Oh the season. Oh the season! Election or NBA, both are upon us. We're getting into the spirit by bringing you our season previews (with a little help from the presidents). One per day for the next 30 days—which will bring us to the Day of Reckoning. So please join us on the campaign trail as we shake hands, kiss babies and sink jumpers.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson has a rather interesting place in presidential history. From what I can tell, people tend to think of him as a great American more than a great president. He peaked early, way before becoming President in 1801, as the main author of that classic 1776 title, the Declaration of Independence. Before his election, he was also a member of the Continental Congress, a diplomat in Paris, the first Secretary of the State of the U.S. and a Vice President. His resume was stacked when he came into office, but it seems he wasn't quite happy to be known as merely a great American. He wanted to be the top dog.
The Philadelphia 76ers are a team with a long, great history. Three
championships. Erving, Barkley, Iverson, Malone, Chamberlain, Stackhouse (only
kind of kidding). At this point, they could pretty much rest on their laurels
if they wanted to. Turns out, though, that basketball franchises, like
politicians, are always hungry for more glory. So after a decade of being
decent but failing to live up to the glow of their legacy, the Sixers got a
little crazy over the offseason in an attempt to make like Jefferson and reach
even higher levels than they ever have before. They did so by trading away longtime centerpiece and jack-of-all-trades Andre Iguodala in a four-team deal that brought Andrew Bynum in from his discontented perch in Los Angeles.
It was the kind of move that is made by a team that needs to shake things up not because they're in the cellar but because they're trying to hang out in the attic. Bynum is a player who can turn a team into a championship contender; he's one of the game's dominant post players and he's young enough that he may even get better. But he is also a player who can cause a lot of heartache. His health is a serious concern, having already needed knee surgery in the past and now battling a bone bruise in the same area that has him out indefinitely to start his campaign in Philly.
Temporarily playing without Bynum will be a good test for the rest of the team. Can Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner become one of the league's top young backcourt duos? Holiday will do his part, but Turner needs to be more aggressive this year. Will Nick Young and Dorell Wright take smart shots? No, but if they make them, that's okay. Will Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young be able to provide adequate support for Bynum down low? They should be able to, but holding it down when he's out will be another story.
Everything will have to go very much right for the Sixers to reap the kind of rewards they're hoping for from their offseason shuffling. If it does, it could be the start of a very successful period at the top, an icing on history's cake as sweet as presidency must have been for Jefferson—a legacy move, so to speak. If it doesn't, it could damage the reputation they've built up over the decades as much as knowledge of Jefferson's slave ownership has called his merits into question over time.
Rushed Pull-Up Jumpers
Pokemon who the team should adopt as its new mascot: Chansey
Headline we'll be most sick of reading: "Bynum Walks Out on Crutches"
Headline we're most looking forward to: "NBA Forces Bynum to Cut Afro After Complaints of Distraction"
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you enter the pearly gates?: "Nick, why didn't you tell me you were gonna wear that shirt, too? This is awkward."