The NBA released its preseason schedule on Thursday, with seven exhibition games on tap for the Sixers. The preseason represents the only time this season the fan base can wholeheartedly root for victories before the team boards the Tanktanic. Philadelphia will start out with two games overseas, first playing Bilbao Basket in Bilbao, Spain on October 6. Rumor has it Andrew Bynum laid the groundwork for this contest earlier this year in between flamenco dances. Then, on October 8, the Sixers will take on Oklahoma City in Manchester, England. With his international pedigree, new Sixers coach Brett Brown will surely provide a leg-up on the competition for these two match-ups. It was a savvy move by management to bring Brown in to focus on securing these first two victories.
Back stateside, the Sixers will first strike up some publicity for the 87ers by hosting a game October 11 against the Celtics in Newark, DE. After facing Rajon Rondo and the current stripped-down Boston roster, Philadelphia will take on some former Celtics, as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and the rest of the Nets come to the Wells Fargo Center on October 14. The two franchises could not be any more of polar opposites, with Brooklyn completely disregarding the salary cap ceiling and Philadelphia entirely unconcerned with the cap floor.
The Sixers will next travel to Charlotte on October 17, where they’ll get a sneak peek at one of the teams they’ll be in a dogfight with all year for the worst overall record. They will then face the Cavaliers October 21 on the Ohio State campus. If Evan Turner doesn’t take 30 shots that game, I’ll be shocked. Finally, the Sixers’ preseason finale will be October 23 at home against the Timberwolves. My prediction is that while Minnesota rests its starters the final three quarters to prepare for the regular season start, Philadelphia goes all-out and narrowly edges the Wolves’ reserves on a Spencer Hawes fadeaway 20-footer at the buzzer. After all, if he can drop 58 points in a Pro-Am, what better environment to replicate that than a preseason game against a disinterested opponent. Either way, the stage is set. They have the coach, the roster, and the schedule. Hopefully, the losses will come early and often, but a few feel-good wins in the preseason wouldn’t be too bad.