It Is Tough To Cheer For The Sixers

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Philadelphis 76ersIn 2012, the Philadelphia 76ers were coming off of their first victory in an NBA Playoff series since 2003 and the future appeared to look bright for them. The Sixers had a terrific mix of veterans and young players as they looked like they were on the cusp of being a contender in the Eastern Conference. But since that time things have gone drastically south for the 76ers. In 2011, the Sixers were purchased by a group led by Joshua Harris who has severely mismanaged the team.

After the 2011-2012 NBA season, the 76ers were a part of a four-team trade that saw them acquire center Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers. In the process longtime Sixers small forward Andre Iguodala was traded to the Denver Nuggets and center Nikola Vucevic was sent to the Orlando Magic. For the 2012-2013 NBA season Bynum never played one game for the 76ers as a knee injury kept him sidelined and he would leave Philadelphia after the season as a free agent. In that same season Iguodala would help the Nuggets win a franchise best 57 games while Vucevic evolved into one of the league’s top rebounders with the Magic.

Sam Hinkie

Sam Hinkie

For the 2012-2013 NBA season the Sixers went 34-48 and some changes were made in their front office. Tony DiLeo was replaced as 76ers general manager by Sam Hinkie. Doug Collins was fired as Sixers head coach and former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown took his place and the team has been stuck in the Bermuda Triangle of futility ever since.

At the 2013 NBA Draft, the 76ers traded point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for center Nerlens Noel. Holiday was named as an NBA All-Star in 2013 with the Sixers ¬†and he had just received a contract extension. But the new regime in Philadelphia didn’t see Holiday in their future plans. With the 11th overall pick of that draft, the 76ers would find Holiday’s replacement as they chose point guard Michael Carter-Williams. This past season Carter-Williams would average 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds as he became the first Sixers rookie since Allen Iverson in 1997 to be named as the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.

Heading into last season the 76ers were expected to be bad and they lived up to those expectations as they only managed to win 19 games. In the middle of the season Hinkie officially threw in the towel when he traded center Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for power forward Earl Clark, center Henry Sims, and a pair of second-round picks. Hinkie followed this up by sending small forward Evan Turner and power forward Lavoy Allen to the Indiana Pacers for small forward Danny Granger and a second-round pick.

Last season Noel never played for the 76ers as he was recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered in college at the University of Kentucky. Granger was immediately bought out by the Sixers as he would go on to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Now in the wake of all of these moves by the Sixers, power forward Thaddeus Young is the only remaining member from Philadelphia’s playoff squad in 2012.

The 76ers came into the 2014 NBA Draft with seven picks and in the first round and you cannot help but be skeptical.

The 76ers entered the draft with the third overall pick which they used on former Kansas University center Joel Embiid. In his one season at Kansas, Embiid was the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as he averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game. Towards the end of the regular season Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his back that forced him to miss the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Leading up the draft Embiid suffered a broken foot that could possibly sideline him for the entire 2014-2015 NBA season. Now for the second consecutive year the Sixers have a lottery pick that will be the equivalent of a collegiate redshirt. Due to last year’s trade with the Pelicans, the 76ers had the tenth overall pick of the draft which was used on former Louisiana-Lafayette point guard Elfrid Payton. With Carter-Williams as their point guard of the present and future, the Sixers immediately traded Payton to the Orlando Magic for Croatian forward Dario Saric who was the 12th overall selection of the draft.

Noel and Embiid have potential, but what good will that potential be if neither player is healthy enough to contribute?

Last season the 76ers tied an NBA record with 26 consecutive losses and they also had 46 losses by double-digits. By giving up 109.9 points per game last season the 76ers were the worst defensive team in the league and while they were also one of the worst offensive clubs. With nearly $32 million in salary cap space Hinkie and the 76ers needs to make some moves that will put some life back into their fan base in Philadelphia and South Jersey.¬†Hinkie and Brown are going to give the youngsters a chance. But unfortunately for the fans in Philadelphia, Julius Erving and Moses Malone are not walking through the door anytime soon at the Wells Fargo Center and if they are it would just be for an autograph session. The 76ers have not won the NBA Championship sine 1983 and by the looks of things they won’t be hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy anytime soon.

Sources: Basketball-reference.com, sports-reference.com

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