Save Basketball in Philadelphia

Ed Stefanski

Does anyone remember that Philadelphia is a basketball town?

It feels like it was only the other day that former Sixers General Manager, Pat Croce, was screaming, “I feel great,” from the seats and cheering Philly on to a run at the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001.

Since Croce, we’ve brought in Billy King and Ed Stefanski. The atmosphere surrounding 76ers basketball just isn’t the same. Is there a solution to this?

It is just about worldwide knowledge by now that the 76ers don’t have a threatening, go-to guy. It may be easy to blame Billy King for pulling the trigger on dealing Allen Iverson, but that was almost five years ago. Give Ed Stefanski some credit for at least trying to bring in a franchise player, in Elton Brand, but he is obviously on the downslope of his career.

Although we are only two games into the first round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat, it is glaringly obvious that we don’t possess one player that can singlehandedly take over a game, yet. It’s a slap in the face that Miami has three impact players.

Many, including myself at one point, are saying, “The 2004, Detroit Pistons won the championship without a star player,” but you have to remember that they did have a much better team than the current Philadelphia 76ers. Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton were borderline stars (Chauncey still is) and they had one of the greatest defensive players in recent history, Ben Wallace. Also, having role players like Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace doesn’t hurt.

I think it’s about time that we put that topic to rest. The only thing comparable about those two scenarios is that neither team had a player score twenty-or-more points. The huge difference between the 2004 Pistons and the 2011 76ers is one thing; on any given game, someone on Detroit could breakout for 30 points or more. This was a repetitive trend. They were hard to defend, because nobody knew what to expect. Not one person could predict who the man for Detroit was going to be on that night.

With the Sixers, that is somewhat similar. Nobody knows who will be “the man” on any given night. But, in this case that’s a bad thing, because most of the time nobody shows up. The city of Philadelphia was spoiled for over a decade with the scoring expertise of Allen Iverson. Even though he put on a show just about every other night, 76ers fans still wanted to run him out of town.

Well, now how do you feel, Sixers fans. The man we wanted to desperately deal, epitomized exactly what we currently lack; a pure scorer. Now, we’ve focused our attention on exiling Andre Iguodala; mainly because of his contract. As of late, it looks like we’re paying a Bruce Bowen-like player over 80-million dollar, but, people, that isn’t Iguodala’s fault. Who would turn down a sum of money that high? Blame it on management.

The damages done to the reputation of Philadelphia basketball has nothing to do with player performances. The front office put a massive dent on the legacy of 76ers basketball, now it’s their responsibility to fix it.

Times like these make you miss Pat Croce and Allen Iverson. Those feelings of nostalgia make you hope to God that management will soon get their hands dirty, and MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.


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