The Philadelphia 76ers think their fans are going to wait on endlessly while they continue with their experimental rebuilding and tanking techniques, but turns out that it’s getting more and more difficult selling their MO to people when there’s no clear line of progress being demonstrated.
The Sixers have won 37 games over the last two years with an endless parade of players walking the court, most of them not worthy of being in the NBA. The Sixers try and find those good enough to last in the league, but even those aren’t high-caliber players. They’re 10-11-12 guys on most teams, propelled to a higher level in Philadelphia.
Seven games in, the Sixers still don’t have a win this season, and in a recent panel with CEO Scott O’Neil, talking about the long rebuilding process, things got a little bit out of hand, with some demanding to see more than just promises of some vague, better future.
Here’s the Philadelphia Enquirer’s Mike Sielski channeling what Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil was thinking: There are two cornerstones in Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. There are two NBA-caliber shooters in Nick Stauskas and Robert Covington. There is a potential franchise player in Joel Embiid. There is Dario Saric, who has said he plans to join the Sixers next season. There is the possibility, even the likelihood, that the Sixers will have four first-round picks in next year’s draft. There’s the state-of-the-art practice facility scheduled to open next fall in Camden.
And this is something we’ve been writing about for quite some time whenever the 76ers come up. It’s all based on luck. The Sixers thought for a moment or two that Michael Carter-Williams was going to be their guy but traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks. Okafor and Noel are two good big men, each in his own way, but playing them together creates spacing issues in a league that’s all about opening up shooting spots.
Robert Covington is a nice player, nothing more, and has played just once this season. Nik Stauskas is finally showing something after a rough rookie year with the Sacramento Kings, but he’s shooting just 35.6% from the field and 28.6% from beyond the arc on a wasteful 8.2 three-point attempts per game. And what is NBA-caliber shooters anyway? Shouldn’t every player on the roster be an NBA-caliber player at something, at least one thing?
The Sixers keep asking their fans to be patient, but while there are those who prefer to see the team bottom out while waiting for the opportunity to become great, others think that actually trying to be the best team possible right now while building through an attempt to succeed and not to lose isn’t just more fun to watch, it actually gives the team a better chance of doing something in the future. This championship or bust attitude might keep the Sixers irrelevant for a very long time.