Two days ago Charles Barkley’s took some time off from playing “turrable” golf and then put down his Taco Bell five buck box for a second in order to utter some apparently well thought out comments on the state of the Philadelphia 76ers. Chuck’s comments produced very spirited debate here in Philly as many Sixers fans were enraged while others among the faithful were left nodding their heads in approval.
Here at Philadunkia we’re just as divided on Chuck’s comments as the rest of 76ers nation, so we have decided to look at both sides of the spectrum.
In case you missed it, below are Chuck’s words of wisdom:
“Why is Doug Collins trying to win games?” Barkley told Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s stupid. They should develop the young guys and try to get a better draft pick.”
“Doug’s a great coach. Don’t get me wrong,” Barkley added. “But sometimes coaches get carried away with their own egos. But in a situation like this, it’s not about them.”
After the jump, Philadunkia scribes Nabeel Ahmadieh (pro) and Kevin Jones (anti) “debate” Sir Charles’ comments.
Nabeel’s take: Pro Barkley
I’m not for losing games on purpose. That is idiotic. However, Charles Barkley has some validity behind his outlandish statements. You have to take a look from the same perspective as Barkley. Not from a one-year standpoint and competing this season. But from a perspective looking to build a title contender within the next five years.
Realistically, if we make the postseason and get a seventh seed what good does that REALLY do for us? I can already predict what would occur: we’d likely face either the Celtics or Heat and be ousted from the postseason discussion in four games. His belief is that it would be better to get a lottery pick, hope to find a superstar within the first 14 picks and develop him to become a competitor alongside Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner for years to come.
Barkley understands that this team will never be a championship contender if they’re led by veterans Elton Brand and Andre Igoudala. Brand is past his prime and simply a role player for an elite team at this point in his career. Igoudala is best suited as a No. 3 option for a championship team.
Although, I don’t agree with losing games on purpose. If this team didn’t make the playoffs, that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Keep building towards the future! In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure many fans would rather build towards the future and hopefully compete for championships in a few years, instead of getting swept in the postseason this year.
Kevin’s take: Anti-Barkley
Sometimes Charles Barkley just says things to get a rise out of people. He can’t be serious with his recent statement about Doug Collins can he?
The Sixers just aren’t a tanking team; they put forth to much effort on defense. Coaches around the league have been complaining about the lack of effort from its players but that’s something you rarely hear Doug Collins grumble about in postgame pressers. And who exactly blows you away in the 2011 NBA Lottery? It can’t be Jared Sullinger, another Ohio State tweener. There are many potential busts among the expected 2011 rookie class.
Getting the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference may lead to an embarrassing sweep on national television, but judging on recent history, it will almost certainly be the exact building block this young Philadelphia team needs.
Here is a list of last four eight seeds in the East and what they did in the two years following their push from mediocrity to eventual stud basketball team.
2010 & 2009 – Chicago Bulls: Because of their impressive first round performances against Boston and Cleveland, free agents like Carlos Boozer become more enticed to sign with an up and coming team.
2008 – Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks shockingly pushed the Celtics to seven games behind young players with minimal playoff experience. Sure the Hawks aren’t truly considered NBA Finals contenders at this point, but talk about a rebuilding project that was further launched because of the tough playoff push.
2007 – Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard’s second season ended with a sweep to the top seeded Detroit Pistons. But since that defeat, Orlando has catapulted themselves to an NBA final appearance and one of the most feared teams in the entire League.
Look, I know those three teams have more elite scorers but the Sixers possess much more youth and energy. And a big-time playoff performance can turn above average players into budding stars (Joakim Noah, Josh Smith).
Philly will probably have to take the Bulls route of two straight lower seeds before any possibility of the glory day’s return. But wouldn’t you rather have young players like Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and Jodie Meeks get the feel for the grind it takes to make the postseason, as well as the actual enhanced playoff atmosphere itself?
Then, realistically in two-to-three seasons teams like the Celtics will dismantle and new spots on the totem pole will be up for grabs. It’s like moving up the food chain.