The Sixers Don’t Have a “Hot Girl,” They Have Doug Collins

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Welcome to CB new contributor Joe Gallagher, who penned what you are about to read. He thinks he’s Bill Simmons, but that’s OK because Joe makes salient points. In this case, those points have to do with your Philadelphia 76ers. Programming note: Pat Croce will be on Broad Street Radio today at 3 p.m. Look for that link shortly. 

Take it away, Joe.


My buddy Christian is the best at scalping tickets of anyone I know. I mean the guy has pit two rivaling scalpers against each other in order to drive the price down to below face value. He’ll start a stare down, wait until a minute before the first pitch of a big Phillies game, tap his foot, cross his arms, and watch as the scalper wilts before him. He’s like a young Jason Kidd. He knows exactly when to put the heat on, when to cool off, and when to make a deal, or, in Kidd’s case, a pass. (Save for the one time he bought in bulk and a bunch of the tickets were counterfeit. Lesson learned: never pay a large sum of money to a guy named ‘The Wiz’)

Christian is also a huge fan of Philadelphia sports, and generally excels in “talking shop”; so I put a lot of stock into what he said as we were leaving the Wells Fargo Center after the Sixers thrashing of the Sacramento Kings. 

He said: “Dude, I just saw them play. They were great. I saw that. I saw Elton Brand dominate the middle, even after Spencer Hawes went down. I saw Evan Turner weave to the basket. I saw Iguodala play lock down defense. I saw Thad Young throw down monster jams. I saw Jodie Meeks hit back-breaking threes. I saw Lou Williams create. I saw Jrue Holiday effortlessly make plays. I saw them be great. But you know, I don’t believe that they’re great. I can’t. How can they be? They shouldn’t be – they’re the Sixers!”

And maybe that’s what most of us Philly fans are thinking right now.

So what if John Hollinger’s geeky math calculated that the Sixers were the best team in the NBA through nine games? It doesn’t matter. They can’t be that good! They are the Sixers! They paid Elton Brand 80 million dollars…one year after he played eight games. Eight games! Who’s even on the team anymore anyway? Is Kevin Ollie still there?

Look, whether you want to admit it or not, the masses aren’t buying into the Sixers because they don’t have a single star. Well news flash, people: you don’t need a bona fide star to win championships. (The 2004 Pistons collectively nod their heads.)

The Sixers are good. They are going to win games. Championships? We’ll see.

So why then was the Wells Fargo Center not even half full when the Sixers met the Kings?

It could be what I call ‘the hot chick theory.’ Did you ever go to see a movie only because a hot chick starred in it? I know I have. I remember seeing I Love You Beth Cooper not because I thought it would be funny, but for the possibility that Hayden Panettiere would show some skin. It wasn’t; she didn’t. But I remember people going wild at Megan Fox’s Jennifer’s Body ONLY because Fox sauntered around real seductively. Look, I think she lit her tongue on fire. This is like the NBA equivalent of John Wall and the Washington Wizards– sexy but terrible.

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Sexy. Terrible.

Remember the ‘04 Sixers? 

Let me refresh your memory: they went 33-49 with Allen Iverson leading the squad. Still, there was a buzz about the team and they finished 4th in the league in attendance. Why? Because Allen Iverson was that hot chick. He made you want to watch because there was that chance that you might see something that you’d never seen before and you’d never see again… like someone lighting their tongue on fire.

Maybe that analogy didn’t work and I just came off sounding kind of like Ilya Bryzgalov…only without the hint of bestiality.

Regardless, these Sixers do not have that draw. They do not have that one guy who puts the asses in the seats.They just don’t.

Maybe that’s a shame. But I don’t think so.

I think that they have twelve guys who should – and will – put asses in the seats. Eventually.

Why do I believe that that’s the case?

Trivia time:

What’s the one thing, above all, that we want from our Philadelphia sports teams?

I’ll give you some time…

(Jeopardy music is cued)



If you said “swagger,” you’d be wrong and you should take the first flight to Miami, where Jose Reyes and Kris Versteeg’s mouthguard will be waiting for you with open arms. From there I encourage you to raft across to Cuba and never return.

The answer is winning. Duh, winning! [editor’s note: he’ll learn that Charlie Sheen jokes were old six months ago] Here in Philly, like every other city, we love winners. And. That's. What. The. Sixers. Are. Doing. Winning. [editor's note: ugh]

Why? What happened between last year’s mediocrity and now? 

Nothing, really. And that's a good thing. The Sixers returned almost their entire team. Basketball is not a one-man game. At it’s best, basketball is a perfectly fluid and cohesive sport. Players on the best teams almost always realize this and say: “Screw this. My stats don’t matter. I’m going to bust my ass until the clock hits zero. I’m going to have my teammates’ back on defense. I’m going to make the right pass. I’m going to play for the guy to the right and the guy to the left. Nothing else but finishing the game but one point ahead of the opponent matters. I could score 100, or I could score zero. Doesn’t matter. I want to win.”

And, after watching the Sixers every night (and twice in-person now), I am convinced that they are grasping this.

After all, it’s much harder to stop 12 guys who can play than one, two, or even three… especially in a shortened season, where teams that rely on one or two players can be SOL if someone gets injured or is gassed from four games in five nights.

On any given night, Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday, Andre Igoudala, Evan Turner, Thad Young – anyone really – can take over the game. Against the Kings, it was Elton Brand. This team takes what it is given to them and capitalizes on it. They play exceptional defense, they rebound, and they win games thanks to effort and grit. Need a franchise player? How about head coach Doug Collins? The Sixers are built in his image and likeness.

Though I do have one qualm with Collins– He really needs to take Andre Igoudala aside and say, “Look Andre, I know that we’re paying you like a big name superstar. But you’re not. You’re a fill-in-the-blanks kind of guy. You’re a great defender. You score when you need to. You make good passes. But for heaven’s sake, stop thinking that it’s your ball to shoot at the end of the game. Lou Williams or Jrue or even Evan Turner are much, much better at creating their own shots than you are. Once you admit that, you’re not going to be costing us close games anymore. I love you, but let’s do what’s right for the team. You can help us go very far. It’s just that when the clock gets under two minutes it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly MJ. You’re starting to look like Craig Ehlo [1] out there. Stop.” 

Philadelphia is supposed to be a city that appreciates great basketball. Now, I know Philly loves its college basketball. And hey, so do I. Selection Sunday ranks right up there with Superbowl Sunday, Game 7 of a playoff series, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, and Leif Erikson Day[2] among my favorite days of the year.

But above all, I think Philly loves good basketball. And that’s what the Sixers are playing right now – good basketball. Plus, Adam Aron is trying really hard…

So, come on, trek down to the WFC, shell out a couple bucks (10 dollar tickets? Yup!), cheer Spencer Hawes[2], and enjoy good basketball, dammit.

If you don’t, I know Christian will. And he’ll do it for half the price.

[1] For those of you wondering who the hell Craig Ehlo is, he was a mediocre guard/forward for the Cavs best known for covering Jordan on “The Shot.”

[2] Hands down coolest moment of the home opener: Hawes is on the bench. The Pistons get an offensive rebound and the whole WFC starts chanting “We want Hawes.” Soon after, he comes back in, scores a couple of buckets in row, and has the whole place chanting “Let’s go Spen-cer.” He immediately stops, collects himself behind the arc, hoists up a three ball annnnnnnd….clangs it. The whole place held its breath and would have absolutely erupted Joe Blanton-hits-a-homer-in-the-World-Series style had Hawes made the shot. It obviously wasn’t as big of a moment, but it still had that feel to it.


14 Responses

  1. That’s a solid e-mail and i agree with many of his points. The problem is I don’t believe in the Sixers because 1. they haven’t really beaten any solid teams yet and 2. i personally think they are playing way above their heads.
    As much as basketball is supposed to be a team sport, that style of basketball translates better to NCAA then the NBA. In the NBA you need a killer, a person that can take the game over at any time. You need a player that can be counted on night in and night out. The problem with the Sixers is that don’t have THAT guy. Sure they have some nice players, but they don’t have a player than can constantly make tough shots. There is NO ONE on the current roster that has any star power. Half the fan base hates Iggy for reasons that were listed above.
    Also, let’s not bring up the 2004 Pistons, because anyone that thinks they didn’t have any stars is clueless. Billups was a top 5 point guard in his prime, Rip had the best mid range jumper in the league, Prince was a lock down defender and Big Ben was a rebounding, shot blocking machine. But people forget Sheed was an absolute star when he was traded to the Pistons. He was what put them over the top and got them to 4 straight conference finals, 2 finals and a Championship.
    Sheed made that entire team better because he was able to stretch the floor and bring his player out of the post. That opened up room for Big Ben to grab rebounds, Chauncey to drive and kick, Prince to get open looks and lanes to the basket, and Rip to run zig zags all over the place. He also hit big shots and at times took games over for the Pistons.
    The 2004 Pistons were LOADED with stars, they just played like a team so people automatically assume they didn’t have any.
    Sorry guys, I just can’t buy into this team until they prove they can compete and win against the NBA elite. I root for them, and love the style of basketball they play, but they need to make some major adjustments to their roster if they ever want to get to the top of the NBA Mountain again.
    The Sixers are like the Broncos, trying to use a college game plan in the big leagues. They can have short term success but over the long haul it will only take them so far.

  2. Adam B,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read it and hash out your opinion. You are right that the Pistons are not the perfect example. But saying that they were loaded with stars isn’t exactly true either. They had a lot of really really gifted role players. Guys that had star qualities in a facet or two of their game but all in all failed to qualify as a bona fide star. For instance, Billups was a very steady, heads up, great shooter of a point guard. But really, how much different is that from what Jrue Holiday can provide. (Especially as Jrue develops and performs on a more consistent basis.) Lou Williams can outscore anyone on that Pistons team. Iggy is just as good of a perimeter defender as Prince. Hawes is different than Wallace who was probably the most intimidating/dominating interior presence of his time. But, Hawes beats the virtually non-existent offensive repertoire that Wallace had and Hawes has improved enough on defense that he has really been a nice anchor thus far. They might not have Rasheed but remember this: the Sixers bench is fabulous. They can rest their “starters” and continue to compete or even go on a run. No other team in basketball right now really has that luxury. (The Pistons didn’t either. Their bench was solid but no where near spectacular.) I’m not saying they’re the best in the league but remember: they beat their share of good teams last year. Until the Mavs, they handled the Heat the best of anyone really, as they easily could have won a few more games in church time (and they’ll get better at that as they mature). Watching them play the Heat, aside from one game, it never felt like they were overmatched. Last year they had trouble beating the bad teams and that’s what had people frustrated. This year that hasn’t been a problem. They’re gonna compete. I’m not sure how far they’ll go. But I think they can beat good teams because they are a good team. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’re right. We’ll have to see. Thanks for reading and go Sixers!

  3. to be fair to joe– it wasn’t an email, per say. i asked him to write something for us because i read some other stuff he wrote, which i thought was very good… just so you all don’t think he has the time to sit there and write 1,500 word emails on a whim.

  4. One of the problems with Sixers attendence is that parking is more expensive than the tickets. Who wants to pay $20 to park when you’re paying $10 for tix? I do agree with your Charlie Sheen analysis though-keep winning and the building will start to fill.

  5. JohnBoy, I was down at the game on Tuesday and Jetro was only 5. Between, my ticket which was 10, parking which was 5 (and if you drive with people you can split it), and Geno’s afterwards (10) I spent 25 bucks. Not bad.

  6. “Lou Williams can outscore anyone on that Pistons team”
    LOL – did I really read that ???

  7. The best comparison to draw between that Pistons team and this Sixers team is that Doug Collins is kind of like Larry Brown. Kind of. Doesn’t have the hardware yet though. Other than that, I have to disagree with every point. No one on this Sixers team is better- or even as good- as that Pistons team.
    The team to compare this Sixers team to is the Hawks of the last 5 years. The Hawks’ last 5 years is the Sixers’ next 5 years, if they don’t get a superstar. They’ll be better than most teams, they’ll get a 4-6 seed, they might win one playoff round… and then they’ll get beat by a legitimate championship contending team.
    That’s why I’m not buying into this team completely. You can NOT win in the NBA without a superstar. You are right, the ’04 Pistons were the closest thing to not having a superstar, but the Wallaces, Chauncey, Rip and Prince (in those prime years) would kick the SHIT out of this Sixers team. And that’s the ONLY team to win without a “bonafide” superstar in the last, what, 20 years?
    It doesn’t happen in the NBA. You need a superstar to win.
    Not saying this Sixers team isn’t going to be fun to watch, fun to root for. Not saying I won’t go to a game (something I haven’t done in YEARS), because I like the change in attitude the new ownership brought it.
    But please don’t fool yourself into thinking this team can win a championship. It’s just not going to happen.

  8. Beez Nutz, yes. I know it sounds absurd. But seriously who on that Pistons team would go off? Lou Williams averages 15 points in 24 minutes. AND he’s only 25. It’s safe to say he is a scorer and it’s safe to say he still hasn’t entered his prime. There was not a single guy on that Pistons team who played like that. I’m not saying that’s a negative for them but they didn’t exactly have a consistent crunch time scorer. They all chipped in. I’ll stand by that Lou Williams can outscore anyone on that team. The highest per 36 minutes scorer on those Pistons was Rip Hamilton with 17.9 and Lou Will has averaged over 21 per 36 minutes in back to back years. I don’t really know what you want me to say. I think that proves it. The Pistons finished 24th in the league that year in PPG. They weren’t exactly lighting it up.
    J.T., dude I’m not saying they are definitely good enough to win a championship. We’ve only seen them play 10 games. But remember, before you go saying that the 04 Pistons are definitely better than the Sixers because they’d beat the crap out of them when they were in the prime, you have to even the playing field. Here’s what I’m saying: THE SIXERS AREN’T IN THEIR PRIME YET! Lou Williams isn’t, Turner isn’t, Thad Young probably isn’t, Vucevic has incredible footwork for a big man who’s knows where he can go, Hawes isn’t (he’s like 23), Meeks isn’t. Really of the guys that see floor time only Iggy is with Brand being past it. Still, Iggy is in the midst of his prime and he’ll still be very good as the younger guys hit it. They’re getting better with experience and Collins’s guide. I’m really not sure you can say how good these guys will become. Keep watching them, they’ll surprise you. From what I’ve seen, the media doesn’t portray these guys as having the talents I see first hand when I watch them.
    As for the notion that you cannot win without a superstar in the NBA, let me ask you this: name a team that you know for a fact had embraced what the Sixers are embracing and tried to do it for a whole season. If you can, I’ll give you props. I’m just not sure teams have tried it for a whole season, and actually bought into it for a whole season. Also remember this: the NBA is just leaving an era where a lot of the games were fixed in order to get the sexiest matchup. Donaghy was the one that was discovered but it was going on all over the place. (The Sixers ’01 Eastern Conference Finals is heavily believed to have been fixed to get Allen Iverson to the Finals. Hate to say it, but when you watch the games again, and most can be found on YouTube, it does kind of seem that way. The foul shot discrepancies, the technical fouls — everything tilted the Sixers way.) I’m just not sure you can say it can’t work because I’m not sure it’s been tried the way the Sixers are doing it. And if it has been tried, I’m not sure it’s been very often. Maybe it has. Anyway, the point of the article is that they can win games without a star. I never said championships were a definite. But they can win games and play in big ones. Beyond that, I don’t know, but I do know that you don’t know. If that makes sense.
    Thanks for reading guys. I love the responses. Go Sixers!

  9. I was thinking about the previous comment I made and it seemed really rash. I want to clarify: I phrased that part about the NBA officiating wrong. The ’01 Eastern Conference Finals had several instances of questionable officiating. There were numerous other instances of questionable officiating in that same era in several series. I’ve noticed that less and less since the Donaghy incident. Whether I think that or not, doesn’t really matter. At no point has it be proven that the NBA was fixing games. (only one referee – Tim Donaghy – was proven to have fixed games)
    And I did not mean to take anything away from that Sixers team of course. The 2001 Sixers were one of the hardest working, fun teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. I’m not even saying they wouldn’t have won the series. In fact if they weren’t so nicked up injury wise, I think they could have really made that Lakers NBA finals series interesting. And I think that Lakers team was one of the best of all time (they only lost ONCE all playoffs!). Really I shouldn’t have added that point about the officiating in. I just wanted to say that you don’t need stars and I got carried away with it. It was incongruous to the point. Either way, the 2001 Bucks had Ray Allen, who was also a star. We’ll see how this Sixers team pans out, but I do find it encouraging that often they could beat the good teams last year and not the bad teams. Well now, they’re destroying the bad teams. I take that to be a good sign.

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