So, the interminable 2009 NBA Playoffs have begun, and you just don't want to waste your time watching meaningless games while waiting for the inevitable Cavs-Lakers NBA Finals.
I understand because I don't either. This is partly because the NBA playoffs are as bad as the NHL playoffs are good, and partly because the product in the NBA is just awful (Heat-Hawks Game 1?).
Well, if you must watch because you're a sports fan like me, do the fun thing and pick an underdog team to root for.
Good idea, huh?
Pick a team that isn't supposed to win their series and watch them, maybe even put a few bucks on them to cover a game or two.
If that seems like a good idea, then that team should be the Sixers, especially after last night's Game 1 against Orlando.
Why? Well, I'm glad you asked.
While the NBA is full of teams with stars that seem to compliment marginal supporting casts, the Sixers trot out a mix of young swing men (Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young), retreads who have somehow regained some semblance of talent (Donyell Marshall, Theo Ratliff), and the NBA's most underrated player in point guard Andre Miller.
Iguodala, the team's best player, is by no means a top-tier star, and his imperfections make him a wild card who may kill the Sixers (witness his missing two critical free throws with a minute left and a chance to tie Game 1 in Orlando) or kill their opponents (witness his game-winning jump shot over Hedo Turkoglu with two seconds left).
Marshall and Ratliff are two of the last guys you thought you'd see playing 20 minutes a game in a playoff rotation when this year began, and Young and Williams can absolutely jump out of the gym.
While these NBA playoffs are going to showcase the league's "Mt. Rushmore" of stars—Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard—pay some attention to the little guys in Philly who think they might just be dumb enough to upset the vastly overrated Magic, and have already taken home-court advantage from them.
Thaddeus Young: "We're going to get them back."
Donyell Marshall: "I have no conscience."
Andre Iguodala: "I was amped to try and get the game won for us."
Those were post-game reactions from after Game 1. With these mindsets and unabashed giddiness, what's not to love about this team?
If you're going to suffer through the first round of the NBA playoffs, you might as well root for an underdog, and the young, star-less, impressively-mediocre-for-82-games Sixers are the perfect fit.