It’s fair to say that basketball hasn’t been at the forefront of anyone’s mind this week…
But if the strength and support shown by NBA players and fans around the world is testament to anything, it’s the fact that sport can bring people together at times of tremendous sorrow like little else.
So, in the spirit of togetherness, whether you’re British, American, French, Saudi or Syrian – let’s ball. Here’s a quick roundup of this week’s biggest winners and losers:
What a difference a week makes.
It’s no secret that life didn’t start out well that well for George Karl in California’s capital. But after last season’s teething problems were sorted out (you know, trying to trade your best player, that kind of thing) and a few new pieces were added, optimism was running high for the Kings going into 2015-6.
They lost seven of their first eight.
But the former NBA Coach of the Year has turned it around in Sacto, thanks in no small part to his leading man, Demarcus Cousins. The Kings have now won three in a row over the last week, and their big man averaged a healthy double-double (32 points, 11 rebounds). He’s even learned to shoot the three, managing almost 50% from downtown.
Add to that the presence of a rejuvenated Rajon Rondo (oh hey there Mark Cuban), not to mention Rudy Gay rounding off the trio, and things are looking pretty healthy in Sacramento.
No snake emoji’s required…
Honourable mentions: Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Nicolas Batum.
People 76ers fans wish they had right now: Allen Iverson. Andre Iguodala. Julius Irving. Young Charles Barkley. Old Charles Barkley. Zombie Wilt Chamberlain. These Zebras, apparently.
People the 76ers actually have: Someone called Christian Wood.
In fact, six of the twelve players to suit up for the Sixers so far went undrafted. Something which, when looking at their 0-10 record, perhaps isn’t that surprising.
There’s no denying that the team has potential. 3rd overall pick Jahlil Okafor has already shown signs of becoming a serious offensive force in the future. And Nerlens Noel looks like he might make a fine NBA player someday. But that’s just it. Someday.
Putting aside valiant efforts from rotation-man Nik Stauskas, Isaiah Canaan, and a perennially-crocked Joel Embiid, the rest of the talent is untested at best. Non-NBA worthy at worst. And the worst part is, that’s exactly what Philly want.
They’re not the first team to tank, and they won’t be the last, but the talents of Okafor and Noel deserve so much more. And it seems that everyone but the winless 76ers owners know it.
So, if you’re reading Sam Hinkie: please make this the last season of tanking and finally put the fans out of their misery.
Honourable mentions: The people of Philadelphia. We mean seriously – the 76ers, the Eagles, and the Flyers? At least there’s always baseball. Oh, wait…