COMMENTARY | If there's a better story than the play of the Philadelphia 76ers so far this season, I want to hear it.
I'll wait a minute while you ponder these and other headlines.
Dwight Howard lifting the Houston Rockets (4-1)? Not a surprise.
The Indiana Pacers (4-0) racing off to a fast start? Indiana's good. Very good.
Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1) looking playoff-bound? It was just a matter of time for the T-Wolves to show Love some love.
Time's up. You've got to admit it, right?
The Sixers (3-1), who were predicted to be the laughingstock of the league, are the lede story in the NBA. Though, it's early in the season, they're the ones smiling now and might get the last laugh.
After stunning the two-time defending champion Miami Heat 114-110 in their home opener, they knocked off the Washington Wizards on the road 109-102, and then shocked the Chicago Bulls 107-104 to start the year 3-0.
On Monday night, they were routed by former 76er Andre Iguodala (32 points, seven 3-pointers) and the Golden State Warriors 110-90 for their first loss of the season.
But, seriously, how much can you expect from a team with a 9,999-1 chance, according to the Las Vegas oddsmakers, to win the NBA championship?
Before the preseason, I thought the 76ers would eke out 20 wins this season. I thought rookie head coach Brett Brown and his young bunch would start the season 0-5.
I didn't think the Sixers would win their first game until this Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers and, perhaps, my city's most hated athlete, Andrew Bynum, at the Wells Fargo Center.
So, to the Philadelphia 76ers, I was wrong about your win total and the start of your season, but, hey, so were the so-called experts.
Which has been my point for years: Experts really don't know jack about all the teams around the league at the start of the season. The top 10 best and worst rankings. The Eastern and Western Conference previews. The final predictions.
Oftentimes, most experts know as much as you, me and the die-hard fans living in the city.
Statistics sometimes lie. Injuries frequently occur. Life always happens.
So, to the NBA experts, let's wait and see how well Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry gel with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez before you say the Brooklyn Nets have a shot to beat the champion Heat.
In the Sixers' case, no expert could've predicted Sixers rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams winning the Eastern Conference Player of the Week the first week.
Carter-Williams went off in his pro debut, almost posting a quadruple-double (22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds.) A one-game fluke? Nope. Three nights later, the rook poured in 26 points and added 10 assists with three steals against the Bulls.
Furthermore, no expert could've predicted the Sixers' rookie head coach getting his message through to his young group so soon and building an identity so quickly for his team.
While low on talent, the 76ers are high on spirit, energy and fight.
In all three wins, they were down by close to or more than double-digits and clawed back to win. That's saying something from a 15-man roster that includes four rookie, two second-year and two third-year players.
Lastly, no expert could've predicted all three key Sixers veterans -- Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes -- being on the same page and all-in with the team's rebuilding plan.
This is most likely their last season in Philadelphia, and each has played big so far for the 76ers, particularly the 7-foot-1-inch Hawes, who is averaging 15.8 points and 10.5 rebounds through the first four games.
So-called experts can analyze teams and conferences and give predictions before and during the season. But when that ball goes up at mid-court, it's game time and real players play.
Sure, the Sixers are colossal long shots to win the title. They should be. It's still a stretch for me to say they'll win 30 games this season.
But I can say this: They'll be more fun and competitive and win more games than the experts and I thought.
Notes: The Sixers are back in action tonight. They face the Washington Wizards (0-4) at 7 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center. ... Wizards head coach Randy Whitman was fined $20,000 for using profane language during the press conference after his team's loss to the Sixers last week in Washington. Can't wait to hear what Whitman says tonight if his team loses again to Philly and goes to 0-5.
Dwayne C. Nelson lives in Philadelphia and has been a Sixers follower since the days of Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney and Bobby Jones. Follow him at dcntweets.
More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Washington Wizards