The Sixers’ season hit its absolute nadir this Tuesday, with the team’s double-digit home loss to the arguably league-worst (and almost certainly league-least-talented) Orlando Magic, which was followed by 11 minutes of Doug Collins laying his team to waste while wearing the grin of a man desperately trying to disassociate himself from his situation. The press conference was severe enough that we got “The Sixers are really bad and it’s actually kinda your fault Doug Collins” type columns from both Grantland and ESPN proper, and just about every Sixers writer in the country raced to their Twitter account to be the first to vehemently agree.
To make matters worse, the Sixers played on national TV last night. Every NBA season, there’s one or two teams whose over-ambitious preseason projection gets them an uncomfortable number of nationally televised games, and this year, it appears to be the Sixers, who lost to the Bulls last night in a 93-82 loss that was far more embarrassing than the final score would indicate. A sampling of representative Sixer blogger tweets:
Sarah McLachlan African child commercials…#thingsbetterthensixersbasketball
— Jeff McMenamin (@SixersBlog) March 1, 2013
Seriously I’ve seen enough of Turner arguing calls for five lifetimes. Why am I doing this to myself. Spike go to bed.
— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) March 1, 2013
*start button* “Are you sure you want to sim the remainder of the regular season?” #Sixers
— Liberty Ballers (@Philly76ersBlog) March 1, 2013
We’re on TNT against the Celtics again next week, by the way.
So where was Bynum through all of this? Well, if you have the answer to that, please do let Coach Collins and GM Tony DiLeo know, since they don’t seem to have a clue. Bynum was supposed to talk to the press before the Magic game, but he never materialized, turning out to never even have been in the building. Or maybe he was. Or maybe there is no Bynum. Or maybe there was no building? Asked about Bynum’s absence in his now-infamous postgame presser, Collins gave an incredulous, “Am I My Bynum’s Keeper?” type response, as if you were asking him about one of his grown sons that he’d long since stopped attempting to answer for. My guess is that any questions Collins is asked about Bynum for the rest of the season will be answered with a frustrated, mildly accusatory, “You’ll have to ask him that.”
It’s hard to get too mad at Collins for getting publicly flustered at the Andrew Bynum experience, since it’s all pretty mild compared to what we’ve all gone through personally as fans. It’s getting late early in this here NBA season, and though the Sixers have long since said bye-bye to the prospect of postseason relevance, it’s not too late for Bynum to throw us a late-season bone — potentially even a parting gift — by suiting up and playing for 10-15 games, giving us the slightest glimpse of what could have been. And then once you consider the possibility of that, the wheels start turning, and you think of Bynum playing alongside a still potential-laden Sixers core, and with a fairly decent draft pick to boot earned in the process … maybe it doesn’t have to be a completely lost season?