The Sixers have won 75 games over the last four seasons. That’s…bad. That’s historically bad, and Sixers fans need a win. They deserve a win. And when they got a win — trading the No. 3 pick and a future first rounder to the Celtics for the right to draft Markelle Fultz is a huge win — they predictably acted like total jerks.
Peep #RTArmageddon on Twitter if you don’t believe me. Or don’t. Totally don’t.
— Mason (@masonsaysthings) June 19, 2017
Sixers fans, and media, spent the better part of Monday afternoon RTing every once-hot-now-super-cold take they could find where a sports writer or TV talking head said something bad about The Process. Every. One.
For some, this was all in good fun. For others, it honestly felt personal. Which is silly, because we’re sports fans and sports writers and we chose this so we could argue if LeBron is better than MJ and if The Process was a failure or a success before it was even over mostly because none of us were mentally or emotionally mature (read: stable) enough to cover real, actual news that people really, actually care about.
And it’s even sillier given how much time and energy Sixers fans have spent on this shitbox team over the last decade that, on the day they officially get the second No. 1 pick in a row, they’re worried about outing other people for being wrong.
Make no mistake, I’m a Process Truster (read: Truther) as much as anyone. I’ve evangelized from the Book of Hinkie for years, in print and on radio to anyone who will read or listen. This is a great day in Sixerland, what with the team officially getting the No. 1 pick for No. 3 and a well-protected first rounder in 2018 — the Lakers’ pick if it falls between 2 and 5 — or 2019 — the better of the Sacramento or Philly picks if it’s not No. 1.
Smile, Philly. This is a big day.
But have some freaking sense what you’re doing. And realize that you took this funny thing calling out people for being wrong about Sam Hinkie (I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t right about Bryan Colangelo) and, well, what if you just jinxed the Sixers?
I’m a firm believer in sports karma — only a true Sixers fan can be both analytic-minded and convinced the team is cursed — and so maybe it would have made sense to wait until the Sixers actually won something to crow about how wrong everyone is.
Maybe it would make sense to wait until last year’s first round pick Ben Simmons played a goddamn game that matters to tell everyone else they’re wrong.
Maybe let Joel Embiid finish a season healthy. Or start a season healthy. Maybe don’t ruin Fultz’s career before it even starts, because the I-told-you-so attitude may have just jinxed this dude’s freshman campaign and it’s totally your fault. All of you.
And yet, of all the hot takes about the Sixers — and there have been thousands of takes on what this team has been trying to pull off over the last half decade — the hottest take has to be this:
This isn’t just a hot take, it’s nonsense. Colangelo said at his press conference Monday he expects the team to playing in front of capacity crowds this coming season. Last year, the Sixers played to 85.3 percent capacity at home, per official records, which was the 23rd-ranked home attendance in the NBA.
In 2015-16, the Sixers had the lowest percentage of capacity and the third-worst attendance in the league. The year before, the Sixers were last in both, filling the building to just a 68.6 percent capacity, with fewer than 14,000 fans per night. The year before that, it was even worse.
So, no, don’t worry about the bandwagon fans coming back. We need them. Without them, the building won’t be full, the TV ratings won’t be as high as they were when Embiid was playing earlier last season and the sports talk radio all year will continue to be about the Eagles offensive line. And who wants that all year? Do you? No. You don’t.
Embrace the fans coming back, and know you were one of the diehards who didn’t waver when people said Dario Saric was never coming over, or that Embiid would never play, or it was stupid to trade Michael Carter-Williams, or that the Lakers’ pick would never get the team anything of value. If you’ve lasted this long with the Sixers franchise, why in the hell would you not want them to take over the city’s sports consciousness?
Why wouldn’t you want marquee free agents to see a huge fanbase in a great basketball city that’s all in for the team? Hell, even the media wants this team to succeed. Nobody wants to watch an 18-win team every night. We’ll be critical when the team makes mistakes or when players don’t perform, but by gosh everyone hopes this is the start of a championship run. Covering LeBron James is more fun than covering Hollis Thompson. There’s a hot take for your hashtag.
Why would Sixers fans not want everyone in on this together? Because you were first? Because you didn’t quit on them? Because being right about something feels so good? Because Sam Hinkie died for your sins, but nobody else’s sins? Please.
So have today, Sixers Twitter. Have this whole week. Raise all the Hinkie banners to the rafters you can. Tell every writer who was ever wrong about The Process how wrong they were. Then STFU and get over it. Lead this fanbase into a new era. Stop telling people they were wrong and show them how joining up can make them feel right.
And, for the love of god, don’t jinx another No.1 draft pick. We can all agree, basketball karma is a bitch.