WE GOT MARKELLE FULTZ

(Note: I worked on this really really early before the Fultz trade. I worked hard to write my opinion on the initial #3 pick we had. So enjoy it and all its grammatical errors.)

ORIGINALLY TITLED: “To BPA or Not BPA”

…that is the question

One of Sam Hinkie’s final gifts to our franchise was a trade with the Kings that landed us the highly coveted prospect Nik Stauskas and future Sixers’ legend Carl Landry. Landry would become a shining star on one of the worst teams in NBA history, while Stuaskas every now and then dunked on people.

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America

Also, packaged in that deal was a 2019 first round pick and the rights to pick swap with the Kings in the future.

Sooo last month, for the draft lottery, I headed over to my friends apartment, who happens to be a Kings fan. As the picks were revealed, the #8 spot was shown to be…not the Kings….we lost our minds. Little did I know how much of a headache this would cause. What was once a decision to pick a shooter at 5, now became a decision to BPA, or not BPA …

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images North America

BPA is a word that most Sixers fans should recognize from the Process era. It’s forever tied to probably one of the worst decisions in franchise history. Yeah, Jah…

For those that don’t, BPA is simply “Best Player Available.” It’s when you draft…the best player available. Typically, lottery teams lean towards BPA, while playoff contenders lean towards “need.”

If you read my season recap, I told you to not worry about the Sixers. Why? Because we’ve got the main pieces to compete. For once, this draft isn’t really a big deal kinda…basically, it won’t make or break this team like the previous drafts (cmon guys, we got Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid). But we need guards…we need shooters. Despite being a lottery squad, we have a “need.”

With us at 3, that takes Lonzo and Markelle off the board…and leaves us staring at Josh Jackson…the BPA. And my god…of course, he just has to be one of the most intriguing, complex, fascinating players in this draft. I’ll get to that later.

See, at pick 5, Monk woulda been ours easily. No questions. Maybe even DSJ. But here we are, blessed with pick #3….AGAIN.

This is one of the disadvantages of being on top of the draft. Yes, you have the most choices out of every team, but now you’re more pressured to take BPA and lean towards “safe picks.” You’re not likely to draft an unknown like Giannis Antetokounmpo up top or take a shot at Devin Booker (or a Kristaps 😦 ). You don’t want to take risks up top, especially GMs on a rebuilding team. One bad pick and you’re gone. You’re more scrutinized up top because people will say, “Why did you pass on _____?” Can’t be worse than the guy that passed on Stephen Curry twice.

So gems can fall out of the top 5, while you’re stuck with an Okafor situation. In this draft, some gems are forced out of the top 5 like a Dennis Smith Jr. or a Jonathan Isaac or Harry Giles, ready to get picked up by some lucky team that just happens to be there.

There’s also other scenarios that may pop up on draft day. Lakers might pass on Lonzo (very slim chance). Kings could package their picks to move up if Fox or Smith decide to go all out on their workouts (again, very slim chance).

But for now, let me answer the question…to BPA or not BPA?

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

Josh Jackson was the #1 prospect coming out of high school (I’m sure Lonzo and Markelle were right up there with him) and his talent translated to the tougher college game where he played at Kansas University. Jackson is a player with exceptional athleticism and multiple skills. He can pass, he can drive, he can post up, he can guard every position (what they’ve told me), he can block shots, and he kills it in transition! …..but he can’t shoot. He’s really raw as a player and shows so much potential…….but he cannot shoot for shit. His potential to add to create a defensive core of Covington-Embiid-Jackson sounds devastating for opposing teams…..but he can’t shoot.

It’s not that you can’t be a great team with non-shooters and that you cannot be successful as a wing without a jumpshot. It’s just that it makes things harder for our two leaders, Jojo and Ben…at least offensively. Ben Simmons needs to take advantage of mismatches and Jojo needs to use his size/mobility to move around bigs, as soon as they get doubled, it’s a wrap….and if they pass it to a non-shooter…that’s 0 points.

I’m a guy that believes in defense wayyy more than offense… but the offense gotta be kinda decent.

For our offense, we’re a passing team, we move the ball and move. Ersan got so many points simply because he can shoot. We just need guys that can shoot and break defenses. JJ can break defenses apart with his off-ball movement, but without a consistent jumpshot, it’s trouble. It’ll kinda be like Jerami Grant, except JJ is way more skilled offensively and can at least pound it inside for a bucket. I’m confident that JJ will find his own niche on offense during his NBA career.

For defense, while it’s nice to have a solid defender in our backcourt, especially with all the talented backcourts in the NBA, you can get away with poor defense up top as long as you have solid defenders on the wings and inside. We did pretty ok with TJ and Nik, as long as RoCo and Embiid were still anchoring the defense. But if JJ can confidently guard NBA 2’s, which I think he can, our defense may reach elite level.

The craziest thing with JJ is that he’s soooo raw. I don’t wanna miss the chance at developing JJ because we’re amazing at player development (see my season recap post). I’m confident that our team is the best team to develop JJ.

Imagine passing on him. And for a shooter?? I feel that there’s a shooter in every draft. So why get Monk?

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

It doesn’t help that Malik Monk is also a very intriguing prospect. He’s not even close to BPA, and definitely not the best guard in the draft, BUT by placing him on the Sixers, he may end up producing more than others.

He’s not just a shooter. His athleticism and skill allows him to create his own shot. He has a stepback jumper, he has a pull up jumper. He’s athletic enough to throw down dunks. There’s also a ball-handling aspect of his game that we didn’t see at Kentucky.

But at the end of the day, you value Monk because of his shooting and off-ball ability, which will improve our offensive immensely.

Jason Miller/Getty Images North America

Just like last year, it’s always great to watch the NBA Playoffs/Finals to get a sense on what kind of player contributes to a championship caliber team.

Last year, I used Kevin Durant and LeBron James to compare Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. This year, to compare Malik Monk and Josh Jackson, I used Kyrie Irving and Andre Iguodala (specifically game 5 Iguodala). Kyrie represented Monk, while game 5 Andre was JJ.

While Monk doesn’t come close to Kyrie when it comes to offensive skillset, they both can shoot. Kyrie was very integral towards the Cavs success in games 3 and 4. It was simply a barrage of points by Uncle Drew. His shooting was mostly isolation-based. With Monk, it’ll mostly be off-ball, but the points can be the same. I can see Monk doing another UNC/47 pt performance in the NBA, especially when he’s hot. The thing is game 1 and game 2. Kyrie was non-existent. The points were kinda there, but very empty. That’s the problem with Kyrie; he doesn’t produce on other ends such as defense and rebounding, so when he can’t score, he’s really just taking up space. This can be a Monk issue, especially with his small size and his streakiness. Can Monk contribute when his shot isn’t falling? At least with Monk, he can play a true PG if he needs to. Although, it’s tough to tell since he didn’t really play that role at Kentucky (Fox was main ball handler).

Game 5 Iguodala was fun to watch. It reminded me of his Finals MVP series a couple years back. As the Cavs worried about the Warriors main scorers, Iguodala played his role and scored an easy 20 points, with plenty of dunks and a couple clutch shots. It wasn’t just game 5; in game 3, he had the game winning strip on LeBron James to steal game 3 and take an important 3-0 lead against the Cavs. JJ can be Iguodala. A defensive pest that can contribute on offense when needed. With JJ’s defensive speed and off-ball IQ, this can be a reality. He won’t be a scorer, but he’ll contribute every now and then off of Simmons or Embiid. Plus, if he can’t score, then JJ will contribute in grabbing key rebounds and playing defense, something that Monk cannot do.

This has truly been a nightmare, a really awesome nightmare. I swear, my pick has changed every hour between JJ and Monk.

So sheesh….

 

WITH THE #3 PICK IN THE NBA DRAFT, I SELECT…

 

MALIK MONK

Again, Monk is not just a shooter. He can run the offense as a PG, he can drive inside, run transitions, and create his own shot which includes a high-release pull up jumpshot that will be money in the NBA.

His offense is the perfect match for our offense, who needs a player that can hit the 3 and also create his own shot when needed. Monk makes everything easier for Ben and Jojo.

The issue is defensive. While a player can be athletic, it’s more IQ than anything. Malik’s not known to be a good defender, but honestly, we can get away with an average defender on the perimeter. We can hopefully find a lockdown defender to put alongside him (Avery Bradley?) at some time in the future.

BUT IF LONZO BALL DOES NOT GO #2 THEN…

With the #3 pick, the Philadelphia 76ers select

 

LONZO BALL

The most hated prospect in NBA history is still one of the best prospects of this draft.

Which makes the idea of Ball dropping pretty absurd. But recently there’s been reports of the Lakers not being pleased with his workouts so far, and it’s not because of his dad, who was not allowed to be near Lonzo. Is it a smokescreen?? Maybe?? But IF the Ball drops, we must take him.

You can go a long way with basketball IQ. While athleticism diminishes, veterans in the league continue to be valuable on competitive teams today because of IQ. Lonzo’s bball IQ is one of his best attributes.

….

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE (6/17/17)

The Boston Celtics are considering trading the #1 pick (Fultz) for #3 and the Lakers pick we got from trading MCW.

What the fuck

!!

Insane. This changes everything. I’ve literally been working on this post for weeks now and suddenly these events pop in my face.

I’m so used to these smokescreens and rumors that I initially took the news lightly, but I saw that respected journalists like Marc Stein, Zach Lowe, and Woj were reporting it. And all reports say that it’s a done deal??

I will not believe it until I see it. But the idea of Fultz joining us makes me feel so happy !

Geez, what do I remember about Markelle Fultz? Do I still have my notes? Or did my brain delete them entirely?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

I do know that he is the “for sure” #1 prospect of this draft (I tried to convince myself otherwise after the stupid Celtics got the #1 pick). I remember that his offensive game is pretty complete. I do remember that he has good size and is athletic. And I do remember me saying that if the Sixers get Fultz, then the league is a wrap.

This is a potential dynasty in the making. A wayy better young core than OKC and GSW. I had doubts of our team being able to compete with this current GSW team, but guess what…this team can be the team that can compete with the Warriors. The Cavs and any other team in the East are not even in the discussion, it’s a wrap with a core of Fultz-Simmons-Embiid. Then you remember our supporting pieces with TJ, RoCo, Dario, TLC, Richaun.

I’m trying to figure out how this helps Boston at all. I mean, gifting your rival and potential competitor for a title the first pick in the draft? Giving the final piece of the puzzle to us? But hey, I don’t mind at all! Do yo thang Boston.

I’ve heard that they wanna get assets to trade for Butler or George?? I’m guessing they were gassed up after reaching the ECF this year and believe they’re a couple pieces away from a title? Funny cuz the East is w- … do yo thang Boston.

But those picks and Nets picks are still valuable, especially for the future. There’s still some great talent coming out like Zion Williamson and that Euro dude Doncic whatever. However, there’s no big coming out that will be able to guard Joel Embiid. There’s no big fast enough to cover Ben Simmons. Even if there is, he’s already 2-3 years behind and Embiid/Simmons have already evolved to God status.

The combo of Ben Simmons and Embiid was already enough to fuel my dreams of the Sixers winning a championship. And here we are now, with the idea of Markelle Fultz joining us. Now I’m thinking dynasty. For real. This Thursday can be the birth of a new era of NBA dominance.

Trust the Process.

UPDATE: Woj confirmed trade is done. Will be finalized Monday. I will post this Monday. Huge day in Sixers history today.

UPDATE: 6/19/17

The deal is DONE.

Boston has handed us Markelle Fultz.

Details of the trade have been given out. No players involved! (Wow) We give up the Lakers and Kings picks, but they are protected! (WOW) If the Lakers don’t get picks 2-5, it’s ours. If they do, then the Kings pick is still ours. That’s another story for another day. The fact that we didn’t give up both and actually got them protected instead of straight up is remarkable.

Sam Hinkie threw the alley-oop off the backboard and Bryan Colangelo slammed it in for the win. Or was it a Sam Hinkie alley-oop to himself?

In 2015, I wrote about an “Impossible Timeline”:

TIMELINE 3 (Impossible timeline)

  • Summer 2016. Adam Silver feels sorry for us and gives us the #1 pick. We get Ben Simmons. The Lakers fire Byron Scott and start winning. We get their pick and draft Jamal Murray.
  • Summer 2017. We still suck but not really because Simmons is ROY. We get Malik Monk.
  • Core is Monk – Murray – Simmons – Saric – Nerlens – Okafor.

This was a dark time in the Process era for me. Yeah we had the 20+ game losing streak back then, but there was at least a glimmer of hope. 2015-2016 there were so many question marks, it was very dark, I went insane.

I didn’t even wanna write about a “Timeline 3” … no way we get Ben Simmons.

Ben Simmons wasn’t on my radar!! MARKELLE FULTZ WASN”T ON MY RADAR!! WE GOT BOTH OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!

I DIDN’T THINK THIS TIMELINE EXISTED

All I wanted was Malik Monk dudeeeeeeeee…

AND WE GOT MARKELLE FULTZ.

HE’S A GUARD. HE CAN SHOOT. HE CAN DUNK. HE HAS LONG ARMS!

 

Boston doesn’t believe in Fultz…..

Says he ain’t the one. He ain’t the superstar.

And it’s amazing because Fultz has heard this his entire life. They didn’t believe in him in high school. He got cut from Varsity. He never left the gym since, and now he climbed to the top of a loaded 2017 draft class and landed on our laps.

While Embiid is the Process, Fultz embodies the idea of “Trust the Process” the most.

This season is going to be absolutely fun (if everybody stays healthy, please basketball gods) and I will be in Philadelphia this season too. Might be in Las Vegas next month.

Til then TRUST THE PROCESS. GO SIXERS!

Don’t Worry About the Philadelphia 76ers (2016-2017 Season Recap)

The Philadelphia 76ers will make the playoffs next season.

scratch that…that’s not even a big deal in the East…

The Philadelphia 76ers will make the playoffs next season.

The Philadelphia 76ers will advance past the first round next season.

yup…

Again, this isn’t much to say in the East, but what I’m trying to say is…

Don’t worry about the Philadelphia 76ers.

After a quick look at the standings and seeing that the Sixers have another front row seat at the lottery, it’s easy to say this season has been another failure and the Sixers continue to be a god-awful embarrassment to the sport of basketball. BUT… I strongly detest that and anybody who believes it! This season was a success.

Ideally, the perfect season would’ve been Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid playing all season long and tearing up the NBA, making Kevin Durant wonder if he chose the right team to run to; while capping the season off with a trip to the playoffs and finally vindicating every Sixers fan with Sam Hinkie posters on their walls. As we all know, Ben didn’t play a single minute this season, Embiid did dominate, but was placed under a minute restriction, had to rest every other day before being shut down the 2nd half of the season, and we definitely did not make the playoffs.

It’s not a reach to say that most Sixers fans are disappointed at this season. They have a right to. Yes, it would’ve been awesome to make the playoffs and maybe get swept by the Cavs in the first round, but we didn’t.

Instead, we lost a lot of games. 54 this time. But trust me, everything is ok…we’re fine.

Don’t worry about the Philadelphia 76ers.

We’re at the point of the process called:

“BUILDING THE FOUNDATION” … (advancing from the “Inspect Construction Site” point)

Building the foundation is when the team starts making progress. This is when we set the ground pieces that will play a huge role in holding our team up in the future. People don’t really see this part. Everybody sees the final structure, that’s when people take the pictures and gaze in awe. Not a lot of appreciation is shown for the foundation that holds the structure up. Why? It’s kinda of boring and it doesn’t look really pretty.

That’s why people will ask, justifiably, “How was this season a success if you lost so many games?” To which I calmly reply, “Well, we established a winning culture and had some quality wins and losses.”

To which I would be bombarded with laughter, because the idea of a 54 loss team creating anything related to “winning” is hilarious. So to help defend my point, it would be helpful to explain some key “tank terminology” that were relevant this season: “culture” and “quality losses”

“Losing/Winning Culture”

I didn’t understand the idea of a “losing culture” until I saw teams this year.

I’ve been closely watching the tank wars at the end of the season and looking at all the lottery teams. As bad as the Sixers were during the Process years, at least we “lost” right. We tanked the right way. (I’ll explain)

I might’ve been the only one (next to Jae Crowder) who found the Phoenix Suns’ celebration of Devin Booker‘s 70 pt game–in a loss– perplexing. I get that you can acknowledge it, because it was amazing, but as a team you don’t prioritize individual performances and you definitely don’t smile after a loss. But hey I guess that’s why Phoenix has been losing so much.

And the Lakers…oh my god. What can you say? That 50 point smackdown by the Mavs was embarrassing. This wasn’t some playoff team, it was the Mavs, who also went on to shamelessly tank the rest of the season. Plus, it’s not like the Lakers were losing all year. They started off pretty decent, at 10-10, which makes their downfall more significant.

With that said, I believe the Suns and Lakers were creating a “losing culture.”

Often, the Sixers were also criticized for creating a “losing culture.” I angrily denied this idea because every night I saw the squad fight til the last minute. I never saw this losing culture. That’s why I love Brett Brown, he made sure that his team was competing 100% every night. It’s true we still got blown out at times, but the team always fought. Shit, even in the 10-72 season, we had a bunch of leads that we blew cuz we were too young and inexperienced at holding leads. The team wanted to win and fought just as hard as the opposing team each night. It’s no surprise to see frustrated faces after losses from our team the past few seasons, they want to win even if the opposing team is “better on paper.”

We were establishing a winning culture then…

AND guess what??? …that culture carried on to this year and it’s led by guys like TJ McConnell and Robert Covington, who I’ll get to later. Then you had Joel Embiid, who before he even played a minute was criticized for having too much fun and not caring enough during his rehab; he came right in and shared that same winning spirit as TJ and RoCo. Embiid was even willing to injure himself again to get a win, it was that serious. Then you had guys like Dario Saric and Justin Anderson join us and fit right into this culture in Philadelphia, and they’re gonna help lead the way for the future Sixers and so on.

That 10 pt comeback against the Knicks would NOT happen if Brett Brown didn’t plant the seeds of our winning culture before. Any other team would’ve quit, hell, Jojo probably woulda took the rest of the game off since there’s no point in getting hurt again. But they kept clawing until the last second, and we came out with a victory and an iconic image in Process history.

We also had a few comebacks that fell just a bit short (another against the Knicks I believe), but still, the effort by our team deserved some praise.

I’m a firm believer that in the end, talent will always win. But after seeing teams like Toronto just not have “it” during the playoffs and the Rockets “performance” in an elimination game against the Spurs, I believe culture plays a role as well. By establishing this winning culture, you set the rules for what is acceptable and unacceptable. In Philadelphia, effort towards winning was prioritized and laid on our foundation.

“Quality Losses/Wins”

At least that’s what I called it. A quality loss is when your team loses, but they did some good things in the game. For example, Dario Saric scoring 25 against the Warriors. Or TLC and Richaun getting some late game shine.

An L is an L, but for rebuilding teams it’s important to make progress with every game, win or lose. There was a lot of this for the Sixers this season. The most meaningful quality losses were the Cavs and Warriors. Again, like always, we fought them until the final minute. Didn’t come out on top, but those losses weren’t insignificant, we showed effort and didn’t get blown out by two of the greatest teams in the NBA. It’s the whole “We didn’t lose by 50!” thing, but it helps boost morale !

As the great Suga Free said

“In order for me to win, I gotta lose sometimes baby…”

Hey we won games too!

And they weren’t just easy wins against teams like Phoenix or Brooklyn. We beat the Bucks twice, beat the Wizards in our season series, beat the Raptors, and we beat the Celtics. A lot of losing streaks against teams ended this season.

I remember Milwaukee made a big deal about ending the Warriors winning streak last season. They even made t-shirts! It seemed pathetic to celebrate a regular season win like a championship, but wins like that mean a lot for a team. It shows that it is possible. For the Sixers, those wins against playoff teams showed that we progressed enough to actually beat playoff teams. That’s a big deal. It’s the reason I think we can make some noise next season.

You can look at our record and our failure to make the playoffs, but hidden from view was the progress we made this season. A foundation was built.

Again… it was a successful season.

Not convinced?

We can go deeper …

Consider the things we also accomplished this season:

  • We developed a bunch of our younger players

TJ McConnell became a solid PG this season. Robert Covington added a lot to his offensive game while becoming an elite defender in the NBA. Dario Saric was putting up numbers that matched up with the elites of the game. Joel Embiid was making progress every game and showing signs of a true NBA superstar. I’ll get more into this later.

  • Discovered new talent in our system to add to our depth

Richaun Holmes is now scoring from outside the paint. TLC is proving to be a solid player on offense with potential on defense. Justin Anderson looks to be a high energy player we can have off the bench.

We did all that while still maintaining a high enough pick to acquire a younger guard in this guard-loaded draft. That seems like a pretty good season and it still follows our Process.

AND if you still remain unconvinced, the biggest takeaway we should all take from this season was our performance in January. Finally, after years of losing (except for that first week in MCW’s rookie year), we saw the light…we saw a team that could compete. Embiid was getting into a groove and the team was finally meshing together. It was a quick glimpse of what we could be.

I wrote about it before but I’ll talk about it again. That month was amazing for us. Our 10 wins that month matched our entire win total from last season! And how we did it was significant. It wasn’t a fluke. We won because we played elite defense led by Embiid and Covington. We won because we learned to execute late. They were all signs of a great team.

I wouldn’t be confident in this team if January never happened.

Again…  Do not worry about the Philadelphia 76ers.


PLAYER THOUGHTS

The biggest theme this season was “player development.” It’s the one thing that has remained constant throughout the Brett Brown/Process era, we’ve shown we can develop players. This year that was even more evident as Process “veterans” like TJ and Covington took the next step. Even later in the season, after Embiid got shut down, a few players were able to make some significant progress, so I hope fans continued to watch the team. If not, luckily I can kinda inform you.

TJ McConnell

McConnell was a PG who once refused to take a shot inside, often circling around the rim while looking around for a pass, and here we are. This season TJ notched two game winners on his belt. A legendary win against the Knicks and one against the Magic. I came home in time to catch the Magic one, and can you believe, when I saw TJ get the ball for the final possession, I said “Take that shit TJ” … and once I saw him get inside the paint and get into that signature TJ McConnell jumpshot/kinda fadeaway, I KNEW it was money. Can you believe???

TJ has proven that, not only does he belong in the NBA, he is a starting PG in the NBA. He’s the perfect guy for Philadelphia because he represents the “Philly Tough” motto. He takes no time off. During normal inbounds, it would be common to see TJ catch an opponent slipping and steal the ball. It’s those little things that make him so lovable.

And HELL nah we aint give TJ to the Cavs.

Robert RoCo Covington

Covington’s story this season was pretty interesting. I think fans knew RoCo was a 3 and D guy, so when Roco wasn’t hitting that 3 early this season, the fans booed. I didn’t really appreciate the booing because RoCo’s a guy that contributes in other ways, but I hear it’s a Philly thing so that’s fine with me. He really shot awful though.

I don’t know if it was Roco’s poor shooting that prompted this, but Covington started to drive inside more and cut inside more often. It was something that was bizarre for anyone who’s watched Covington since he arrived. He didn’t know how to drive inside or finish before, he looked like a fish out of the water, he looked like me. But as the season went on, he got more and more comfortable driving inside …AND he got his 3 back, even hitting a game winner against the Blazers. AND of course, that defense never left, and it perhaps got better. He led the league in deflections and was a key aspect to our elite defense.

It was obvious how much better we are with Covington. I was mad about the Nerlens trade but if it opened up more money to pay RoCo, then all is well.

Dario Saric

A lot has changed since the last time I wrote about Dario Saric. The biggest was Ersan’s departure, which meant the beginning of the Dario era.

With Embiid’s season ending injury, our other pick from 2014 took over and stole our hearts.

Dario doesn’t look like a rookie…but we already knew this from day 1. But now he really doesn’t look like a rookie. Dario really took the role as our #1 guy. Sure, the record doesn’t show his impact. But for those that paid attention, Dario kept the Sixers competitive during the last part of the season. He looks extremely confident handling the rock and being aggressive, and don’t forget his flashy passing.

Towards the end of the season, fatigue was a clear issue, but that didn’t stop Dario’s will to get 30 wins for the season. That’s the thing…fatigue. This is why Dario’s special to me. He played all year, from playing for Croatia in the summer, then preseason, all the way thru 80 games of this season. It’s incredible. That’s why I can’t take the criticism from outsiders saying Dario shouldn’t win ROY. I had to listen to all these nerds assassinate my dude’s character with their bullshit efficiency stats. It really makes me angry when people downplay Dario’s effort on the court when he’s out there every night going 100%. What’s he supposed to do?? Not shoot it? There was an ugly period of basketball when LeBron and KD constantly checked their stats. Let’s move on from that. Dario never cared about stats, he wanted a win.

Dario’s biggest focus this offseason has to be his 3 pt shot. There’s nothing wrong with his jumpshot, which is pretty bizarre to say about a Sixers lottery pick recently, but as soon as he pokes out to the 3 pt line, the shots consistently fall short. I always thought it was because of fatigue, instead of mechanics, so I guess resting his knees this offseason will help. It definitely doesn’t help that Dario’s playing international ball this season, but hey…that’s just how he is. He’s a competitor who keeps his word.

There’s also finishing at the basket. He constantly drives inside, but his lack of athleticism doesn’t help as he’s smothered by defenders. This isn’t too big of a deal, especially if we continue to find off ball/high-IQ players to surround him. Remember, Dario passed it to Justin Anderson to win a game after he got stuck under the basket.

I don’t think Dario has peaked. I think the 3 pt shot is there. I think he should come off the bench. Nothing wrong with being a 6th man, there’s a reason why there’s a reward for it. Brett Brown knows sixth men very well too. I’m actually scared that we’ll trade him. Benches are extremely important to winning.

Richaun Holmes

Holmes was a victim of the Jahlil experiment, but surprisingly, and thankfully, he came out on top. After being sent to the D-league, Holmes was called up to fill up the vacancy left from Jah, Embiid, and Nerlens; and he filled it up.

Most importantly, Holmes’ shot is becoming more reliable, which is a requirement for all bigs in today’s NBA. I think he’s a legit 3 pt threat now. Do I have him ahead of Jah? Yes.

TLC

Lastly, TLC.

TLC is a spooky prospect for us. He’s one of Colangelo’s guys, and I gotta say, he nailed this pick.

His potential as an off-ball guy and defender makes him highly valuable on our roster. For us to develop him late in the season was very key. Crazy thing is we already know he has good chemistry with Ben Simmons. Is there a possibility that we have our future 2 guard already???

Jahlil Okafor

Oh Jah…

This was a frustrating sophomore season for Jah. He had to deal with injury issues and a new offensive system that didn’t emphasize Okafor’s iso game in the post. Yet, he still had the opportunity to show his worth to the franchise on multiple occasions. I think he failed.

I still think Jah is good. He had some moments. One that stuck out was his performance against the Knicks. He really looks like a #3 pick when he plays all out.

I don’t wanna spend game after game wondering if it’s an effort thing. This team needs everybody to go 1000%, if we bring Jah in and he lowers the level, it’s an L for us. But if he can come in and give us all the effort, rebounds, and Jah-spins; then that would be awesome.

Brett Brown

I got on Brett Brown early this season and it was fair.

But after January, it was clear that Brett was the man for us. A coach can grow too.

Inbounding has been a problem during the Brown era, but somehow in January, this happened:

There’s no man that understands this team more than Brett. His emphasis on defense is enough to make me love him. There’s no man that can get his players to represent the Philly toughness more than Brett Brown. I fear we won’t find another coach like this. I look around the league, and some of these coaches are laughable.

The talent has just about caught up. We will see how he handles Ben Simmons. We will see if he can use Dario Saric to his potential. We will see if he can continue developing our young players.


WEATHER FORECAST

Blake to OKC??

It’s important for Sixers fans to keep an eye on the competition and play the role as a weatherman. Every team has a window. Right now, it’s being dominated by the Cavs and Warriors.

LeBron is still dominant. His athleticism hasn’t shown signs of dwindling at all. It’s scary, he’s like 32 and he seems to get better and better. Guarantee he’ll play til he’s at least 40, or if he goes Ichiro route, prolly 50. LeBron is still our biggest obstacle and as long as he’s still doing those chase down blocks, we’ll just have to wait.

As for the rest of the east? Eh. The east is very weak. We have beaten every team, so I’m not worried.

I’m not scared of the Celtics. The Cavs series showed me that they’re too little. IT looks to be gone and now we have to deal with those stupid Nets picks. Markelle is still too little for Ben and Embiid. The Bucks couldn’t even beat the Raptors. Although, Jabari and Thon can be great pieces for Giannis. I’m still confident that we’re better. I think the Bucks will be our best future competition out East. The Raptors are done. The Hawks are done. The Wizards need some serious support, but either way, John Wall can’t shoot. Who cares about the Pistons? Who cares about the Hornets honestly? Do the Orlando Magic even exist? Paul George is leaving Indiana. Bulls got Jimmy Butts, but they can’t find a way to support him. The Heat got a fun young squad, but they’ll probably be like an annoying mosquito you gotta swipe away every once in a while. The Knicks still have Kristaps, who’s great, but I don’t feel he has the leadership and drive to win big games when it matters, not hating, all I remember is his airball that led to the McConnell game winner.

But the west tho.

It doesn’t matter who’s on the bench; KD, Dray, Klay, Curry will always be a problem no matter what. They’re all still young too, which sucks.

Nuggets are ok now. But they’ll be the Atlanta Hawks of the West.

I’m still scared of the Timberwolves. Luckily, their bench and supporting cast wasn’t too awful so they didn’t get too high of a pick in this draft, but they still have the opportunity to add another great player in this year’s stacked draft. Once they get a superstar PG, they’ll be the next team.

The Jazz are a tough team with Gobert. If they keep Hayward, they’ll be competitive. I like what the Kings got going on, and Joerger’s gonna make them like the Grizzlies, just a tough opponent. I don’t think the Pelicans are gonna find support for AD. Hoping they don’t because AD is still one hell of a force.

And you can never count out the Spurs, but man Lamarcus Aldridge ain’t that dude…Kawhi is tho.


Predicting Ben Simmons

It’s kinda fair to use Dario as a preview for Ben. Ben is not as tall as Dario (bout an inch taller, although reports are saying Ben grew). Ben is faster than Dario, better handler, and passes better; which is crazy but that’s why he went #1.

Oftentimes during the season, Dario would be too fast for bigs, so he would fly by them. Or he would be too big for defenders inside, so he’d back them down and hit a hook shot or layup at the rim. This is how Ben will eat in the NBA. It’s literally something that Ben said in an interview.

There was a game where Dario got most of his 20+ of his points inside.

I think this is a good example of what we can expect offensively, when Ben chooses to score.

Of course, this will only be possible if we can get Ben in 1 on 1 situations. This can be achieved by surrounding him with shooters.

Yes, Ben’s lack of a jumper will hurt as defenders will sag off on him. Yet for some reason I believe that at one point in his career, that jumpshot will work. We sorta got a sneak preview of a working jumpshot during Summer League.

I think Ben’s gonna get a lot of triple doubles next season on his way to Rookie of the Year.

 


Conclusion

Right now, the only thing that’s holding us back are injuries. And we have no control over it… No team does.

I’ve had my speculation about Sixers’ “injuries” these past few years (I won’t get into it), but I truly believe Embiid and Simmons will be ok in the future. I seen Embiid injure himself all season and he fought through it. And Simmons looks fine from everything I’ve seen throughout the season.

For once, I believe this team will compete for a championship in the future. There’s a lot of things that can change, but we’ll focus on it when it comes to us. This upcoming draft is important, but not really important. If we can come out of the draft with some good players than the road will be a lot more easier.

Don’t worry about the Philadelphia 76ers… and don’t sleep on the Philadelphia 76ers.

p.s. Draft will have its own separate post. It’s way too big to fit in here pause

p.p.s. RANT

Lastly, CAN I TALK ABOUT “playoff experience”?? What the fuck is “playoff experience”??? I hear this a lot. “Oh, but at least we got playoff experience.” Is there something different that happens in the playoffs? These are grown men. These are grown men that have been playing basketball their entire lives, MANY of them have played in tournaments and championships. Like I understand experience for stuff like the Super Bowl and Finals n stuff like that because things are really different at that time with all the distractions, but playoffs??? [/Mora] It’s a game of basketball whether it’s played in August or July. Sure helped the Pistons. Talent always wins.

USWNT Finishes Last

(gonna be really sloppy, i’m busy)

Finishing last in your own tournament, in your own country, and in front of your own fans is absolutely pathetic.

What we saw from our USWNT at the 2nd ever SheBelieves Cup was abysmal.

And yeah, I know we haven’t played together in months and that we have a bunch of new players out there. I know we’re playing the best teams in the world, in a sport where the competition continues to catch up, and that losing a game shouldn’t be surprising. However, the last time I checked, the United States was home to the best women’s soccer program in the world.

Of course, the last time I posted about the USWNT was after our disappointing Olympics exit. You know, where we didn’t even get a medal??? And here we are, with an even more disappointing result. And most importantly, no medals again. No trophy. What is going on?

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

It’s absolutely bizarre that we cannot get anything going on offense. It’s not even close to a talent issue. We have playmakers like Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh that can terrorize opposing defenses. YET WE ONLY SCORED 1 GOAL IN 270 MINUTES! ….PLUS STOPPAGE TIME! HOW? And that one goal we did score was created entirely by Christen Press. She stole the ball from the defender, made a run, and delivered a fantastic strike off the crossbar. Luckily, we had players aware to go after the rebound and score.

We can’t rely on players handling stuff individually. We can’t just pray that Alex Morgan blows by the backline, teams aren’t stupid. We can’t hope that Tobin Heath breaks everybody’s ankles on the way to a goal. We gotta have good build-up and communicate; make good runs. Make passes and connections that’ll advance the ball up the field. I’m not seeing that. I may be blind.

The France game was so discouraging as a fan. Out the gate we got destroyed. France came out aggressive. (It’s like they knew the game was a must-win or something? Really odd!) First goal was off a beautiful pass thru our backline that earned a penalty. Second goal was another pass, this time from deep, that somehow found its way past our backline for another goal. At this point, I kinda figured that we’d find our way back, but then I remembered how trash our offense was. We didn’t even score a goal. Instead, France would score another goal to beat us 3-0.

It seemed like we didn’t care. I can point out one play. Rose Lavelle, who was outstanding this tournament, didn’t give up on a ball and created a chance by sending the ball back towards the middle, but her teammates gave up on the play leaving us with a blown opportunity. What could’ve been a goal for us and a spark for our team, ended up falling flat.

So we didn’t just get beat by effort, we got outplayed technically as well. It wasn’t a “oh we just missed our chances/the ball didn’t bounce our way” type of loss…it was a “We Lost” loss. This is not what USWNT soccer is about.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

It’s time to say it…again. Jill Ellis gotta go. She should’ve been gone. It’s ridiculous how we’re getting outplayed on every aspect recently, from technical to effort. This has gone on since the World Cup. We only won that because of how stellar our defense was, plus KO and Carli Lloyd. We’ve been had these issues offensively. This team doesn’t lack a leader on the field, they’re not babies…they lack direction from the coach.

I mean……WE FINISHED LAST DAWGGGG… HOW THE HELL

We had the opportunity to win it all and we didn’t ….even ….score….a goal.

The second we allow and accept mediocrity is when this program collapses. We got 2 years. Make the moves now.

Wait what

It wasn’t Jahlil Okafor who was traded…instead, it was our guy from Kentucky…the shot blocking, defensive guru who fixed his jumpshot…Nerlens Noel.

As much as it should hurt, I’m doing alright. Of course, I’m hurt that one of my favorite Sixers ever is leaving us, but I’m alright. It was Nerlens that made me like this. That gruesome draft night will be forever etched in my memories. As painful as that night was, losing one of my favorite players, it introduced me to the Process. Nerlens was the OG process.

Through all the changes in the organization over the years, from his best friend MCW leaving to his new best friend Ish coming and leaving twice, Nerlens remained. But the Process would eventually be his downfall. With Embiid coming back and Nerlens on the last year of his contract, a move seemed inevitable. No way we were going to pay max for a backup center and no way Nerlens was going to be fine coming off the bench.

YET, with Embiid’s injury issues and the team’s sorta success with Nerlens at the helm, the trade that I once found inevitable became unlikely. I smiled at the thought of Nerlens Noel coming off the bench to win the Finals for the Sixers, holding up the trophy with Embiid. This had to happen. No way the Colangelo’s were gonna let a guy who contributes on defense (one of the team’s biggest philosophies) leave, right?? Plus, Nerlens seemed happy with his role and the fact that the team he once saw lose so many times …was finally winning.

We needed to keep Nerlens.

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…and Nerlens got traded yesterday for two 2nd rounders and Justin Anderson.

I’m ok with the idea, but the execution was just awful. After seeing the Boogie return this week, I guess we couldn’t get much. But dude, a friggin’ 1-18 protected first round pick??? It’s laughable. Maybe it’s because of all the crazy deals we’ve conjured up in the past (thanks Sam) that I was expecting us to pull off another grandiose type of deal. Maybe it’s because I seem to forget Nerlens’ flaws and injury issues. Eh… it just doesn’t feel right to me.

Oh yeah, we traded Ersan Ilyasova. That deal went really well. Got back some 2nd rounders. So that Grant trade gave us a first and 2 2nd’s… not bad.

brown_embiid_noel_mcw_hinkie

At the end of the day, we lost two incredible players with no future for us for some assets. Ain’t that how it goes?

Thanks Ersan for being “the Professional.” You were critical in bringing that important veteranship, teaching guys like Dario Saric, who has progressed so much that he literally took your job. Thanks for putting your body on the line every night, leaving your body defenseless as players ran hopelessly into you for a charge. But seriously, thanks for helping us win again. You were a huge part of making Sixers basketball fun again and I’ll forever be thankful for that.

And thank you so much Nerlens Noel. I never understood the importance of defense until I saw you each night blocking the shit out of other players in the paint. Your rookie campaign was one of the best seasons I’ve ever seen of a player. When you blocked James Harden at the rim, I erupted in so much joy, I didn’t know it was possible to do that. I was glad you were our guy. I loved seeing you shine with Ish. You should’ve won rookie of the year. Lastly, to see you nail a jumpshot to beat the Bucks this year meant so much for me, because I knew you worked so hard on that, and you shot that ball with so much confidence that I can’t believe I doubted it was going to go in. I wish you the best in Dallas. They got a good one. And Ersan, do work in Atlanta.

Pick Swap Boyz

Hello, it’s been a while.

The Sacramento Kings have decided to blow it up. DeMarcus Cousins was traded for a 1st and 2nd rounder, along with Buddy Hield. Yup…

As someone who has advocated for the Kings to tank, this shouldn’t bother me. However, I said that they should tank while they still had Boogie, because the Kings were a few pieces away of being a playoff team, not a championship squad, but a playoff team.

For anyone following this awful blog, you know I’m a Sixers fan fully committed to the Process, or the idea of tanking. I don’t believe in mediocrity. It’s championship or bust. But the situation here is a lot different. These are Kings fans. I’m out here; I know these people. They’ve been dying to sniff the playoffs. They had something going this year. A great coach (Joerger), solid veterans (Temple, Tolliver, Afflalo, Matt Barnes kinda), and a couple good young pieces (Malachi Richardson, Willie Cauley Stein). They were fighting for an 8th spot. Yeah, the 8th spot is not really successful (record-wise), but it’s still the playoffs.

The Kings weren’t the best team, but they showed promises throughout the season as they grew accustomed to Joerger’s system. They beat the Cavs and Warriors, and even beat the Celtics without Boogie…….and Vivek blew it up.

Yeah, the Kings had a protected pick where they had to finish in the top 10 of the draft (bottom 10 of the standings) to keep it, but cmon guys…you coulda shelved Boogie on some fake injury like the Pelicans do every year with AD. Or do what the Sixers are doing now, delaying Simmons return and being extra “cautious” for Embiid.

The worst part of everything was the return. All the Kings got back was a 1st, 2nd, and Buddy Hield. What in the world? We’re talking the best center in the NBA. You gotta give me picks in this draft and next year’s draft and next year’s draft. Horrible return. If the Kings got the Nets picks from the Celtics, then it wouldn’t be so bad. Also, a decent prospect. Hield is not really worth it.

But if the Kings get lucky, Harry Giles could slip to the middle of first round and if they tank hard enough, maybe land Dennis Smith Jr. ? The core is going to be WCS and Malachi it seems.

Last point… it’s hard to find a superstar. The Kings had one. They weren’t going to be a championship squad, but they could’ve at least gave the loyal Kings fans a taste of the playoffs. Or at least give the man who gave his all to your organization a chance to compete for a title.

I’m gonna miss you Boogie. I’ll still root for you. I enjoyed watching your dominance in person.

Enough about the Kings……

PICK SWAP BOYZ!!!

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Oh my God. The biggest winner out of this trade is not the Pelicans…not the Kings….the damn Sixers. We win again.

Not only do we have a pick swap from a team that is tanking for the rest of this season…

We have the unprotected first round pick of a rebuilding team in it’s 2nd year (2019)…

Sam Hinkie, you mad man.

The idea of Lonzo Ball is intensifying. Or just a top 3 pick in general. The Lakers, Nets, and Suns have locked down the bottom 3. The Magic and Knicks are calling it quits. We’ll have our odds along with the Kings to get into the bottom 3.

And yeah, the 2019 idea of Zion Williamson exists.

THE SIXERS KEEP WINNING GAMES

What the HELL IS GOING ON??????

I was hesitant to post this, but Robert Covington just hit another game winner, this time against the sorta playoff team-ish Portland Trailblazers. I think it’s real now…

We’re going to the playoffs.

TJ Mcconnell beats Knicks

TJ Mcconnell beats Knicks

At least, we’re advancing to a higher tier. Flashback to my post 4 years ago. To recap, there are:

  • Bootsy Squads
  • Mediocre Squads that miss the playoffs
  • Mediocre Squads that make the playoffs
  • Elite Squads

I think we have finally graduated from the University of  “Bootsy squads” and are now at “Mediocre squads that miss the playoffs”…but wait….believe it or not, there’s a very good possibility that we might advance to the next tier within this season. Yes dude……..playoffs.

I last posted at the start of this year. Since then, things have changed. This team is finally meshing together. Nerlens Noel, who was infuriated with his situation on the team not too long ago, said that this is the closest Sixers squad he’s ever been on, and it clearly shows on the court.

They’re playing elite defense with Joel Embiid:

And for the first time, we’re finishing games. Either we’re coming back or we’re holding on to our leads.

It’s pretty crazy this run started against the Nuggets at Denver, because I remember when we lost a lead against them a few seasons back (March 2013). The Nuggets had a winning streak and we had a chance to end it. We screwed up pretty bad by missing our game clinching free throws AND then fouling the Nuggets at the 3 pt line to lose the game on free throws.

Flash forward to now. We beat the Nuggets at Denver, and this time we didn’t screw up, even though Jokic flopped at the end while attempting a 3 (irony). We won 124-122.

The win against the T’Wolves was even bigger. Remember, we got mopped by them on national TV weeks before. That game was excruciating to watch because I want the world to stop making fun of us…and we got spanked in front of everybody (that actually watched the game). So I wanted revenge. What’s awesome is that Embiid also wanted revenge. We always get the cliche, “it’s just another regular season game” response, so it was awesome to hear Embiid had this rematch marked on his calendar. I know he remembers getting schooled by KAT on a pump fake and drive for a dunk. I love that he cares.

And of course, we fucked it up. The Twolves came back and Ricky Rubio…(guess)….hit a 3 to tie the game up. I told you the T’Wolves made the right decision to pick this guy over Curry! At this point, I was getting ready for OT, there was no way Brett Brown was going to call a good play to win it, but…the ball floated in the air, to a leaping Covington at the rim. RoCo caught the ball and won it on a beautifully designed alley oop. What the hell.

It got more spooky.

We somehow came back from down 10 points with 2 minutes remaining against the Knicks. I’m glad I kept watching. It was going to be the same old story from before; the Sixers gettin mopped by double digits, but things have changed. Embiid made shots late along with RoCo, and TJ McConnell (finally) finished it with the game winner. I lost my shit watching it while eating dinner with my family, and I apologize to my Mom for paying more attention to TJ and for having my phone out at the dinner table 😦 . (I love you Mom)

Since that comeback, we’ve beaten some pretty good teams. It’s not just the Nets anymore Mom…

 

It’s pretty beautiful. That Raptors win ended a 14 game losing streak against them. That Bucks game, we came back in the 2nd half and put the clamps on the rising, young Giannis Antetokounmpo; plus Embiid went off again.

We went months (November, December) without winning a game. Now, we’re winning and it’s not a fluke. It’s real. 8-2, I’m not used to seeing that kind of a number (I’m a Rams fan if you can tell).

Even more beautiful is guys like TJ and RoCo, undrafted Hinkie guys, are getting it done. Nerlens even came thru with the clutch defense to win the game against Portland when Embiid went out.

The process is really processing. Ben Simmons isn’t even back. The Kings pick swap that we got along with Sauce is looking great (sadly, and happily). Lakers pick…well, I think they need it more than we do. As much as I’ve forgotten about the tank, I still really think this draft is critical to taking us to the next next level. But for now…

PLAYOFFS???

and I miss you Hollis Thompson, we won’t forget you…and I want Jerami Grant back.

Jeff Fisher is the Devil (Rams 2016 Season Recap)

This was the worst Rams season I’ve ever experienced. Yes, I’ve been through the 1-15 season. The 2-14 seasons. I’ve seen us when we’d get blown out in the first quarter. When our defense had nobody. When Steven Jackson wore his body down every play dancing behind an O-line that couldn’t block. This year was easily the worst.

It’s one thing to suck when you’re supposed to suck. But sucking when you have decent pieces on the team– that has shown the ability to win– is devastating. When Fisher first arrived, I gave this team about 3 years before we’d become competitors. Of course, we had issues with Sam Bradford that hindered our progression. But either way, it didn’t happen. While other teams like the Raiders (ESPECIALLY the Raiders) , Bucs, Titans have shown flashes of progression; we have REGRESSED. We’re almost back at one, except we have exceptional talent on our team to start with. We should’ve been like the Raiders, but we kept fucking up every single season and offseason. Whether it’s drafting busts like Greg Robinson or letting Janoris Jenkins go. Continuing to not find DECENT WRs. Continuing to find the shittiest offensive coordinators in the universe to coach our team. And of course, keeping Jeff Fisher as our coach. It’s tragic.

Yeah we had massive flaws coming into this season, but remember, we started this season 3-1 and could’ve easily been 8-2…YES, all of those games were winnable. Shit, we’d at least be 6-4.

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Let’s review the games after we started 3-1. The Bills game…winnable. Keenum pick 6 and yeah we had trouble stopping McCoy, plus that fake punt call by the Devil. Lions game…winnable. Keenum game ending INT. Giants game….winnable. Keenum threw 4 INTs. Jared Goff’s debut against the Dolphins…winnable. Couldn’t finish the game. After that, the season was long gone so I won’t consider those.

Thank the Lord. Thank you Jesus Christ. Thank you Based God. We fired that bum Jeff Fisher. Oh my God that dude sucks so much ass you have no idea how long that guy has tortured me and the rest of the fanbase that still exists (yes I’m looking at you Los Angeles, the fairweatherest of them all). I’ve been calling for his head for a couple seasons now. Yes, it’s dangerous to have an ever lasting coaching turnstile. Changing coaches every season hurts the players. The Rams gave it a chance, and we LOST…again…badly. We’ve wasted a few years with no progression at all. Robert Quinn is now battling injuries. We lost Stedman Bailey. James Laurinaitis, our all time leading tackler, got old. Janoris Jenkins left and is continuing to do well with the Giants.

We can’t afford to waste more years under Fisher. Thank goodness the organization figured it out.

Harry How/Getty Images North America

Harry How/Getty Images North America


What can I say about this season? IS there anything to say about this season?

This offense was just AWFUL. The worst.

Blame first lies on our offensive line. These guys cannot block. How many times did we see Gurley get swallowed up before reaching the line of scrimmage (I’ll get more into this later).

Then our WRs. These guys cannot catch (except Kenny Britt).

Then there’s the playcalling. We’ve fired our OC’s before, but we keep bringing in guys that were still attached to the system that wasn’t working in the first place. Cignetti was still part of the system. Rob Boras was still part of the system. As a result, we’ve been getting the same nonsense on offense every season. Thanks Fisher. Yes, Boras deserves some credit for creating any kind of offense production without a run game and receivers that can’t catch. But it was still a flawed offense that could not find ways to put points on the board.

Combine all these factors together and you got a middle school offense in the NFL.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America

What about the players?

The biggest thing to talk about this season was Todd Gurley‘s underwhelming season. There’s a lot of speculation. So what was it?

It was a combination of things. One, that O-line. They got dominated all year.

Two, it’s on Gurley too. As great as Gurley is in the open field, he’s not great battling tacklers at the line of scrimmage, which explains part of the struggle. He’s not LeSean McCoy. There’s also talk about his patience at the line. Unlike Steven Jackson, who danced at the line before rushing for a yard, Gurley would run straight into a lineman’s back. It may be true that Gurley could’ve found more yards if he had been more patient, but most of the time the holes got filled up with defenders due to bad blocking and no passing game to threaten the defense, who oftentimes loaded the box.

Gurley’s impatience might be because of frustration as well. We don’t know for sure, but I guarantee Gurley felt the heat and criticism, whether it was from beer-belly’d fantasy owners or the media looking for new ways to trash LA’s new team. It definitely wasn’t the fans in LA, who left the team once they realized we weren’t going to the playoffs. The criticism may have forced Gurley to lose patience as he desperately tried to find something to work. Even in his rookie year, Gurley would do most of his damage in the 2nd half. So when Gurley saw nothing happen at all, it must’ve gotten to him. The mental aspect of sports is really underrated.

What really pisses me off is how we never got Gurley going in the passing game. I think he can be like David Johnson from the Cards. He can be a multi purpose RB. And Gurley’s shown it too. Again, thanks Fisher.

I think Gurley will be fine next season.

Harry How/Getty Images North America

Harry How/Getty Images North America

JARED GOFF.

The benching was a great idea. Thanks Fisher. No really, it was a great idea. Though Goff has proven to have elite composure when handling tough situations, I think throwing him straight into the dumpster fire would have ruined him. He came in late when the season was pretty much over, allowing him to throw freely, like a young beautiful QB should. Even though he got sacked most of the time, he was at least able to get a feel of the game and make mistakes without being too hard on himself.

As for performance, Goff has shown promise. The pocket presence is there, which is something very valuable. The arm is there. I think the best game to look at is the Saints game. Not a big sample size, but I think this is the guy.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

Kenny Britt might have entered my coveted “favorite Rams players of all time” list. Crazy to think that I hated him at first for taking Torry Holt’s number. That feeling quickly changed. This year was his best year as a Ram (in this offense, can you believe?). He became our first 1000+ yard receiver since Torry Holt (ironic, oh and that was in 2007). Britt is one of the few great things from the Jeff Fisher era. Thanks Fisher.

Johnny Hekker is my MVP this year. Another brilliant year kicking, and boy did he kick a lot this year. You can make fun of our team for a lot of things, but not because of our special teams unit. There’s a reason why Fassel was promoted to head coach when the devil got fired and there’s a reason why Fassel was brought back to the team.


 

Thankfully, there’s a new hope.

There’s HOPE. For once…

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America

The Rams hired Sean McVay as the new head coach. Honestly, I was scared about the selection process. Yeah it wasn’t going to be Fisher, but there was still a good chance the new coach was going to suck too. Look around, it’s hard to find a good coach in the NFL. Yet here I am, happy we hired this handsome, well-groomed kid (almost as young as I am), with 0 head coaching experience, as head coach.

I’ve read about McVay, and I like him…A LOT. He’s from the Redskins tree, from the Grudens. He’s been praised as an offensive guru. That’s enough for me to like him.

This is great for our players. Goff will finally have a competent coach. Tavon Austin might finally be used right, instead of just a screen guy and a running back to run up the gut (Thanks Fisher). Gurley might finally use his talents in the passing game, and get pressure off him when we don’t make him the sole focus of our offense. It’s beautiful.

That’s not all…

We hired Wade Phillips. This dude won a championship with Peyton Manning throwing ducks on the opposite end. Think about that. In other words, he ran a really really elite defense. Yeah, he had Aqib Talib, Von Miller, and Ware; but we got Tru, Tree, Donald, Barron, and Quinn. Think about that too.

I’ll miss Gregg Williams. As much as fans are sick of that old coaching staff, Williams led one of our only shining spots during the Fisher era: the Mob Squad. Overly aggressive and sometimes dirty, the Mob Squad was fun to watch. We weren’t exactly a shut down defense, but we always seemed to get it done. It was pretty sad that our offense couldn’t support them.

Of course, things aren’t all perfect now. We still desperately need a great offensive line and a go-to WR. Doesn’t help that we have no draft picks. But for now, things are a lot better.

There’s a chance we can make a splash next season, although I think it’ll be a 6-10 season since it’ll be the first year under a new system with a new QB. But there’s a chance and that’s all that matters to me. That never existed under Fisher. It’s fun to have hope.

Go Rams!

Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America

Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America