The days of Dr. J, Moses Malone and hell, even Allen Iverson are long gone in the City of Brotherly Love. Your 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers are not playing for titles or even a .500 record – this team is a failure by design. GM Sam Hinkie has the full blessings of ownership to tank to gain as many lottery balls as possible. The hope is to land that elusive top pick which Philadelphia would hope to turn into the future NBA superstar that will take them back to the promised land.
Well unfortunately, no matter how perfect that plan sounds on paper, the Sixers have been unable to execute it. Some of it has been bad, such as your prized piece in 2014 being #3 overall pick Joel Embiid, who has yet to play in a single game and is expected to sit out 2015-16 due to setbacks with his surgically repaired foot. On the bright side,he will have more time to hone his Twitter game.
So where does one find positives on a team that finished 2014-15 at 18-64 and, if it wasn’t for the dumpster fire that was the New York Knicks, would have had the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Well, let’s start with their #3 overall pick out of Duke University, Center Jahlil Okafor, who people have pegged as the front runner for Rookie of the Year honors, as well as a 20-point, 10-rebound a night performer. He is the most talented player on this roster right out of the gate. He won’t be competing alone on the front line this season. He’ll be paired with Nerlens Noel, who finished 3rd in ROY voting after missing the entire 2013-14 season due to injury. Noel has the potential to turn into a double-double machine, but his money will be made on the defensive end as well as on the boards. If Okafor and Noel work well off one another, they could be the blocks on which Philadelphia builds for years to come. This would also make Embiid expendable, if he can ever regain his health.
After that things get a bit harder to see as positives, but bear with me, we are going to try. Most people will tell you that trading former ROY Michael Carter-Williams was a mistake. I am not one of them. I don’t see how keeping him around on a team designed to tank was helpful. There was also that draft day fiasco – the Sixers took Elfrid Payton with the 10th pick (only to trade him later that night) which noticeably didn’t sit will with MCW. They seem to have found a diamond in the rough (sort of) in Tony Wroten. On the surface his 16.9 ppg and 5.2 apg look great, but keep in mind he missed a big part of the year due to injuries. Also, Wroten had never averaged more than 13.0ppg before last season. So one has to wonder if Wroten is simply a product of more chances on a bad team. Can he sustain his success over a full season? And if he does, will he just become another trade casualty? This is the Sixers after all. Be on the lookout for Wroten’s backup Isaiah Canaan. Unlike Wroten, increased playing time and more opportunities will help this former 2nd round pick really blossom into something special. Don’t be surprised if he is starting by mid-season.
So a team that is dead set on rebuilding thru draft did nothing outside of Okafor to suggest any of the players drafted will be anything more than fliers. Not to mention they drafted all frontcourt help and have about 120 feet of centers and power forwards. The 2015-2016 Sixers are like local road construction. You can see them working on it but always have to wonder if they will ever get it all finished. This season is another ping pong ball grab and nothing more. Sure it’s nice to say #InHinkieWeTrust, but when will Hinkie and the ownership put a clear plan in place to help the City of Brotherly Love make it back to being relevant, not only in the Eastern Conference but the NBA as a whole?
Season Prediction: 19-63 and that’s being generous, if no one gets traded.
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