On Tuesday, March 4th, The Sixers played the Oklahoma City Thunder and lost 125-92. Up until this point in the season, I was making an effort to watch as many of the Sixers' games as I could in order to see the development of MCW, Hollis Thompson, Tony Wroten (and foolishly/embarrassingly Arnett Moultrie) and the effectiveness of Thad Young as a first option. As I watched this game, however, I felt bad for the Sixers for the first time all season. I was extremely happy when Sam Hinkie was hired because the franchise finally had a plan and I immediately got on board the tank. However, as a former "player" on an atrocious intramural basketball team, I know that losing a lot is super frustrating especially when you are losing due to a talent disparity. I am left feeling sorry for the players and coaching staff for suffering, but am extremely excited about the future of this team.
Despite my excitement, I am also extremely anxious about the lottery. There has been a ton of talk about how wrong tanking is and it has me worried that the Sixers could be hurt by this talk. The lottery has always been shady to me. It is a perfect way for the league to create favorable outcomes for the profitability of the league. Cleveland wins when hometown kid Lebron is the prize (albeit they did have the best odds) and are given the top pick again after Lebron leaves(1) (via Clippers pick, 2.8% chance at top pick). Chicago wins the lottery when Chicago native Derrick Rose is the prize despite only having a 1.7% chance at the top pick. New Orleans wins the lottery (13.7% chance at top pick) when they are still owned by the league and looking for a buyer. I fear that the league will, for lack of a better word, "punish" the Sixers for tanking. I know this makes me sound paranoid but being a fan of Philadelphia sports for a long time has made me very pessimistic. The Lakers and Celtics are the prime candidates to get the first pick in my eyes.
My ideal situation would be the Sixers drafting Wiggins with their own pick. I would probably rank Parker after Wiggins then Embiid(2). With the Pelicans' pick I hope we can find a partner for Noel like Randle or Vonleh or a scorer/shooter depending on what the Sixers do with their own pick. I will be crazy nervous during the lottery. I'm hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.
I have seen several posts/comments suggesting the Sixers as a landing spot for Kevin Love either through a trade or down the line as a free agent. I think there is little to no chance that Kevin Love will sign here. After next year, MCW will have completed his second year and our 2014 picks and Noel will have just completed their rookie campaigns. Regardless of the promise they show, Kevin Love will either sign with LA or be traded to Phoenix, Boston, LA, or Chicago(3). I do not think trading for him would be wise because it would deplete our talent and future assets. Let's say we pull off the deal; in my opinion, there is no chance he stays with us and there is no way he signs an extension after the hypothetical trade due to the lack of talent the team would have as a result of trading for him.
I do not think the Sixers will be able to land a top free agent unless a star emerges from our picks. Stars want to sign with established stars. I could be wrong and one or a combination of Noel, MCW, and the rookies could really develop next year into fringe stars and the rebuilding process would speed up. If our prospects do develop into stars (PLEASE HAPPEN) I think a realistic time frame would be 3-5 years from now. This is when we can make a splash in free agency. For now, I hope the Sixers maintain their cap flexibility while our talent develops allowing us to collect assets and be in a favorable position when the time is right to add an impact free agent or even trade for a star.
This offseason I think the Rockets and Bulls make a push for Melo putting us in position to acquire future assets. Kind of off topic here but I think a huge storyline will be the Big 3 in Miami if they do not three-peat this year. If Lebron decides to leave, and I'm Chris Bosh, I'm opting out and signing with Houston. He is the perfect complement to Dwight Howard and should be Houston's number one target, not Melo. Either way, the Sixers should pounce at the chance to acquire assets.
I hope the ping pong balls bounce favorably for the Sixers and hope that if they do sign free agents they are more developmental players(4). I feel immense hope but even more anxiety as the Sixers approach the lottery. Regardless of what happens, I am hopeful overall because of the leadership and plan the Sixers have implemented. In Sam Hinkie I Trust.
1. After Lebron left Cleveland, Dan Gilbert wrote his butt-hurt ex-GF letter. What is often forgotten, however, is that he wanted to have an investigation about potential tampering. The Decision was great for the NBA because it created a villain. Perhaps David Stern offered Gilbert favorable lottery outcomes if he toned down on the tampering talk. I buy too much into conspiracy theories, I know.
2. Embiid would be 2 but his back injury scares me until more information is provided during the team examinations.
3. These are the teams that have assets to trade for KLove (except for LA, would need to be a 3 teamer) and teams that I think Kevin Love would agree to sign an extension with after he was traded there which is a key point for any team that is trading for him.
4. I don't want to make the playoffs next year because of the lottery protected first owed to Boston next year. THANKS DOUG COLLINS.