76ers on same level as Pistons?

Essentials

  • Teams: Philadelphia 76ers (6-11) at Detroit Pistons (6-10)
  • Date: December 1, 2013
  • Time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons were supposed to be contending for the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference standings at the very least. They are in the exact spot that was projected for them and yet it still feels as though they are underachieving.

They will host the Philadelphia 76ers today (early start!!) in the prestigious “6-Win Bowl Game” that features two teams with six victories. Sounds exciting right? Meh.

The 76ers have lost three straight games and sport one of the worst scoring differentials in the east. Three players can legitimately make the claim they are the top guy on the team (in no particular order): Evan Turner, Michael Carter-Williams and Spencer Hawes.

That’s it. Seriously, have a look at the names on the team. No one in the arena today will be quaking in their shoes because that trio will be on the floor. This is not to suggest they are scrubs, but rather that they are not elite or even All-Star caliber players.

The roster is a reflection of the direction of the organization. Philly never planned to contend for a postseason berth in 2013-14. They blew up the team during the offseason and made the decision they were going to tank. The upcoming draft class simply seems far too impressive and consequently, the 76ers want lottery balls.

And yet, they have the same amount of wins as the Pistons. I’m letting that one sit for a second.

16 games in, the Pistons are simply not good (small sample size alert!). They have one thing they can hang their hat on and that is offensive rebounding. Everything else is mystery worthy of Dan Brown’s writing skills.

Detroit lost their last game to the Los Angeles Lakers despite leading by double digits to start the fourth quarter. The Purple and Gold converted 20 free throws and also hit 14 triples in that game. That’s a testament to the Pistons’ inability to stop people and boy did it bite them hard in this instance.

To be fair, weird things happen over the course of an 82-game schedule and Wesley Johnson gashing an opponent for 27 points certainly qualifies as such. But still, Detroit has a talented frontline and thus, they simply should be better.

Josh Smith has All-Star talent while Greg Monroe may very well earn a max-level contract or something within its range. Andre Drummond actually has a chance to make the All-Star team this season provided that a few things break right for Detroit.

And yet, they have the same amount of wins as the tanking 76ers. The term “must win” is often overused in sports and also, if we are being realistic, it does not apply in this case for Mo Cheeks. Mind you, failing to beat a Sixers team at home that is trying to lose is certainly bad for team morale.

There is time to right the ship and that starts with beating teams that seem allergic to collecting wins (I realize the irony in that last sentence given that Detroit has a sub-.500 record).  A quick glance at the schedule reveals that this has actually been the Pistons’ modus operandi in 2013-14.

They have feasted on the league’s worst and struggled with everybody else. Perhaps all they need to do is remain in character for this one and win going away…

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Tags: Philadelphia 76ers THN-PHI

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