With another new Sixers season comes all of the “when is this team going to stop tanking/land the plane/stop sucking” talk, and with it all of the “Sam Hinkie is a fraud” takes. Hinkie’s “process” isn’t without controversy, but he’s hardly the first person to think this way. Sure, there were teams in the past who tanked the way the Sixers are, but the closest comparison, really, is not a team. Rather, it’s LOST, both in the way its fans reacted to the show, and how some character arcs played out. So please, follow me through the looking glass into my true insanity as I explain how the Sixers are just like LOST. [Credit to Shamus Clancy’s tweet for finally pushing my brain into full Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory mode]
WARNING: The nonsense below features spoilers for a show that has been off the air for over five years.
LOST: Before the show even premieres, the guy who green-lit it gets fired from ABC because the network was sure it was an expensive flop.
Sixers: Before Sam Hinkie gets the Sixers’ GM job, the guys who green-lit the Andrew Bynum trade got fired from the Sixers because he was an expensive flop.
LOST: Finding themselves on a desert island with a cast of misfits from all walks of life, the creators of the show introduce some crazy outside elements – a smoke monster and polar bear to be exact – and kill off a few characters until they are left with a handful of characters fans like, or in the case of some, tolerate. Towards the end of the season, the dreaded “Others” come for our survivors, leaving them in disarray.
Sixers: Finding himself with a team made up of misfits from all walks of life, Sam Hinkie introduces some crazy elements – analytics and “the process” – and trades away a bunch of players until he is left with a handful of players fans like, or in the case of some, tolerate. At the end of the season, the dreaded Timberwolves and Bucks come for the first two draft picks, leaving Hinkie to draft an injured Joel Embiid.
LOST: At the start of season two, with the cast scattered and slimmed-down, members of Oceanic Flight 815’s tail section – who have survived as well – join the rest of our cast in their camp. In their assimilation, there are some casualties as a few tail-section members become mainstays. Mr. Eko, one of the newcomers emerges a fan favorite who quickly became the heart of the show. We are introduced to Desmond, a Euorpean fan-favorite who then vanishes only to come back later. At the end of the season, an explosion leaves us not knowing who lived, who died, and what will come next.
Sixers: At the start of season two, undrafted free agents and second round draft picks join our scattered and slimmed down roster, as we see the departure of some people who we thought could be a part of the team moving forward (Michael Carter-Williams, and to a much lesser extent Chris Johnson, Arnett Moultrie, Ronald Roberts, etc.). Joel Embiid, a newcomer, emerges as a fan favorite who quickly became the heart of the team on social media. We’re introduced on draft night to Dario Saric, a European fan-favorite who then vanishes, hopefully to return later. At the end of the season, an implosion is not quite enough to secure the number one pick, leaving us not knowing what will come next.
LOST: Nikki and Paulo are given ten-day contracts. Mr. Eko dies. There is more strife between the plane survivors and the others as they try to co-exist on the island or the whole situation becomes unstable. We learn Desmond can see the future and also once time-traveled, bringing some really extreme science fiction aspects into the show. Fans react in two different ways:
- Casual fans
- IT’S GOING TO BE SCI-FI? I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS! MAKE A MORE FORMULAIC SHOW!
- Hardcore fans
- WE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE SCI-FI FROM THE BEGINNING! WE ALL SAW IT COMING FROM THE SMOKE MONSTER AND THE DAMN POLAR BEAR. STAY WITH IT, WE’LL BE REWARDED!
The season ends with a sleight-of-hand flash forward where Jack, our protagonist, pleads with Kate, saying “WE HAVE TO GO BACK!”
Sixers: This upcoming season. Numerous players will likely land ten-day contracts. There will be some strife between Noel and Okafor playing together on the floor, as they try to co-exist or the whole situation becomes unstable. Joel Embiid is set to miss the whole season again. Dario Saric stays in Europe for the season. Fans react in two different ways:
- Casual fans
- IT’S GOING TO BE ANOTHER YEAR? I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS! MAKE A MORE FORMULAIC TEAM! LAND THE PLANE!
- Hardcore fans
- WE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE TWO YEARS FROM THE BEGINNING! WE ALL SAW IT COMING FROM CONTRACT THAT WAS REPORTED. STAY WITH IT, WE’LL BE REWARDED!
The season begins with an obvious push where Howard Eskin, our antagonist, pleads with anyone who will listen for the Sixers to stop this.
LOST: LOST goes off the rails. There’s a whole lot of time travel, magic frozen donkey wheels, a pendulum thing run by a Scottish lady who is secretly the mother of another character who is secretly the son of another character. We learn more about Jacob, the island’s mysterious overseer, who has been bringing people to the island in hopes that they will be able to succeed him. The names of those who haven’t made it are crossed off in some kind of weird lighthouse we never heard about until now. A few people survive, most do not.
Sixers: Sam Hinkie, as the Jacob he is, continues to bring potential superstars to the
island team, and discard the ones who aren’t going to work out.
A few players will survive, most will not.