Back around this time in 1983, the Houston Rockets were the worst team in the NBA, just playing out the string, waiting for the draft. Later that year they would choose the best college player of his day, Center Ralph Sampson with their first round pick, and the next year they would pick number one again and get Hall of Fame Center, Hakeem Olajuwon, but nobody knew any of that then.
The Rockets' woes had also been compounded that year by the sudden retirement of their best player, 27 year-old forward Robert Reid who left the NBA to become a minister (he would later stage a comeback), all of which moved their coach of the time, Del Harris, to say, "everyone on this team belongs in the League, just not all on the same team."
Call it Harris' Law and it's true of most losing teams in most professional sports but especially in the NBA where the League's salary cap, which in theory promotes parity, in practice makes it difficult to make the trades that build a losing team into a winner.
The result is an over reliance on free agency, the draft and prayer, even as some players get paid millions not to show up, and other players who could help somebody, languish on their own team's bench.
And it's why the spectacle around Carmelo Anthony this month or where LeBron James was going last summer is a snapshot of everything wrong with the League, but I don't want to go there right now; we'd never get to the playoffs.
No, I just want to see the two teams I've been watching all season, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Golden State Warriors get a little bit better.
Right now the Warriors are not a good team but they are one of the most entertaining teams in the League to watch, owing mostly to the guard play of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. Ellis, a 6'2" scoring guard, is probably the best kept secret in the League. When he's on, Ellis cannot be stopped, and is almost always the quickest, most skilled player on the court.
His backcourt mate Stephen Curry, while not quite as physically talented, is the rare player who not only makes shots for himself, but also for everyone else on his team. Curry is in his second year and still developing as a point guard but the comparison many people make is to Steve Nash and that seems about right.
The problems with the Warriors are 1) their lack of a dominant big man, and 2) Curry and Ellis are too small to play together on Defense.
With very few exceptions, you win with Defense in the NBA, mostly because you can count on it every night, while your Offense is necessarily going to be hit or miss.
This means that the Warriors are either going to have to get a premier big man, trade Stephen Curry for a physically dominant point guard, or both.
Which brings us to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers went into this season widely mocked around the League, mainly because they are one of the few teams in the NBA without a go-to-scorer. That's the Law in the NBA; you have to have a go-to-scorer.
However unlike the Warriors, the Sixers, under coach Doug Collins, a former star guard with the team, will probably make the Playoffs this year--with Defense. The problem for the Sixers is that to advance in the Playoffs they're going to need more.
As it happens, the Sixers have a very talented, 6'4" twenty-year old point guard, Jrue Holliday, with exceedingly long arms, who is developing into just the kind of offensively skilled, but defense first, point guard the Warriors need to play with Monta Ellis.
Stephen Curry meanwhile would be the piece the Sixers need to become a really good team, a true point guard who is also a go-to-scorer.
The trade then is obvious: Jrue Holliday, the Sixer's number one draft choice in 2012 (to replace the Warriors missing 2012 first pick, from their ill fated deal for Marcus Williams) and shooting guard Jodie Meeks, to the Warriors for Stephen Curry and talented young power forward Brandon Wright, currently wasting away on the Warriors bench.
The Warriors could then turn around and trade the Sixers' 2012 number one pick, along with underachieving, 24 year old Latvian center, Andres Biedrins to either Dallas for the older but stronger, Brendan Haywood or to Sacramento for Samuel Dalembert depending on which deal could be made.
These are all good trades that would help both clubs, work under the salary cap; that could be made, but won't be.
I love Basketball, that's why I hate the NBA.