Before the regular season started, there seemed to be some speculation (I include myself among that group) that the 76ers might just contend for a playoff spot. In the very early preseason, in that first week of training camp, when this team’s ability was judged not yet against another NBA team inside an arena, but by watching the players against one another on the practice court, fighting for a playoff spot seemed a distinct possibility. A new coach, a handful of new players, a No. 2 draft pick, but as soon as the preseason games began – and, yes, we know preseason games are difficult to judge – there was little doubt that this would be a difficult season.
One preseason game in particular, the one against the Cleveland Cavaliers played in Roanoke, VA, looked particularly disturbing. There was a distinct vibe on the court that was worrisome; the game was a complete waste in terms of serving any purpose whatsoever except for highlighting the Sixers’ shortcomings: there was little cohesion, J.J. Hickson was a monster on the boards, there was a certain sense of disconnect. Sixers coach Doug Collins was not on the bench for that game (which probably contributed to the poor play) because he had returned early to Philly to deal with vertigo symptoms.
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