfortunately) can’t trade for Dario Saric. dark. Next

Had Bayless been able to replicate his Milwaukee averages when he joined the Sixers, providing his team with 10.4 points while knocking down 43 percent of his 4.4 3-pointer taken a game, he very well could have become a fan favorite in the City of Brotherly Love, as we so very much love our dynamic sixth men. But instead, Bayless, by no fault of his own, has become a villain in his former home; hated for what he couldn’t be.