The Philadelphia 76ers players and brass met the media for the first time on Friday and one question that was never asked was their playoff chances. I think it is assumed by the media mass and fan base that the Sixers will be going through a “re-building” season.
The key is that they at least have a direction. For years the Sixers played around in basketball purgatory not quite good enough to be an elite team but not a bottom dweller either. A seven or eight seed was a yearly occurrence. This is the worst place to be if you are a franchise. It puts you out of the lottery where a majority of the premium talent is found and leaves you at no shot at a championship either.
New Sixers GM Sam Hinkie came in and “blew it up”. He traded away All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday in exchange for Nerlens Noel and a top-five projected first-round pick in 2014. He also drafted Michael Carter-Williams to be the heir apparent to Holiday giving the 21-year-old the keys to be the next point guard. This took some guts for Hinkie to do.
Holiday, by all accounts, was the face of the franchise. The Sixers are now going in a new, fresh direction that the fan base should embrace. No doubt next year and possibly the next two years will be painful. However, along with young talents in Noel and Carter-Williams the Sixers have primed themselves to be major players in the Andrew Wiggins derby come next June. They also will potentially have another lottery pick acquired for Holiday in a potentially stacked 2014 NBA Draft. Not to mention, a quality head coach in Brett Brown who is a master at player development. The perfect candidate to coach a young team.
This time next year, the Sixers could be fielding four lottery talents, two from one of the most loaded draft classes in recent memory, and also have a ton of cap money to play with in the free agency and trade market.
Brace yourselves Sixers fans. It is going to be a rough year but brighter days are ahead for this Sixers team.