It’s going to be hard to be a Philadelphia 76er this season. It’s no joy to be a fan of them this year, but the losing that everyone knows is coming will not be fun for coaches or players either.
It can be tough to build good habits, a good work ethic in the midst of getting smoked eight out of 10 times you walk on the court. The Sixers lost their last four preseason games, all by double digits, and while you can say “it’s just preseason” this is one trend likely to carry over into next week. It’s not a matter of effort from the players, it’s how management chose to put together a team.
Thaddeus Young is trying to be a leader this season and to teach his young teammates how to be professionals in the face of adversity, as he told Gordie Jones at CSNPhilly.com.
Young said he has talked to his teammates, telling them, “We can’t lay down for 82 games. It’s a long season. If we lay down for 82 games, it’s going to be an even longer season. Guys are going to get frustrated. Guys are going to get stressed out.”
I’ll ignore the incorrect use of lay/lie to say Young is right.
The challenge for the Sixers through this season will be building a foundation for future success. When the losing piles up and piles on the motivation to keep working, to keep doing things right fades. It can be a cancer that destroys the foundation they are trying to build. It’s one of the risks of this strategy, of going bad to get good — even if you land Andrew Wiggins in the next draft, you may need to clean house to change the team culture again so you can grow with him.
Brett Brown has a tough job ahead as a coach for the Sixers this season. At least he has Young on his side.
“I have to help lead,” he said. “I have to help teach them. I’ve been talking to Coach, each and every day — basically just going in there (to Brown’s office) and going over a lot of game tape. I’m learning on the fly, and I have to teach on the fly also. … Sometimes it does get to you a little bit, but with these guys, they listen. They try to retain all the information we’re putting in. They’re very receptive.”