Since Jrue Holiday left Philadelphia, the Sixers have lost 47 of 59 games at Wells Fargo Center. For those who dislike math, that translates to nearly a 20% winning percentage. Losing cultures are normally not something franchises strive for, but for Hinkie and the rest of the organization, that is their calling card.
Worse, chances are that will not be changing anytime soon. According to PER, their three best players are Henry Sims, Robert Covington and Tony Wroten. Only one of them had the privilege of being selected in an NBA draft. Both Michael Carter Williams and Nerlens Noel are currently considered well below average NBA players. In fact, the reigning Rookie of the Year has found himself once again on the trade block. It seems as though Philly isn't finished playing with explosives.
A Word about the Philadelphia Project
Ahh, the allure of a high stakes raffle -- amassing the most lottery picks in hopes of improving one's odds in winning something big and shiny down the road. But at what cost? The best case scenario is that a once proud franchise has to only drag itself through the mud for at least half a decade before it sniffs any legitimate success. Even if Nerlens Noel manages to turn around a very uninspiring start to his career or MCW discovers how to shoot a basketball or Joel Embiid eventually turns into the next Hakeem Olajuwon, all of it is going to take a lot of development time. I'm talking years. Then you compound it with all the risks associated with a losing subculture. All of this isn't even taking into consideration the luck factor such as avoiding significant future injuries.
There have been scores of articles written that have ridiculed Hinkie's plan so we don't need to continue. However, it pains me the number of so called analysts who remain on board with the NBA's eyesore. It is no doubt an interesting experiment, but how many would want that long-term hocus pocus in their own backyards? To have a team year after year happily spend time in the cellar? I know I would certainly not be willing to commit a tidy sum of money towards season tickets. The few don't realize the mass majority are merely interested in the form of some good entertainment. The more you lose, the less likely you'll be able to draw the fans back in when the buzzer sounds. Just ask the Wizards.
3 Keys to Victory
Execute the gameplan. The Sixers best chance for the win is if they can entice their opponent to join them in chaos. Since they are the worst shooting team in the league, they rely on forcing a lot of turnovers, and subsequently, scoring on a lot of easy looks. For instance, Tyreke Evans will need to ensure he isn't drawn into this type of mindset and instead look to get his teammates involved like he did in much of our last game in Detroit.
Smash the glass. The Sixers are a poor rebounding team. If the Pelicans can out-rebound the Pistons by 17 boards, one would hope they can win the battle of the glass going away against the 2nd worst rebound rate in the league.
Close down the lane. Philly is the only team in the league shooting under 30% from three point territory. Outside of Covington, there isn't a shooter on their squad the Pels need to watch carefully. Force Philly to shoot jumpers all night, preferable long two's.
Yesterday, the Pelicans announced that both Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis were questionable for the game Friday.
For tomorrow's game at PHI - Jrue Holiday (right ankle inflammation) and Anthony Davis (left toe sprain) are QUESTIONABLE.— Pelicans PR (@PelicansPR) January 15, 2015
Even though it'd be fun to see Jrue play in his former hometown or Davis go up against Noel, I hope Monty holds them back if they are still exhibiting any lingering issues. The Pelicans should be able to win the game even if both of their best players need to stay on the sidelines.