Sunday, November 03, 2013

If This Be Tanking....

Picked by nearly everyone in the civilized and uncivilized world to finish dead last in the NBA this year, and in the process challenge the all-time record for losses in a single season held, incidentally, by an earlier iteration of the same team, the Sixers have charged out of the starting gate and won their first three games.

No one, not even those prone to place a $2 bet on the longest of long-shots, saw this coming.  In his heart of hearts, new coach Brett Brown probably didn't either.

It isn't likely to last, but if these guys don't re-read the script soon, they're going to blow it and win too many games to enter the record books not to mention gather enough bouncing ping-pong balls to land the top choice in next year's draft.  Rumor had it the Sixers planned to tank this season to insure the balls literally bounced their way.  So, what's going on?

Can't nobody get it right around these parts?

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Well, as a matter of fact, some teams do know their place.

The Flyers have gotten off to an astonishingly dreadful start thanks in no small part to the inept GM Paul Holmgren, who fired his coach after three games and then made one of the trades that has become his trademark, that is, the re-acquisition of a player previously traded.  Steve Downie was described by his new coach as the kind of player "every team needs", which begs the question why has he been traded three times in seven years???!!!!

Downie, a goon who can skate and score (erratically), began his second stint with the Flyers by getting pummeled in his first game back, suffering a concussion in the process.  I guess coach Berube should have added "...needs in the lineup."

Holmgren leads this team by panic and rash moves.  He is quick to fire, reacquire and rationalize.  His owner, Ed Snider, bristles at any suggestion this franchise has lost its way, but the sad truth is the Flyers are becoming also-rans who overspend and don't develop their own players.

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Meanwhile, the Eagles are perhaps the most surprising team currently engaged in activity at the moment. New coach Chip Kelly was supposed to be an offensive "genius", but his team has scored exactly three points in two games, the defense having outscored the offense by recovering a fumble for a touchdown last week against the Giants, the only other points of the time in question.

NFL games are analyzed more closely and ad nauseum than any other human activity of the Fall and Winter in these United States including general elections and the stupidity and venality of Republicans.  Everyone and his cousin has an explanation for the Eagles' ineptness, including injuries to the mediocre corps of quarterbacks, the loss of split end Jeremy Maclin in training camp, a new offensive scheme, a new defensive scheme, the lack of quality cornerbacks and safeties, etc..  In other words, where to begin?

Whatever else you say, the offensive is boring.  Their so-called hurry-up pace hasn't phased any defenses as far as I can tell.  It probably confuses the offense more.

Chip Kelly may indeed turn out to be a genius, but for right now all his has been is living proof that a coach is as successful as his players, and right now he doesn't have many good ones.

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