The uncertainty surrounding the rest of this season is pretty much gone now. I should say the uncertainty as to which players will be on the roster is gone, the uncertainty as to what the rest of the season will hold is very much alive. After the jump, we'll talk a bit about what the next 29 games could hold.
By the way, there's absolutely no significance to the picture atop this post, I just hadn't used Jason Smith all season, so he got the nod.
Anyhoo, as I'm sure you could tell from my demeanor during last night's SixersBeat, I'm at a low. I was one of the few who was arguing against trading away Iguodala at the break, so from that respect I guess I'm satisfied. Of course, in the back of my mind I deluded myself into the slim hope that Ed Stefanski could somehow pull a rabbit out of his hat like Daryl "The Wizard" Morey.
As I'm sure you're aware by now, Stefanski did next to nothing instead. The Jodie Meeks trade was basically meaningless. Best-case, he's a slightly better version of Willie Green, but I think that's his absolute ceiling.
So where does this leave us in the short term? Well, no place good. We have a coach who is desperate to save his job. A GM who either can't or won't fire him, even though he's come out and said the team is more talented than their record. Where I come from, that means the coach has failed. We have a coach who said, "I don't care if they score 200 points," the other night and a GM who said, "Our first priority is defense." This is the direction of our beloved team, and I, for one, have absolutely no idea what to expect.
There is talent on this roster, to be sure. They are more talented than their record. I even believe they're in the top half of the league, talent-wise. They're capable of beating anyone, on any given night. Unfortunately, it's rare that we see the level of effort, concentration and toughness needed to rise to the occasion, and I think it's going to become rarer still as the losses continue to pile up.
Could they go on a 10-game winning streak? No. I don't think so. Not this season, not with this coach playing these head games, not with no light at the end of the tunnel. I just don't see the motivation there. In the past, they were a young group playing to get into the playoffs. Those hopes will be dashed in the next handful of games, and this coach has absolutely no ability to keep the locker room together and focused, especially not the young guys who tend toward selfish, destructive play anyway (looking at you, Lou).
So what do I expect? I expect to see some horrible, horrible basketball. For a second there, I thought maybe the certainty of playing out the rest of the season here may give the roster a small bump. Then I realized the only thing that's certain is that they're going to be jerked around by Eddie Jordan for the remainder of the season, unless he can somehow lose his job. The rotations may tighten as Jordan inches closer to his dismissal, but it still won't make sense. And we're still going to see stupid lineups on the floor, and we're still going to have undefined roles, and we're still going to see Lou and Iverson in the back court together, Willie and now Meeks taking minutes from Jrue, Sammy sitting the fourth quarter. Nothing's really going to change except Jordan is going to give even more minutes to his "vets" so they can "get it done."
Fortunately, Eddie Jordan coaching for the short term isn't all that much different from a normal coach trying to lose every game.
My expectations for the rest of the season? Well, they couldn't really be lower. I think 10 wins is a stretch.
I know how most of you guys are feeling today, trust me, I'm right there with you. But how do you feel about the fate of this team over the next 29 games (beyond apathy)? Do you see a surprise run coming up, or do you think this team is on the verge of hitting rock bottom?