03/11/13 10:56 am EST
This is a stone cold fact: Every win the 76ers bring home over these last 20 games of this year and into the 2013-14 season is a net negative, at least until they have secured the worst record in the NBA.
The new CBA has changed the landscape of the NBA. James Harden and the most recent trade deadline are obvious products of that fact. The 76ers seem to be a team oblivious to that fact. It is why I hated the Bynum trade when it happened and has hilariously turned into the best case scenario for the 76ers. The lottery is where the 76ers MUST be this year and next, or people in the area might as well not turn on a game for the next 5 years.
Critics of mine will argue that the BCS of the Bynum trade was/is an NBA Championship. Truth is, I have a better shot of being the next GM of the 76ers than Bynum does of leading this team to championship glory. The average team in the NBA Finals wins about 57 regular season games, give or take. Nobody should argue that the 76ers are close to that level even with a healthy Bynum in the lineup.
There is no disagreeing that even 1 possession of healthy Bynum on the court would help the 76ers win basketball games. That is the very reason why the 76ers have been lucky with how things have turned out. Variance aside, the team will be quite close to bottoming out in total wins this year. If you believe the above paragraph to be true, the NBA Lottery is where the 76ers should be and things have turned out swimmingly in that regard.
Unfortunately (for the fans), that is not enough. Barring the unforeseen circumstances that the 76ers draft a stud in the lottery AND a healthy Bynum resigns with the Sixers, the 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers need to be even worse than this current team. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of it, the CBA essentially mandates those points as statutes for competing/winning an NBA championship. There are obvious possibilities in circumventing that, but the 76ers won’t be privy to those as long as Jrue Holiday is the “best” player on the team.
Young, Cheap, and retainable talent is now a bigger part of the game than ever. The 76ers have Arnett Moultrie as the leader in the clubhouse for that distinction. As the only horse in that race, there are obvious issues there. If you are competing for a championship and locked into contracts, YCR-Talent, is of less value to you. For a team like the 76ers, YCR-Talent, is of immense value. With none available, losing is the best option for loading up.
The best way to load up is to have the #1 pick or draft the best player, which requires a team to be very bad and even more than that, lucky. No amount of analysis can prepare you for that scenario. It is part of what makes the NBA so great. Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are obvious choices. Evan Turner is a constant reminder. Andre Drummond goes #1 in an NBA re-draft today, ahead of Anthony Davis, who predicted that?
Fact remains, having the #1 pick is the place to be every draft if you are in the lottery. The 76ers need to understand why that is true and implement a way for that possibility to come to fruition.
The way to secure that #1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft is to resign SwaggyP and bring in guys like Corey Maggette, Darko, Jamal Tinsley to fill out the roster this off-season. Negative players on 1 year deals will certainly do the trick.
Another thing to do, make sure at almost any cost, the team drafts Nerlens Noel. The almost is, anything except the rights to the future lottery picks. That means if it takes Jrue+Thad and taking back a bad contract (Tyrus Thomas, Jameer Nelson, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley) do it.
Combined, that duo is less valuable than having Nerlens Noel, a 25% shot at Andrew Wiggins, a 25% shot at the 2015 #1 pick and a bad contract. The name of the game for the 76ers, like other teams, is YCR-Talent. The Bynum trade diminished those options and now the proper measure needs to be taken.
The point of all that is so that fans of the 76ers can hear the commissioner say, “With the #1 pick in the 2014 draft, the Philadelphia 76ers, select Andrew Wiggins” and potentially the same thing with a different name in 2015.
Right now, he is the consensus #1 pick in the 2014 Draft and his name might be replaced come that night but for now he is the pick. That is where the 76ers must be in the summer of 2014. It is why letting Bynum leave (the right move) would be less of a mistake than most people think. Using that money to then sign Josh Smith, Jefferson, or Pekovik would be a huge mistake. Looking around the Eastern Conference, there is a real possibility that adding one of those players wouldn’t even be enough to make the playoffs next year.
Before the 76ers sign an All-Star in free agency, they need to draft one and let him grow into that role, hopefully sooner rather than later. Wiggins, who would have been at worst the #3 pick in the 2012 draft, is who the team needs to hope becomes that All-Star.
The 76ers have some real easy choices that will be a real hard to sell to the public this off-season. Not enough talent to compete and enough money to build a .500 team. The move is tank and the Bynum trade helped more than anyone could have known. It wasn’t the best way to go about things, but this is how things need to go now. It will be tough to digest as a 76er fan, but that is why you wanted Iguodala gone, right? Mediocrity is something that fans of the team don’t want to accept. Well now you don’t have to, assuming you’re willing to suffer at minimum another horrid 82 games. All of the above is well and good, except the team missed the obvious thing to do this past off season when it was easy to sell. What chance do you give the front office/owners to do the right thing when it is a hard sell?