Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Return of the Jedi

And so, in a just a couple of hours, the Philadelphia 76ers open the curtain on their 2007-2008 campaign of thrilling mediocrity. And once again, as it has for so many years past, the fate of the team, and with it the hopes and dreams of the 7 or 8 people that still follow the Sixers, rest squarely upon the corduroy-suited shoulders of our favorite mercurial big man, seen below giving dap to Philly icons the RAM Squad.

The Sixers will not be good.

The once Titanic division is no more so...the woeful Celtics frontline of Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson being suddenly transformed into a frightening frontcourt tandem of Kevin Garnett and, well, at least they still have Kendrick Perkins.

The Nets still have Richard Jefferson, Viet Cong and of course J-Kidd, plus another year of improvement from Marcus Williams and Nenad Krstic and the addition of future Sammy D Team Canada teammate Jamaal Magloire, who is sort of a rich man's version of Calvin Booth, which is at least not as bad as being Calvin Booth himself.

Even the Knicks, having gotten rid of Stevie Franchise in return for Zach Randolph have at least traded a backcourt cancer for a proven frontcourt cancer, always a step in the right direction in an eastern conference where the power forwards are 'Sheed and a buncha semi-serviceable fuckbergs. We can only hope Big Zach is shot in the leg by one of Remy Martin's entourage members before he settles into the swing of things.

Which brings us back to the boys in black, with newly instituted red piping down the side. Who exactly are these Sixers? What do we know about them? What can we expect?

What we know: very little.

We know Andre Miller is a quality, veteran point guard with the proven ability to run a basketball team with grace and aplomb and hit a few mid range fadeaways when called upon to do so.

We know Kyle Korver can shoot, is a mediocre though no longer horrendous defender, and can be counted upon to average 12-15 ppg in 25 - 30 mpg off the bench.

We know Kevin Ollie is not very good, is paid too much money, and will not see the light of day on this young team until come December when his expiring deal becomes trade fodder.

Aside from that, everyone on this team is an enigma.

Andre "Don't Call Me Iggy" Iguodala: a burgeoning superstar in need of only a nickname to etch his name on the pantheon of east all stars for the next 10 years? Or a perennial Pippen, forever scouring the basketball middle earth in search of his Jordan.

Rodney Carney: A rich man's Hot Rod Hundley? Or a poor man's Rodney Buford?

LWIII: Is he ready to be like Leandro Barbosa, a quicksilvery combo guard that's unstoppable once he decides its time to score bushels and bushels of points? Or will he turn out more like Felix Barbosa from Deep Cover, and get stabbed in the throat by Charles Martin Smith.

And what of Jason Smith, Young Thad, Louis Amundsun-Scott, and of course, the enigma that renders all other enigmas unenigmatic, the one and only Dalembert.

What can we expect?

Socrates (or was it R. Kelly?) once famously said that the only true knowledge lies in knowing that you know nothing. Unless the unthinkable happens, this Sixers team will not win 40 games (though shit, 36 wins could be playoff worthy in the east this year). But the true joy will be in watching all these enigmas/basketball players try to establish themselves as a part of the Sixers future (a positive part, not like a Kevin Ollie part). It's like taking all the shit you have left in your fridge and throwing it into a gigantic crockpot with some hot sauce and maybe like a little bit of seasoning and seeing what flavors stand out. And seeing whether the mixture tastes like Filet Mignon or if it tastes like dog food.

The Sixers gave us a tantalizing taste of the good stuff at the end of last year. Lets hope it wasn't all just bacon bits.