Much to my dismay, though not to my surprise, the Sixers won. They played with heart from start to finish. As much as I was cheering for my team to win, I found it hard not to respect what the Sixers did this night.
This is a franchise that was primetime during the Iverson era and extremely feared around the league. Even before that time, the Sixers were a classic era team that was home to many legends over the years such as Moses Malone, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, and Charles Barkley, just to name a few.
However, the Sixers had been in a lull in recent years. I’m sensing a comeback and I’m forecasting winds of change are just around the corner.
The Sixers trading Andre Igoudala may have been controversial at the time, especially since Andrew Bynum has not played a single game in the red, white and blue, but I believe it was a much needed blessing in disguise.
The 2012-2013 season has displayed the emergence of a star in Jrue Holiday, who was recently named to the Eastern Conference all-star team. He’d been a solid player in years past, but this has no doubt been his breakout season. Holiday’s play has encouraged his teammates to rally around him and elevate their game too, and although they’re six games under .500, the Sixers are still playing like a team with a lot to prove.
I firmly believe Philadelphia is one star away from perennial playoff contention. If that star happens to be a superstar, then the Sixers could be challenging Miami and New York at the top of the East in the near future.
Bynum is still a wildcard at this point. Assuming he remains a Sixer once he begins his search for a new contract, he could be the fix. The Sixers have essentially built their entire team around his potential presence. They’re solid at the point with Holiday at the helm, their wing play is efficient with do-it-all small forward Evan Turner and streaky shooter Nick Young, along with Jason Richardson (injured) and sharpshooter Dorell Wright, and Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young will assist Bynum with securing the paint with their ability to stretch the defense with their shooting.
One more skilled post player (perhaps from the draft) will solidify the Sixers and provide them the tools they need to compete at the highest level in the Eastern Conference against juggernauts like the Miami Heat and New York Knicks, and budding teams also on the edge of reaching the next level like Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and Indiana.
The 76ers play with a blue collar edge that few other teams play have. They’re not a team that has the pure athleticism of a Thunder or Heat. but they make up for that with their desire, hustle, and camaraderie.
This is a team that will box out on every miss, dive for every loose ball, and compile their fouls thanks to their aggressiveness. That is a style that can take a team very far, much like they overachieved last season.
Hopefully Bynum can successfully return to the rotation, choose to remain a Sixer, and adopt the Sixer mentality. This style can suit Bynum, maybe even more so than the Hollywood aura that came with being a Los Angeles Laker, and push him
If all the stars align for the Philadelphia 76ers, you could surely expect them to compete for an NBA Championship sooner rather than later.
Don’t be surprised if they give the Miami Heat a run for their money in years to come.