Young And The Winless?
For the Philadelphia 76ers, last season will go down in the record books as one that would like to be forgotten. The team finished the season 19-63, qualifying for the third worst in franchise history. They also managed to tie the record for the longest losing streak in history of the NBA, losing 26 straight. The season wasn't all bad however, new comer Michael Carter-Williams won the NBA's rookie of the year award, giving Philly fans something to smile about. The team took an interesting approach going into the 2012-2013 season, basically coming out and saying they will be tanking the season in order to put themselves in a better position to land a top 3 draft pick. Some loved the strategy, some hated it. One thing that every fan could agree on, we cannot wait until we're competitive again. With greats that have gone through the franchise such as Dr. J, Wilt Chamberlain, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson, Sixers fans have been spoiled in witnessing some of the greatest to ever do it play on their home court.
The off season was full of positive vibes and upbeat people leading into the NBA lottery. To start off the rebuilding stage, the Sixers traded veterans Spencer Haws, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen, all of them being key role players. Philly had tanked the season and this was our chance to land a top pick in the draft. Everyone and their dog was excited about the possibility of picking Duke star Jabari Parker or Kansas phenom Andrew Wiggins, either of which would be terrific building blocks for the future. Lottery day finally rolls around... Fingers crossed... We somehow land the third pick. Everyone is stunned.
The previous year, we were able to trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for their 6th overall draft pick, freakishly athletic center Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky (who sat out the entire season rehabbing a knee injury suffered in college). Knowing that we had a big man who the whole city was excited about ready to lace them up this season, Joel Embiid was not even talked about as a possibility of landing in Philly. Who needs two 7 foot phenoms on the same team? Days before the draft was scheduled to begin, news broke out that Joel Embiid, the highest ranked player coming out of college, suffered a broken foot that would require surgery which would make him unavailable to play this season. The Cleveland Cavaliers had the first pick, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks, both of which needed as much help down low as they could possibly get. Draft day comes along, Cleveland is on the clock, Andrew Wiggins goes first... Milwaukee on the clock next, Jabari goes second... Third pick rolls around, how do you pass on Embiid? Sure, he's hurt and hopefully not injury prone, but you cannot pass on the most highly rated player in the draft. The Sixers take Embiid and he looked pretty thrilled about it.
2014 Season & Beyond
With Embiid being sidelined due to foot surgery and Carter-Williams sidelined for some time with a shoulder injury, the start of the 2014 season should be an interesting one. Many skeptical fans are full of questions and still are not too sold on this whole "rebuilding" thing. Where is the scoring going to come from? How is Nerlens going to look alone down low? Who the hell is Casper Ware? All these questions will soon be answered. You can take 2 approaches to this season. 1, be negative and not give them a chance. 2, be positive and think of all that could be. How about when Embiid is back and healthy? There was a reason that everybody was so high on him leading up to the draft. How about when rookie of the year MCW is back throwing lobs to Noel? The future is bright in Philadelphia. Every struggling team has to start somewhere. With the big 3 of Embiid, Noel & MCW, I am liking where we are at and where they could take us. There's just one thing I ask, in 3-4 years when the Sixers are making noise in the Eastern conference, remember reading this article.