Philadelphia 76ers: The Masters of Tanking
What’s your view on the Philadelphia 76ers? Because the rest of the world don’t exactly class the Sixers as a championship calibre team.
On the court, the Sixers aren’t the best to watch right now, and to be honest, they haven’t been for a couple seasons. The last two seasons combined the Philadelphia 76ers have a 53-111 record, not great by anyone’s standard. But stay strong Sixers fans, there may still be a silver lining.
In the 2013 draft, the Sixers drafted point guard Michael Carter-Williams with the #11 overall pick, who would then go on and win Rookie of the Year honours. MCW’s on court brilliance was mostly all the Sixers had to smile about though, because fellow Sixers draftee, Nerlens Noel, spent the entire season on the sidelines. The Sixers gave up All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to acquire the pick to select Noel, they must know something about the injured, former Wildcat that we don’t.
The following off-season, in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Sixers chose to draft Kansas big man Joel Embiid with the #3 overall pick. They also traded for the Croatian born, highly coveted Dario Saric on draft night, who will play out his contract in Turkey. Saric was taken with the #12 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Here’s why the the Philadelphia 76ers may be the smartest drafting team in the NBA.
First off, in the 2015 NBA Draft, the 76ers not only have their first and second round picks, but have the Miami Heat’s first round pick, and have acquired another three second round picks. Whether they actually use these picks, or send them in a package for a proven player is yet to be seen.
Nerlens Noel suffered a torn ACL while playing for the Kentucky Wildcats and Joel Embiid had surgery on a broken foot only weeks before the 2014 NBA draft. Prior to these injuries, both players were predicted to go #1 overall in their respective drafts, and come into the league as predominant rim protectors.
If all things go to plan in Philly, both would-be dominant big men, will sit out the first season of their NBA careers, while Saric progresses in the Turkish league and comes back to the Sixers NBA ready. While their team mates compete on the NBA hardwood, but fail miserably. The 76ers will receive another high pick in the 2015 NBA draft, and in 2-3 years time, they could truly be a fun team to watch. That is of course completely depending upon health. If both Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel recover, and become all that they were predicted to be before their injuries, the 76ers will be one of the hardest teams to score against.
Imagine having to first get by Michael Carter Williams on the perimeter, and then once you do, having to manage to get to the rim that Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid are protecting. Sure, the 76ers will need to find a couple of starting quality players to really cement themselves a team to watch. But this team will probably have another high draft pick at the end of this season, as well as a lot of cap room.
The Sixers actually don’t reach the floor of the salary cap for the upcoming season. The entire roster of the Philadelphia 76ers, will earn less than Amare Stoudemire for 2014/15.
A team boasting a roster of a healthy Michael Carter-Williams, Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric, with future early first rounders all of a sudden doesn’t sound so bad. Throw in a few notable veterans with the cap space available and we may have a 76ers franchise capable of making the playoffs. Only time will tell.
Cameron Wilkosz – @cavaliercam13