Last season, the Philadelphia 76ers were on a mission: to “Tank” for Andrew Wiggins. The young Canadian stud was viewed as the best player with the most upside in the 2014 NBA Draft and Philly were determined to get him, going so far as to intentionally be bad in order to land their man.
Unfortunately, the Cleveland Cavaliers came out of nowhere to win their third No.1 pick in four years, meaning Philly had to settle for the third overall pick. All the work the 76ers had done to get the top pick, including trading away any and all players that could help win games, wasn’t enough.
Still a huge success
Still, owner Joshua Harris described the 19-63 season (which was the second worst record in the NBA) as “a huge success.”
“I think the season has been a huge success for us," Harris said, back in April. "All these pieces are in place to make this an elite team that will compete consistently for the NBA championship. There are no shortcuts to it. Unfortunately, it takes a long time. I'm really happy with the progress."
From the sounds of that, Philadelphia isn’t done tanking just yet. It looks like their “rebuilding process” involves stinking up the joint yet again in order to obtain one or two more high draft picks. However, the NBA is working on a plan to prevent that.
As things stand, the team with the worst record has the highest odds of winning the top pick at 25 percent and the team with the fifth worst record has an 8.8 percent chance. The League’s new proposal, though, would structure the whole thing in a way that gives all the bottom five teams an equal chance to win the lottery.
As you would expect, the Philadelphia front office has been against the new plans because it potentially puts their multi-season rebuilding process into ruins, therefore they want to delay the new rules coming into play. But support is unlikely.
“The 76ers are hoping to get the NBA to delay plans for at least a year because it acts as a de facto punishment while just playing by the rules that have been in place.
“However, they may have a struggle to gain support from Adam Silver or fellow teams on holding off the changes. Philadelphia's planned sink to the bottom has caused a drag on revenues in one of the league's largest markets and it is has upset some fellow teams.”
In the past couple of years, the Sixers traded for Nerlens Noel and selected Michael Carter Williams with the 11th overall pick last season, then went on to add Joel Embiid and Dario Saric with the third and 12th draft picks this year.
Carter-Williams went on to win Rookie of Year honours last year. However, a knee injury forced Noel to sit out the year and the same seems to be on the cards for Embiid, after the Cameroon-born big man had to have surgery to repair his broken foot. Saric is healthy but the City of Brotherly Love will have to wait a season or two before they can see the Croatian strut his stuff on Pennsylvania soil.
Long Story Short
The future looks bright for the Philadelphia 76ers. For now though, they are primed for another awful season – maybe one that will put them in contention as the worst team in NBA history. Who knows, it may even feature a losing streak longer than 26 games.