The 76ers season opens tonight against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. Well, how did we get here? For those of you without the benefit of flash photography, or at least who didn't care enough to keep track of everything that's happened all summer, here's a summary:
The Sixers entered the 2014 NBA Draft with 2 first round draft picks and 5 second round draft picks. With their two first rounders, they picked two high-upside players who in all likelihood will not play in the NBA this season in Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. They will likely play only two rookies this year that they had drafted: second rounders K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant.
Number 3 overall pick and potential future franchise savior Joel Embiid, as I'm sure you're aware of, has a twitter account. While rehabbing from surgery, he had a lot of time on his hands.
Thaddeus Young was finally freed, months after requesting a trade from the team. He was sent to Minneapolis for Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute. Luc, who may be referred to in shorthand as LRMAM, is a prince from Cameroon. Embiid is also from Cameroon, and LRMAM both "discovered" Embiid and has acted as a mentor for him since Embiid started playing basketball.
The Sixers acquired last year's number one overall pick, Anthony Bennett, and then they didn't.
Through trades, the team has acquired three additional future draft picks since the draft ended. In total, those trades cost Thaddeus Young, a hefty price, and no one else that the team was not planning on releasing.
Dario Saric, who will not come to the United States for at least two years, played well in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. He also lost six teeth in one game.
The team did not sign an NBA free agent until Sunday, when backup big Malcolm Thomas got a contract.
The Sixers enter the season with more cap room than ever thought possible, though they've reduced the cap room amount through recent trades for Travis Outlaw and Marquis Teague, who both had guaranteed contracts and were both waived.
Michael Carter-Williams injured his shoulder last season and had surgery over the summer. Initial reports indicated a need for a 4-month recovery. As it turned out, the timeframe was more like 6- to 9-months. He will not play tonight, but should be practicing on November 6th, 6 months to the day of the injury announcement.
In good news, Nerlens Noel is healthy. He'll play tonight, and has looked great in limited action in summer leagues and in the preseason.
The common over/under for this year's Sixers is 15.5, which is worse than last season's then record-setting 16.5. Yes, Las Vegas expects the team to have an even worse record than last season, when they lost 26 consecutive games. You may have blacked out for that.
Finally, NBA teams, annoyed with the Sixers' completely legal but frowned-upon strategy, tried to pass lottery reform which would have made a strip-down rebuild like Sam Hinkie's more difficult to achieve. The worst team's lowest possible draft pick would have changed from 4 to 7, and the odds of obtaining the number 1 draft pick for the worst team would have been more than cut in half. Once expected to pass with a vote of 29-1, in need of 23 votes to pass the NBA's Board of Governors could only muster 17.
Thus, the tank rolls on. Welcome to Year 2 - it's going to be a bumpy ride.