Philadelphia 76ers: How Did We Get Here?


When will the rebuilding end and the winning begin for the Philadelphia 76ers? A fan’s perspective on how difficult and how it feels to support the team

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The art of “Tanking” has destroyed basketball just as bad as the steroid era in baseball. Some teams can’t help it, but certain teams do whatever is needed to make sure they will have a bad year. The Philadelphia 76ers have been on a rebuilding/tanking tear for the past few seasons and there seems to be no end, unfortunately, in sight for my hometown team.

What I am showing is not a all-out hate-fest for the 76ers, I was born and raised in North Philly, I played ball on the old Spectrum floor, paid my dues as a fan. But I know what I have seen over the past five years and can’t a soul tell me otherwise.

It started with the trade of Andre Iguodala. Granted, he wasn’t the superstar many was hoping he would be, but he was a solid player that gave his all to this team and the city. After Iggy was shipped out, they went and did the unthinkable, traded away all-star point guard Jrue Holiday. When that happened, we knew what was going on.

Two seasons ago, Michael Carter-Williams proved to be a bright spot for the struggling, yet rebuilding franchise as he won Rookie of the Year. There was another rookie on the roster, too, but Nerlens Noel had an Andrew Bynum-like season and he sat out with knee problems. Could he have played that year? Maybe. In my opinion the team sat him out with future ping pong balls in mind.

The team was banking on being so bad that they would guarantee themselves the No. 1 pick and a shot in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes. Didn’t work out for them.

They ended up drafting another possible Rookie of the Year in Joel Embiid, who ended up missing the whole year last season and will also miss this upcoming year. Embiid is going through the Greg Oden injury book page-by-page, and it’s a shame because the Philadelphia 76ers have clearly thrown in the towel.

Here’s why.

With the 3rd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Jahlil Okafor. At that moment it was a done deal for Embiid in Philly. The PR brass can try to spin in however they like, but there is only so much space in the frontcourt.

Goodbye Embiid, hello future.

Many fans wanted the team to select a much-needed point guard and that may have been the safest selection, but a talent like Okfar couldn’t be passed up. Unless you’re the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe D’Angelo Russell – or Emmanuel Mudiay – would have been a better pick to pair with Noel, but they wanted to build around bigs instead.

The roster is still incomplete, as there is no real shooting guard or small forward on the roster. But, hey, maybe players like Kendall Marshall, Hollis Thompson, Nik Stauskas or Robert Covington will step up and produce on a level the team needs to dig themselves out of the gutter?

The Eastern Conference is still a wide open race, but how bad are they trying to be involved in it? I expect a big season out of Noel and Okafor but, beyond them, I am at a loss. Coach Brett Brown seems to be a great coach, but this has to be an ulcer waiting to happen type of situation he finds himself in.

Sixers GM Sam Hinkie has a plan and that is to build through the draft, but how many drafts does the man need to build a winning team? There is something called free agency, maybe he needs to try out that foreign path and get some quality players in here that can produce.

It’s okay Sam, we won’t think any less of you. Does he really think that a Kevin Durant or LaMarcus Aldridge will just fall into his lap?

Despite having only 37 wins combined in the last two seasons, they are not quitters, and I know deep down they want to prove everyone wrong and show they are not as bad as their record indicates.

The Philadelphia 76ers could have still built their roster through the draft and free agent signings, but instead took a potential Eastern Conference powerhouse and turned them into the laughingstock of the NBA.

But still, I cheer them on. I was raised to do so; I enjoy doing so. That is still my city, still my team and, regardless of where they end up at the end of this season, I will still ride for them. The front office has a plan and I’m pretty sure the players have their own. As for the fans, we just want and need a reason to cheer and support our team.

That’s just really difficult to do right now.

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