So Are We Buying Or Selling?

July 10, 2013 Randy Neil

It’s been an interesting week for the Phillies and the looming questions of whether we are buying or selling keeps getting postponed with each victory.  Ruben Amaro, Jr. has been very vocal about his trade-deadline decisions and the weight he puts on these current series to affect them.

Essentially, if we continue to have success, then he isn’t going to “sell” off some of our assets, and if we come up short in making up some ground in the division, then he’ll most likely tank the team for the rest of the season and begin trading players.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ruben.

Amaro, Jr. was very critical of Ryan Howard before his injury came to light, stating that he was playing below his potential and not living up to his contract.  A contract, mind you, that Amaro Jr. was very pivotal in creating.  There’s a lot of criticism I have for RAJ, but putting these intense expectations on a team right before the trade deadline may be one of the worst yet.

Sure, this past week has been pretty delightful.  There’s a lot more passion than usual and these divisional series have been great.  One question, though:

What happens if the Phillies lose tonight?  It’s a very realistic scenario that could bring this high soaring fantasy back to a reality.

With these two wins against the Nationals, I’ve seen an onslaught of Phillies fans claiming we need to stay the course and that our comeback is right around the corner.  There’s arguments to support it, and there’s plenty of arguments against it.

A startling fact that CSN made me aware of is our starting rotation’s quality start output.  Through the first half of our season, even with the injuries to Lannan and Halladay, the Phillies have led the majors with 58 quality starts.  In spite of Hamels’ poor record, almost everyone is aware that it doesn’t reflect his skill level and potential.  Perhaps that is indicative of our entire season and entire team.  Maybe, we are finally righting this ship and our talent is starting to catch up to our record.

There’s still huge inconsistencies with our offense.  Ryan Howard being out 6-8 weeks, regardless of what anyone says, is still a huge hurdle in this rally to become relevant again.  In spite of Domonic Brown’s stellar All-Star caliber first half, our offense has been outscored by leaps and bounds drawing huge question marks around this trade deadline.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to keep this entire team together and make a push towards the playoffs.  The NL Central essentially has dibs on the two wildcard spots, so I see our best hope being the division title.  If the past week has been any indication of our drive and talent, then things seem hopeful.

The question remains, though: If we lose tonight, or tomorrow, or both… what does that mean for us then?

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Can We Just Name Michael Curry The Coach Already?

July 8, 2013 Randy Neil

With the news of Adam Aron stepping down as CEO of the 76ers, Scott O’Neil has been named the current CEO of the franchise.  Along with a new general manager, the Sixers have revamped almost their entire front office and yet there is still one prominent vacancy that stands out this off-season.

We don’t have a head coach.

That fact has been lingering around ever since Doug Collins departed in April (March if we’re being honest.)  The Sixers haven’t been very vocal in their search for a new coach, either.  There really hasn’t been much press regarding who we are interviewing, who are the candidates, or likely favorites, which leads me to believe that Michael Curry is going to fill that role.

Which, I’m fine with.  If you aren’t familiar, Curry has been the 76ers Assistant Coach to Doug Collins for the past few years and acted as the Head Coach for the Pistons during the 2008-09 season.  His record was 39-43 with Detroit.

From my very diligent reporting and observation, Curry seems to be a player favorite in the locker room.  During Collin’s somewhat ugly final months with the Sixers, there was even talk of the player’s preferring Curry’s leadership over Collins.  Doug has always endorsed Curry’s ability to coach and praised him during their tenure together.

With a lot of the high-profile coaching vacancies filled, I’m preparing for the announcement of Michael Curry to become our head coach pretty soon.  Curry is currently coaching the 76ers’ Summer League team in Las Vegas as we speak.


Papelbon Has Crazy Eyes… And Ideas

July 7, 2013 Randy Neil

Not for nothing, but Papelbon has been having a pretty stellar season so far.  Jonathan currently has 18 saves and boasts a 1.87 ERA.  Not too shabby, especially with our bullpen in awry the way it is right now.

My only complaint is that Papelbon tends to say some terribly stupid things, and have terrible opinions, and probably is a terrible person inside.

Much like Spencer Hawes, Papelbon is a “red-blooded” American that thinks our government is out to take our guns and infringe on our freedom, etc, etc, and has no problem saying so.  He has every right to say these things, but I reserve the right to judge him for that.

The latest newsworthy opinion came when JP was questioned about Yasiel Puig’s All-Star chances.  Not only did he pronounce the kid’s name wrong (which confuses me because baseball coverage talks about him on a daily basis), but he referred to the notion of him being on the ballot as an “absolute joke” because of Puig’s short tenure in the majors.

Normally, something like this would be a reasonable statement (albeit bold and somewhat inconsiderate), except for the fact that Papelbon made the All-Star team in his rookie season, as well.  Granted, JP had played all 86 games leading up to the All-Star game that year, but is it really that ridiculous considering Puig’s stats?  He’s having the greatest start as a rookie since Joe Dimaggio.

Narrow-minded opinions like this just make it hard to enjoy your talent, Pap.


The Arsalan Kazemi Dunk Reel

July 4, 2013 Randy Neil

The NBA draft played a huge role in shaping the 2013-14 76ers, and one of the most entertaining prospects we acquired during that period is Iranian-born Arsalan Kazemi. Originally drafted by the Washington Wizards, he was traded to the Sixers and has sort of played to the Philadelphia fan-base since arriving.

Questions like this are going to get you a ton of Philly love –

So, while we await the start of the season, gaze at his dunk reel in awe.


76ers Deny Hiring Brett Brown…. So Far

June 28, 2013 Randy Neil

Welp… that was a bender of a night, and unfortunately, the lady we took home to bed turned out to be a grotesque, out-of-shape, Big-Momma’s-House esque female.

What I’m saying is, general manager Sam Hinkie is now denying the report that the 76ers hired Brett Brown as their head coach. In spite of the crazy draft moves, we are still without a head coach, even though if you Google Brett Brown there’s still SEVERAL reports claiming that this is true.

It sure makes it hard on us guys who passionately write about a pretty crappy basketball team on their own free-time…


Sixers Hire Brett Brown, Trade Jrue Holiday for Noel Nerlens

June 28, 2013 Randy Neil

What is going on with the Sixers?? In one day, the 76ers organization traded their 23-year old All-Star point guard away, named a head coach, and received one of the most sought-after centers in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Brett Brown was the Spur assistant coach and served under Greg Popovich for almost a decade. He also coached the 2012 Australian Olympic basketball team. I know absolutely nothing else about him. I’ll wait a few days to let this sink in and form my opinion, but if he’s anything like Pop, I’m on board.

Jrue Holiday was traded in the first round of this year’s draft for Noel Nerlens and a first-round 2014 pick. They followed that by drafting 6’6″ point-guard Michael Carter-Williams as the 11th pick, to whom I also know very little about.

This is a huge day for the 76ers and for new general manager Sam Hinkie. It shakes up the team quite a bit and it really leaves some pretty big question marks around the team.

The first that comes to mind… can we start building a team around people without huge question marks surrounding their health?

Noel Nerlens is coming off of an ACL injury which tends to be pretty disastrous for an NBA athlete. We traded away our only All-Star, a very young one at that, for a center that may have injury problems for his entire career. If it works out, great, but like that Bynum trade, this move can look really foolish in retrospect.

That also makes me believe that the chances of resigning Bynum have dwindled to nothing. This pleases me. Maybe for good measure we can give him a huge deal, though, and have two centers with knee problems.

Sam Hinkie has made some interesting moves in his short span as GM and they do not follow the conservative route. I guess I’m happy about that. The 2013 April team looks nothing like the team now and he’s probably going to make a lot more moves before the season starts. Something had to be done.

Let’s just see how it pans out. Btw, if you search the site for Doug Collins, you’ll find a post written by Adam from 3 years ago when Doug Collins was hired. Scary.