Get ready, Philadelphia 76ers fans. Your team is going to lose s̶o̶m̶e̶ a lot of games in the 2013 – 2014 NBA season. There is one word that comes to mind when describing the theme of the 76ers year ahead – tank. The season begins on Wednesday, October 30 when they host – wait for it – the two-time defending NBA champions, Miami Heat. That should be a fun game, but for now, let’s take a dive and look back at the interesting 76ers offseason and their coming season.
Key Offseason Moves: After the failed Andrew Bynum experiment, the 76ers are in a clear rebuild mode. On draft night, they traded All-Star guard Jrue Holliday and the 42nd pick, Pierre Jackson to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Nerlens Noel, the 6th overall pick and a 2014 first-round pick. Just five selections later, Philadelphia drafted Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th overall pick.
After their 34-48 2012 – ’13 campaign, coach Doug Collins announced his resignation. One month later, in May, the 76ers hired Sam Hinkie as their General Manager and President of Basketball Operations. In August, Hinkie brought on longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown as their head coach.
The 76ers also made a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason, receiving 20-year-old guard Tony Wroten in exchange for a future second-round pick and a trade exception.
Other additions to the roster (though it is not final): F Royce White, G James Anderson, F Tim Ohlbrecht, F Arsalan Kazemi. G Darius Morris, G Khalif Wyatt
Projected Starting Five: PG – Michael Carter-Williams SG – Darius Morris SF – Evan Turner PF – Thaddeus Young C – Spencer Hawes
Can Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner lead the young squad?
Young, 25, and Turner, 24 are considered veterans on their young Philly team. Turner averaged 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists last season, all career-highs. The 2010 2nd overall pick is entering his fourth and final year of his rookie contract and while he has played decently, has yet to live up to his lofty expectations after coming out of The Ohio State University.
This will be Young’s seventh season in the league. He holds career averages of 13 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting over 51 percent from the field. The pair of players who have spent their whole careers in Philly are more crucial now than ever. Young and Turner will both have to pick up their defensive roles and put more of the offensive bulk on themselves. The two must also build on their team leadership from years past and become more vocal.
How badly do the 76ers want Andrew Wiggins?
One of the main reasons teams decide to tank (although it is rarely admitted) is to have the best chance to receive the number one overall selection in the upcoming draft. Heading into the 2014 draft, Andrew Wiggins is considered by most to be the best talent available. No player has gotten this much hype since LeBron James was drafted right out of high school in 2003. Even if, by some miracle, Philadelphia is playing some quality basketball, expect Brown to continue to put young, unproven talent on the court in the hopes of losing many games to have the best chance of drafting Wiggins.
Season Prediction: 16-66, fifth in the Atlantic Division
The 2016 – 2017 Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview is going to look a lot different. By then, a possible trio of Wiggins, MCW and Noel can be tearing the league apart. For now, however, the 76ers are just a bad team. They lack talent and experience to put together a respectable squad for this year. It does not help that many of their neighbors in the Atlantic have gotten stronger. The Brooklyn Nets brought in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce this offseason, the New York Knicks are coming off their 54-win season and have added pieces while the Toronto Raptors will continue to improve as Rudy Gay becomes more comfortable with the team. Get ready, Philadelphia. You’re in for a long, long ride.