Posted by: Philadunkia
12/02/11 10:19 am EST

That is the question…we threw out to you the readers yesterday. 

As we mentioned there is no consensus here at the Philadunkia offices as to what approach the 76ers should take for the upcoming 2011-12 season.  From reading comments on this and other Sixers sites, talking to other Sixers fans and listening to sports talk show hosts, there does not seem to be any agreement on “the street” either.

On one side (in our offices and on the street) are those who say Josh Harris and Co. should give Rod Thorn the green light to do whatever it takes in order to assemble the best basketball team possible for this 66-game season and thus build on the success the team had in 2010-11.  On Wednesday, in the first of this two part series, Tom Sunnergren stated his case for why he feels strongly that the 76ers should, “Go For It” during the 2011-12 season.

On the other side of this discussion are those who say that this abbreviated season presents a perfect opportunity for the Sixers and their new owners to hit the “reset button” in order to get a fresh start and establish a brighter future for this franchise.  Today Philadunkia scribe C. Smith lobbies for the 7-6 to take a “competitively indifferent” approach to the 2011-12 season and look to the future right NOW.  

You may choose to call it what it really is, that ugly sports term known as — “Tanking”.

Look, I love what Doug Collins and the Sixers accomplished in 2010-11 (Especially considering the disaster that was the 3-13 start.), but the current roster is not going to get Philadunkia nation a whiff of an NBA title (100 to 1 odds in Vegas right now) or even the Eastern Conference Finals.  Thus, in my opinion NOW is the perfect opportunity — one that we have been desperately seeking — to right all of the basketball wrongs that exist on this roster.  So, much as it pains me to type it, I believe the 7-6 should embrace a “comptitively indifferent” approach (a.k.a. “tank”) to the abbreviated 2011-12 season in order to establish a solid foundation and a better long term future for this franchise. 

Let’s quickly examine why NOW is the perfect time to “tank”…Err, I mean develop a better future for the 76ers:

1) Except for the most die-hard of pro basketball junkies, the lockout has turned hoops fans off to the League and its upcoming season.  On the local level, it certainly has killed any momentum the Sixers built with the Philadelphia faithful during their playoff run last year.  I wouldn’t say that NBA basketball has been forgotten in this town, but I would say that unfortunately pro hoops is currently on the deep back burner in the minds of the Philly sports fan base.  Thus, thanks to the disinterest in the overall League product and the NBA action down at the Wells Fargo Center produced by the lockout, a Sixers team with a losing record in 2011-12 could easily fly under the Philly sports radar and go relatively unnoticed. 

2) Complimenting the damage the lockout has done to the Sixers following, is the current status of the 7-6 on the Philadelphia sports landscape.  I’m a huge Sixers fan and even I am willing to admit that the Red, White and Blue currently sit fourth on the pro sports pecking order in this town.  To be honest, that’s a real shame considering the success Collins & Co. saw in 2010-11.  But the truth is, the Flyers Stanley Cup aspirations for this NHL season, the present day drama surrounding Andy Reid’s job security and the Phillies push for a World Series ring in 2012 will keep fans distracted long enough to allow the Sixers to cruise through a “disappointing” shortened season without an abundance of negative push back from the faithful.

3) The shortened 66-game season and the fact that the Sixers seem destined for a slow start also contribute to my “tank” now theory.  A very brief training camp and a season that will likely begin with a five or six game road trip (Thank you Disney on Ice!) is a recipe for a disastrous start by this young and still learning squad.  Unlike last year, a 66-game season will not provide enough time for Collins to correct all the early season problems that arise and produce another miraculous recovery that leads to back-to-back playoff appearances.  I say avoid worrying about this short season all together and concentrate on developing the young core for the long haul.     

4) This current roster is the final piece of evidence for why “tanking” of the 2011-12 season makes sense.  We’re cap strapped, lacking a star caliber player and no where near contending for the NBA title.  Compounding the above issues is the problem that the current Sixers team, without too much tinkering, is good enough to play exciting basketball, win 47-50 games next year and make the playoffs.  But that’s not the goal.  Correct?  A championship parade down Broad Street is the ultimate goal for this franchise.  For that to happen, this roster will need an overhaul.  In general new ownership groups are typically given a “grace period” when they take over a pro sports franchise.  You know what I am talking about – a span of time where it is accepted that the team will not do well as the new owners to get “their” people in place and begin to implement “their” ideologies on the franchise as they build toward long term success.  Josh Harris & Co. should gut this roster of past mistakes and start their “grace period” NOW.      

I hate the thought of it, but the above facts provide enough evidence for me to believe that 2011-12 season is the perfect time for the Sixers to “tank” in order to establish a much brighter future.

So let’s look at how we develop a better future for the 76ers NOW:

First, I would resign Thad and then pull him, Jrue and Evan into a meeting where I would establish that they are now the “core” the Sixers are going to build around and lay out the following plan for them to see “the future” of this franchise.  Here’s is the plan…

1) Trade Speights for an expiring contract or anything else.  No, I mean anything – a bucket of Gatorade, a signed pair of KD’s shoes, whatever….

2) Use the amnesty clause to knock Brand’s awful contract off the books.  Yes, I know how solid his play was last year and it may be a smarter move to use the amnesty clause on Brand at the end of 2011-12, but I also know that EB is no where near a $16-18 million a year power forward and this post is about the NOW.

3) Dangle AI9 for expiring contracts and then trade him — finally.

4) Let Hawes walk.

  • Then Anoint “Big Nik” as the starting center.
  • Sign a journeyman backup to a 1 yr. deal to support the kid.

5) Move Nocioni through a trade for expiring contracts (Waiving him is also an option, but may not garner us enough cap space to make it worth while.).

Hopefully through these moves the 76ers we take enough Ls in 2011-12 to get a high draft lottery pick as well as create enough cap space to land a big free agent for 2012-13. 

Most League experts (TV, online and front office execs) will tell you that the current Sixers team is stuck in NBA mediocrity hell – good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to seriously compete for an NBA title.  Those same experts will tell you that even under the new CBA, (Which for the next two years reads a lot like the old one.) the Sixers will have to take a step back before they are ready to make a huge leap forward.  If as a Sixers fan you are honest with yourself, really honest, you’ll see (As much as we all hate to admit it.) that these experts are telling the truth. 

 Unfortunately NOW is the time to face that truth.


9 Responses to “TO TANK OR NOT TO TANK ?? (II)”

  1. psw
    2. December 2011 at 12:58

    Tanking does not work. Cleveland is the last team to win the lottery with the worst record. Also free agents that have choices don’t go to crappy teams, look at last years free agents. There were several bad teams that had more than maximum salary cap space and no one wanted to go there. If the 76ers are ever going to be good it has to be done by trades. Trading your best players for cap space will fail miserably.

  2. Dr. J
    2. December 2011 at 20:31

    I love the Sixers and their core base of young talent (if they keep Young). Holiday, Turner, Young, Iggy, Williams, Meeks, Vucevic, and even Brackins’s potential. One problem is that some of these players play the same position and won’t see the floor at the same time. The other problem is the other teams within their own division are already contenders and others are making major moves to become extremely competitive right now and in the near future. Boston still has a couple championship type years ahead of them and some youth to continue building, the Knicks are collecting talent and may be a player or 2 from becoming dominate, and the Nets are in the process of a major franchise facelift. For the next several years, the Sixers will have a hard time competing within their own division not to mention win a championship unless they make a bold move of their own.

    1) It’s time to unload Brand’s fat contract. Scoring and rebounding is great but some defense would be OK once in a while to.

    2) As much as it pains me to part with some current players, I would love to see them go after CP3. Iggy, Holiday, and some other role players and/or picks packaged for a player like Chris Paul and a player or pick. The need to make a blockbuster trade for a player that makes the team and others around him better is essential. I love Holiday, but CP3 would be a huge upgrade!

    3) The last move should be to do whatever it takes to get Nene. He is one of the only true prototypical centers in the league. You can never have enough big men and Nene would be instant starter, difference maker, and mentor for the younger bigs in Philly.

    Whatever they do, they should never let Thaddeus Young leave town. It all sounds extreme, but the Sixers need to make some bold moves or they will tank because of staying stagnate in an ever changing Atlantic Divison.

  3. T. Martin
    3. December 2011 at 16:14

    Unless you think the Sixers are going to somehow land Dwight Howard as a FA next year tell me ONE other player set to hit FA who makes the Sixers a legitimate contender. I just looked at the list and there’s a slew of marginal players and former All Stars. But none of them are guys who change the landscape.

    Can the Sixers afford TWO years of tanking? I don’t think so.
    They need to deal their way to relevance and get lucky in the draft regardless of where they’re picking.

  4. Ank
    3. December 2011 at 19:36

    I think i agree, with tanking, it is a tarnished season, who wants to win in just 66 games? Thad, Turner, and Holiday, are great players, i also want to add that they should keep Lou Will, and AI9, both great players as well, every one else needs to go, other then rooks and what not. Look on the bright side, maybe a new mascot will boost the cities interest in the team?…maybe not,….I KNOW DWIGHT HOWARD WOULD….:)

  5. 76ersfan
    4. December 2011 at 02:38

    i agree that tanking doesn’t guarantee a #1 overall choice, but it increases your odds and almost guarantees a top 3 choice. as far as looking at free agency and your theory of not clearing cap space, the Heat were terrible the year before the “Big Three” they had all this cap to work with, which is why they go LBJ, D-Wade, and Bosh. The Knicks were in a similar position, and got Melo, and are looking at Paul among others. The Nets were even worse and are mentioned in every big-name free agency deal possible. So by clearing space to make room and showing how passionate and b-ball loving Philly is, players will want to come here and play in the best city for sports.

  6. Matt
    4. December 2011 at 04:17

    Im tired of people talking about the “success” the sixers had last season. The finished the year 42-45. How the heck is that a success? If you take a test and get more than half the questions wrong you FAIL!

    I agree, tanking, if thats what we insist on calling it is the way to go. Bottom line, you win in the NBA with stars and the sixers dont have any stars. There are only 3 ways to acquire stars in the draft, in free agency or through trade. Tanking dove tales nicely with those 3 things. Higher draft pick equals a better chance to draft a star. higher draft pick and or better young players equals more desirable pieces to put into trades. Cap space creates the ability to sign top of the line free agents. This is all pretty obvious really.

    PSW – Tanking can work. It certainly has for other teams, it just isnt a guarantee. Of course, very few things are guarantees in this world, let alone sports.

    The spurs, packed in their injury plauged season when the got the top draft pick and the chance to draft Duncan. Boom Title.

    The Celtics were tanking the crap outta their season when durant and Oden were the top draft prizes. They didnt get the 1 or 2 pick so they used their assets, A young Al Jefferson, expiring contracts and I believe it was the 4th pick in the draft to acquire KG and Ray Allen. Boom Title.

    The Heat were basically tanking the last couple years when despite having Dwayne Wade, a top 3 talent in the league, Pat Riely was making trades to acquire contracts that expired by 2010 instead of trying to acquire talented players to surround wade. Boom nba finals and the odds on favorite to win the title for probably the next 5 years.

    After Rashard Lewis decided to sign with Orlando the Sonics pretty much started tanking. They traded away their superstar, Ray Allen and collected a bunch of draft picks. Boom Conference Finals and clear contender.

    Tankings done right, isnt just about having the worst record for a season. Its about creating the most flexiblity for your franchise and acquiring tradable assets.

  7. jon
    4. December 2011 at 12:57

    first of there are many flaws in your article. tanking does not working, only if theres a strong draft class but there wont be one again this year EX evan turner. also tanking to get a free would never work cuz a free agent would never want to come here to a shitty team, the perfect situation for a free agent is to come to a team thats competitive but needs a free agent to become a contender (ex: carlos booz and elton brand with us). also we would have 18 million in cap for next summer if amensty brand next year. idk why you said trade nocioni for an expiring contract when his is expiring… thank god your not a GM

  8. AlexBru
    4. December 2011 at 16:44

    Plus, obtaining a high lottery pick does not in any way guarantee a future star. (see Turner, Evan). The Kevin Durants and Derrick Roses, the true franchise changers, come around maybe once every 2 years. I’d put the most competitive team out there and hope that one of the young guys, Jrue(still 21!) or Evan, blossoms into a star. Even if they don’t, the Sixers still put a solid young team on the floor in the playoffs. If they didn’t get matched up with Heat, the Sixers could have put up a good series against the Celtics and even the Bulls looked a tad vulnerable against the Pacers. Worst case scenario if Sixers tank: Sixers open up enough cap space to sign a big free agent, no big star wants to come to Philly, and they get stuck overpaying a midlevel player for star dollars, a la Travis Outlaw, thus supplanting the SIxers in “mediocre hell” and alienating most of the fans while committing franchise suicide for the next couple years. I’d stick with putting a competitive young team on the court. With that said, Brand and Iggy could be valuable players to a contender, and Sixers appear to have leverage w/r/t the “when” of dealing them. Just my thoughts. I hate when teams tank and if the Sixers tank I would be pissed off and my fan hood might suffer.

  9. Paul
    4. December 2011 at 17:41

    I think the Sixers need to tank this season. For the reasons stated above, the Sixers can’t possibly lose any more fans by throwing this season because they don’t have very many fans in the first place. Die-hard fans will see that tanking in the short-term will payoff tenfold in the long-term.

    It’s already been established that the Sixers have a pretty solid core: Jrue, ET, and Thad.

    But as “great” of a season as Brand had last year, his play will never be able to justify his contract. I don’t think the Sixers need to amnesty him right away because his play might regress this year anyway because he is after all still Elton Brand. Nevertheless, ultimately the Sixers should amnesty Brand to free up cap space.

    The second reason the Sixers should tank is that the 2012 draft class should be very deep because of all the players that stayed in school last year that were weary about the impending lockout. If the Sixers can get another top 5 pick, there are a lot of big men in the 2012 draft class that can really help the team out.

    As much as I like Iggy, it’s probably time to let him go and let ET develop as our 3 of the future. If we can turn Iggy into a starter at the 2 (and not Monta Ellis because he’s too selfish for our system) who can nail some threes with more consistency than Meeks, we will have a solid core of five players: Jrue, Thad, ET, 2012 lottery pick, and free agent used by amenstying Brand/player received in trade for Iggy.

    I realize that it will be difficult to lure a player to come to Philly in free agency, but I have a lot of hope that tanking this season will give the Sixers a great opportunity to draft a stud player that we can add to the already existing core.

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