Philadelphia 76ers Force NBA Teams To Question Their Rebuilding

The Philadelphia 76ers have at least one star player on their roster, and perhaps will discover two stars by seasons end. With a January 2017 record of 10-5, the other rebuilding teams must now determine if their rebuild can be as effective.

The Philadelphia 76ers never made a secret of their plans. Even if you did not read it in print, you could trace the pattern out with little difficulty.  You see, the Philadelphia 76ers had almost nothing to work with when Sam Hinkie took over the team in 2013.

The team boasted a 34-48 record. But the team was dying from the roots up. And so, the Philadelphia 76ers refused to follow the NBA’s cadence, refused to try dealing veteran good players for younger “might be good” risks.  In fact, the team converted virtually all the good players into draft picks, loaded up on young talent, and tried to see who the team could develop into quality NBA players.

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So many believe the team tanked to get the number one pick of the draft. Even at number one, the odds of finding a difference maker was too low.  The front office of the Philadelphia sought volumes of picks. And more often than not, the team hit on their prospects.

T.J. McConnell and Robert Covington were unclaimed by an NBA Draft. And yet, they are 40% of the most effective 76ers starting lineup.  The team routinely picks injured players in the NBA Draft, not to lose games, but because those players are undervalued.  The team also took a chance on international player Dario Saric with the same theory.

In the end, it’s the unorthodox players who are helping the 76ers find success now.

The process

The process

Compare

In 2014, the Bucks, 76ers, Magic, Jazz, Celtics, Lakers, and Kings were among the worst team in the NBA.  Today, it’s the Nets, Suns, Lakers, Magic, 76ers, Pelicans and a tie among the Timberwolves, Mavericks, and Kings.

Three years later, and the Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, and Los Angeles Lakers, all adhering to the “rules” of NBA rebuilding, are no further along. But the Philadelphia 76ers are among the group?

Ah but there is a catch. (You had to see this one coming). The Philadelphia 76ers have a solid franchise player in rookie center Joel Embiid. And the team has yet to witness just what rookie first round draft choice Ben Simmons can do for the team.

Compare the status of the Orlando Magic, the Sacramento Kings, or even the Los Angeles Lakers right now.  How close are they truly to turning the corner?

The Kings have an excellent player in DeMarcus Cousins, but fail to find complimentary players each year.   The Lakers had better draft position than the 76ers, but have chosen good pieces – good pieces that are still losing games.

Jan 18, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) rebounds the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 94-89. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 18, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) rebounds the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 94-89. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Where’s the Franchise Guy?

Even the good teams now, like the Boston Celtics, are still looking for “that guy”. And that guy may not happen for a long time. You see, the Celtics will be forced to pay huge sums of money to retain their core players, and hope the 2017 draft can net them “that guy”.  But for today, I don’t see him on their roster. Nor do many others who do not root for the Celtics.

At some point, teams that struggle near the bottom of the NBA will begin to grasp the math behind the Philadelphia 76ers rebuild. They need a larger quiver.  And some team will “get it”, and trade good players today to land multiple draft picks tomorrow.

It’s not the where the picks are slotted, it’s the how many picks does the team choose with, which will improve the odds in their favor.  Right now, NBA teams are in the dark. They continue to chase today at the expense of tomorrow.

Eventually, some NBA team will be honest enough when they look in the mirror to question the logic of their belief system.  When that happens, the NBA will be forced to do the same. If the ultimate goal is a diverse and competitive league, then it’s time to stand by and let nature take it’s course.

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