Hey Guys, I've kind of been lurking in the darkness for the last couple of years following the Sixers, and kind of stopped caring all-together with the tear down this season seeing as I no longer remotely know any player on the team save Mr. Thad, but here's a hypothetical for you: can, or will, the Sixers make the play-offs in the next three years?
Now to start off, While I fully supported Hinkie's strategy of rebuilding the team, and thought it was the best possible routhe, its made me somewhat of apathetic as I have found more joy following the Grizzlies (loved them when they were horrible, they were horrible for too long followed sixers, then when they got TA, Randolph, Gasol, slowly shifted back to Grizz), and Nets (Love me some PP and Garnett). While what Hinkie is doing is fun and all, Its not NBA2k14, so we can't sim seasons, and I don't really want to wait 5 years to care gain. Regardless, neither here or there, but an interesting thought popped into my head. If, hypothetically, Brett Brown and Hinkie go 4 straight years (1 already in the books), missing the play-offs, won't they get fired even if this was absolutely the right choice? Now while its nice to say, we'll have 5 lottery picks over the next 3 years, realistically, who in the East are the Sixers going to pass up?
First off, for at least next year, Heat are in the playoffs. The two after that depend on who stays and who goes, so if LBJ dips, that might be an opening (crazy to think Heat might be lottery bound in 2 years). Pacers, while recently having an epic break down, should remain a play off seed for next 3 years on sheer talent alone. Toronto is young, athletic, and is basically what the Sixers hope to become so they're not going anywhere. Bulls, with D-rose back, and Noah, Gibson, and Thibs are most likely not missing play-offs any time soon either. Thats 3-4 spots locked up. Wizards, in my eyes, with Wall, Beal, Nene, and Gortat are pretty good locks for shoo-ins for next 3 years, unless of an epic collapse. I don't see the Sixers crew finding a way past them save for a very good pick up or trade; they have their 2 rising stars, as well as a lot of veteran leadership. Add a coach, and they might be top 4. Nets are a wild card, but I expect they make it at least next year, and after KG and PP retire, they still should be talented enough with D-will to force a way in for the two years after that. Bobcats with Jefferson and Kemba are only getting better, adding a piece or two and they might be a contender within the next year, and Hawks are getting an all star back with Horford, to compliment a developing core of Millsap, Teague, and Demarre Carroll (loved him since his days in Mizzou, so happy the Velociraptor found a niche in the league.).
Not only that, but you must account for the Cavs putting all their eggs in one basket to find a way to push for the play offs, and the Celtics in a position as strong, (in my opinion much stronger; but kinda biased :P), with Rondo, Sully, Jeff Green, cap space and 2 picks this year, thats another two teams that might push their way past the sixers.
I'd go out on a limb saying MCW and a bunch of rookies ain't making the play offs next year either, so in the two years following that, who do you think the sixers have the best chance of eclipsing to make the play offs, and what moves would you make to get there? Go all young-ball focusing on MCW, Noel, 2 lottery picks this year and one most likely next year, and hope they all grow and develop, or start flipping draft picks / assets to pick up strong veteran players, for example an Eric Bledson or Lance Stephson? While I doubt any full-blown super star on the level of LBJ, KLove, or Durant would consider coming to the team in the next 3 years (for reasons of the roster make-up, location, and market), sixers theoretically could look to speed up the process through trades or signings, but at the expense of young lottery talent / development time for their own future lottery picks.
In Conclusion, while it's nice to think that sixers are going to make a quick turn-around, it seems to me that for the next 3 years there's a fairly good chance sixers don't sniff play offs. With six of the play-off spots solidifying for the forseeable future in the form of Pacers, Bulls, Toronto, Wiz, Hawks, and Bobcats, the only two teams in limbos in my eyes are Nets (with the aging core / how they address the future) and Miami (basically, do they keep LBJ or not. Not to mention Wild Cards in the desperate Cavs, Celtics with Ainge and his All-star Rondo / assets, and Orlando, a team arguably with as much talent / potential as the Sixers, if not more. And remember NBA ain't NFL, there's less year to year-turnover in play-off seeding; once a team gets to "that" level, there's a good chance it will remain there for a while. And while the Hinkie decision to tear everything down was a nessecary evil for the long term future, can you stomach four years straight of no play-offs? Thoughts?