The Sixers have been downright terrible for the past three seasons, thanks to a strategy put into place by former GM Sam Hinkie that was designed to put the team in the best position possible to land a No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
Hinkie’s plan was flawed for a variety of reasons, but it did achieve the desired result. Philadelphia won the draft lottery and selected Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in 2016, and fans are so excited by what Simmons might bring that (via Philly.com) they’ve been buying up his jerseys at a rapid rate before he’s even played in his first regular-season game.
Since draft night, Fanatics.com is reporting that in terms of merchandise sales, Simmons is the 10th-best seller among National Basketball Association players. He's the highest-selling Philadelphia athlete in all sports across the Fanatics platform of hundreds of e-commerce sites, which includes SixersShop.com – the Sixers' official team store.Fanatics.com ranked the top 10 NBA player sales from June 23 to Aug. 31. In this order, they were: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook, and Simmons.
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It’s only a stretch of two months, but the fact that Simmons’ jersey has already cracked the league’s top 10 in sales speaks volumes about the optimism the fans in Philadelphia are finally feeling after bottoming out for three years straight.