I'm waiting for my flight to Portland, where tomorrow night the 76ers play the Trail Blazers and last season's starting point guard, Andre Miller. A lot has changed this season, not just Miller's departure, but seeing him again might get you thinking about what exactly has happened to this team.
The e-mails I get from Sixers fans include a bunch of different reasoning. Some believe when the Sixers lost Miller, they lost the last player on their roster who could provide veteran on-court leadership and that this season's team has no veteran leadership (and perhaps no leadership at all). Right now, this appears very true. Not necessarily that Miller would have this team somewhere they're not, but that this team doesn't seem to have someone that stops in-game slides. Look at last night, the Sixers are ahead 19-15. Just under 4 minutes later, the Jazz have scored 17 points and are ahead 13 ... game over. During this run, pretty much everyone out on the court just sort of let the run happen, waited for it to be over (it ended on a three-pointer by Jrue Holiday). You would think the leadership would come from either of two places: Andre Iguodala or Elton Brand.
Perhaps earlier in the season it came a little from Lou Williams, but he's been out for a chunk of time and is just working his way back into form. Brand is now coming off the bench, so he seems worried about what he has to do, and not really taking on the role of getting the entire team in order. Iguodala appears a little disheartened, like it's taking most of his energy just to get through a game, let alone provide any leadership. Both these guys seem worried about their own games and for Iguodala, that includes passing and getting his team involved, but there doesn't seem to be a huge portion of energy going towards keeping this team together during games.
In conclusion: The Sixers look lost. So it's easy to fondly remember Miller and remember how smoothly last season's second half seemed (although at the time it didn't seem smooth at all).