Starting Five: PG Michael Carter-Williams, SG Evan Turner, PF Thaddeus Young, C Spencer Hawes, and whoever/someone else
Key Bench Players: Royce White (who?), James Anderson (WHO?), Tony Wroten (WHO??!?!!?), Jason Richardson (syke!)
Offseason Additions: C Nerlens Noel, PG Michael Carter-Williams, Head Coach Brett Brown
Offseason Subtractions: C Andrew Bynum, PF Andrew Bynum’s hair, PG Jrue Holiday
FACT OR FICTION: This new 76ers regime that Sam Hinkie has put together will be the team of the future.
FACT. Fiction as hell.
The Sixers are going to be bad this year. Very bad, in fact. Where three years ago they were playing the Heat in the playoffs, they now will be aiming to set a new franchise record by losing more games than the 1972-73 Sixers (who hold the NBA record with 73 losses). This is a franchise that has skipped the weak ass sh*t, went straight for the heavy stuff and nuked this team’s mediocre present, to hopefully solidify an excellent future. Starting when they let Andrew Bynum and his afro walk and/or stumble away into free agency and then continuing with the whirlwind of the 2013-2014 NBA draft where they traded pre-prime/quasi-star Jrue “I-Jraw-Good” Holiday to the newly anointed New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel (effectively ruining the funniest/most clever draft choice the Nerlens’ Pelicans will ever make) and a 2014 first-rounder, the Sixers have poised themselves for a historically terrible season.
But that’s a very good thing.
When acquiring Nerlens from Nerlens, ‘scuse me, New Orleans, the Sixers also got their first round pick next year as long as it falls out of the top 5, effectively entering them into the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes next year. Acquiring a franchise altering player such as Wiggins with the inside, defensive presence of Noel and the perimeter game of Michael Carter-Williams would breathe life back into the perennial 8th seed team. And if Evan Turner feels the pressure of his looming free agency next summer and plays like the 2nd overall draft pick he is, the Sixers could have potential trade bait or even just a semi-veteran leader on their team to usher in the new era.
In order for all of Sam Hinkie’s plan to fall into place though, this team has to lose a significant amount of games. That shouldn’t be a problem as they will undoubtedly throw Michael Carter-Williams into the starting point guard position so that he can be free to make as many rookie mistakes as possible. Also Noel will be sitting out this entire season he recovers from his torn ACL and maintains the Sixers’ “All New Centers Must Sit Out a Full Year” game plan. And even if you remember that the corpse of Jason Richardson is on the team it wouldn’t matter as it is recovering from 1000+ micro-fracture surgeries in its meniscus which sounds ominous. This leaves the Sixers with a ragtag band of misfits that will be very hard to watch, unless you’re into three’s clanging off the backboard or Evan Turner’s signature missed floaters. The days where Philadelphia was a lock for the sixth, seventh, or eighth round playoff seed are very far away.
The only real positive that will come from this season is that their rookies will get quality playing time at the pro level. As mentioned before, Michael Carter-Williams will be a lock as the Sixers’ starting point which will be hard to watch as he grows into the NBA as a facilitator. And if Nerlens can fill out his slight frame this year, he will be able to grow into more than just a defensive specialist and hopefully become a legit scoring option (something he wasn’t at Kentucky). These facts are obviously givens, but no one would be surprised if we were watching an entirely different team by the end of the season. Sam Hinkie is still $12 million under the minimum salary cap and will likely stockpile veteran players in exchange for draft picks and trade assets to make a serious push in next year’s draft. Also new head coach Brett Brown will most definitely win the award for Most Mailed It In Coach of the Year. The guy literally has to do nothing except make sure the team doesn’t win too many games, which is like asking tree not to move.
As a fan of the Orlando Magic, I can most certainly relate to the Sixers fans out there that will have to watch their team go through this nuclear winter there is a clear plan in place that could have the Sixers contended in a few years. That being said, a lot can also go wrong with this plan as nothing in the 2014 is for certain yet. Only time will tell.
Best Case Scenario: The Sixers bottom out and the Pelicans win more than 25 games, effectively gift wrapping a high first round draft pick to Philly.
Absolute Apocalypse: Evan Turner single-handedly wins more than 10 games for the Sixers in an attempt to get paid during next summer’s free agency ruining their chances at a high draft pick.
Expected Outcome: 5th in the Atlantic, 15th in the Eastern Conference
Do you smell what MAMBINO is cooking? Check out the rest (so far) of our 2013-2014 NBA Season Preview series: