After all, the Hornets have been off since Saturday while the Sixers lost to the Orlando Magic last night. And with Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, and Joel Embiid each out tonight, the Sixers are much shorter on talent than they’d usually be.
Only Jeremy Lamb and Roy Hibbert are expected to miss tonight’s game for the Hornets.
These aren’t the same Sixers as last year, though.
Sixers top brass coerced former general manager Sam Hinkie to resign late last season, opening the door for “special advisor” Jerry Colangelo to hire his son, Bryan Colangelo, as the team’s new general manager.
The junior Colangelo told fans that the Sixers would be building something tangible and meaningful — a shot at Hinkie, if I’ve ever heard one — rather than flaunting an abundance of draft picks amidst a sea of losses.
That didn’t translate to much change on paper. The Sixers brought in Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson, and Elton Brand to establish some semblance of leadership on the young squad.
The 76ers have always been well-coached under Brett Brown. Their record the last few seasons (47-202) is indicative of a lack of talent, not poor coaching. They run their sets and dig in on defense.
But talent is important. And for that reason, the Hornets should have no trouble pulling out a win.
Kemba Walker will weave through screens and leave Rodriguez grasping at loose threads. Nicolas Batum will throw defenders off by thinking one play ahead and moving without the ball. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist matches or exceeds the intensity of whatever the Sixers put out there.
There’s always a chance the Sixers put up a fight. They did lose to the Magic by just two points last night after leading for a good portion of the game.
But without Embiid — and even with Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Nik Stauskas, and Hollis Thompson — the Sixers aren’t very talented.
There’s a lot to work with over the next few years, but little to work with today.
Let’s get this W.
Tip off is at 7 p.m.