Posted by: Steve Toll
06/03/13 12:24 pm EST

Following upon the coattails of greatness, ESPN has recently put out it’s own future NBA power rankings.

Unlike the one I bestowed upon the readers of Philadunkia last week, this is a 3 year projection by ESPN with a different set of criteria.

They use 5 categories to rate the NBA teams; Players, Management, Money, Draft, and Market.  The 76ers were ranked 24th in the NBA and 11th in the Eastern Conference over the next 3 years.  This list (like all long term projection features) need to be taken with a grain of salt, especially if you have a functioning brain and see the Knicks ranked behind the 76ers.

Today at Philadunkia, I will take a closer look at these ESPN ‘Future Rankings’ and see how things shake out.

My thoughts on ESPN’s ‘Future Rankings’ after the jump.

Market (0 to 100 points) 44 pts. — 19th : Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city’s desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans.

The 76ers should probably rank even lower on this mark, for now.  The NBA landscape has changed.  Markets do not matter (to a degree).  Where (the team/city, not draft #) a player is drafted does.  More often than not, a player wanting to leave a franchise is the right decision by that player.  The new CBA makes many of the scenarios that have unfolded in years past impossible, unless a guy is willing to take a PAY CUT.  One thing that is apparent, 99% of NBA players value their paycheck above winning.  Markets have become largely irrelevant with this new CBA, the team who puts up the most money is going to get their man.

DRAFT (0 to 100 points) 41 pts. — 22nd : Future draft picks; draft positioning.

This ranking should also include current players on rookie contracts, for obvious reasons.  7 of the 8 teams ranked below the 76ers made the playoffs this past season, only Toronto failed to do so.  As I mentioned after the Andrew Bynum trade, the new CBA made it imperative to have young/cheap/retainable talent on an NBA roster.  The two guys who now fit under that bill are Arnett Moultrie and whomever is drafted with the 11th pick this year.  For the following 2 off-seasons (’14,’15), the 76ers keep their pick if it’s in the lottery and don’t if they make the playoffs.

Management (0 to 200 points) 92 pts. — 18th : Quality and stability of front office, ownership, coaching.

One spot below the 76ers in this ranking is the Atlanta Hawks.  The Hawks GM, Danny Ferry, jettisoned Joe Johnson for a package that included in return, a 2013 1st rd pick along with middling-expiring contracts and just hired the most qualified assistant coach in the NBA to take the reins of his team.  The 76ers once again seem to get the benefit of the doubt here for reasons beyond explanation.  The owners are not basketball guys and can only be seen as negatives since acquiring the franchise.  As ballyhooed as the Hinkie hiring was, he has yet to hire a coach and was widely reported to still be spending time in Houston.

On the otherhand, NBA executive of the year Masai Uriji was at his new jobe in Toronto, firing former 76er legend Ed Stefanski, on day 1.  There is a very real argument that having a new GM and no coach is a better position than most teams are, but since a coach’s “abilities” are directly related to his PLAYERS, this ranking just doesn’t jive.

MONEY (0 to 200 points) 113 pts. — 9th: Projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax.

In a shocking turn of events, the 76ers manage to once again be overrated in this regard.  With the Salary Cap only looking to be around $58.5 million instead of $60 million, the 76ers (if Bynum/Wright are not resigned) will have only $10 million for free agents this off-season.  That spells another year of 1 year signings that will have the team with ~$30 million in cap space for the 2014 off-season.  Every year there are tons of bad teams with lots of cap space, but the 76ers are in a unique spot.  They can’t get into the Luxury Tax because the real way to facilitate that is to resign your restricted free agents (aka 1st rd picks) to deals with a full roster in place or have a young guys worthy of massive deals.  The 76ers don’t have that, they have Evan Turner, Lavoy Allen and the criminally underrated, Spencer Hawes.  Charlotte is in a better cap spot in regards to free agency the next 3 years, has the players to get into the luxury tax and has Michael Jordan as an owner.  MJ might not be the best at talent evaluation but when Charlotte is turning the corner and it comes time to pay players and get into the Luxury tax, Michael Jordan will open that checkbook.  Somehow though, the Bobcats(soon to be Hornets) are #24 on that list.

PLAYERS (0 to 600 points) 193 pts. — 25th : Current players and their potential for the future, factoring in expected departures.

For the fourth time in 5 categories, the 76ers are unfathomably overrated.  MIL, SAC, ORL, CHA and PHX are all listed below the 76ers.  Ummmmmm what?

Milwaukee was better last year, will be better this year and will be better going forward, Orlando will likely be better by mid-season 15-16 and Charlotte may be as well.  SAC has the best player of all these teams in Demarcus Cousins as well as a solid nucleus of Evans+Thompson+Thomas+Thornton, to go with a totally new regime that wants to do things right.

The only team that realistically is worse off is Phoenix and they are just OMG BAD.  Even with Phoenix, none of these teams have anything close to the Bynum situation and all the possibilities that go with it which either has the 76ers totally screwed for the next couple years or topping out as the 2009-2013 Atlanta Hawks.


While not perfect, this ESPN projection does highlight one interesting fact.  Everyone except fans of the 76ers seem to realize the perilous spot this team is in going forward.  Miracles do happen in the NBA and it’s possible Philly is the spot of the next blessing.  That is what it’s going to take at this point.  Fans of teh 7-6 seem to view Bynum as this Deus Ex Machina and were spared the agony of the truth this past season.  As I’ve said before; If Jrue actually becomes good, Thad stretches his game, the #11 pick is a future stud, Bynum is healthy and other guys develop, the 76ers could be onto something….

The more likely scenario is the better teams stay better, the worse teams build a stronger foundation and Sam Hinkie is living in my basement Mid-April a few years from now, pause.


Steve Toll is a scribe for philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @basementGM

You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia



  1. ms. haygood
    3. June 2013 at 12:50

    ……And if next year the ping pong balls go the way of the 6ers and they get Wiggins or a top three pick, allow Brown, Hawes, and Turner to fly far far far away…make a few good trades like, dumping J.Rich on a team looking for shooting of the bench, and WHALLLLLAHHHHH!!!…The 6ERS future may be bright again.

  2. Jon in LA
    3. June 2013 at 14:45

    I’m curious, what makes you think Jordan will spend his money? He’s rich, but he’s not internet money rich or hedge fund money rich like a lot of these owners. I could be wrong, but I don’t think he’s a billionaire. And isn’t he just a part owner?

  3. Steve Toll
    3. June 2013 at 15:07

    Jon in LA,

    Michael Jordan owns ~80% of the Bobcats, has a net worth of +$600 million. MJ earns at MINIMUM $60,000,000 yearly through his Jordan brand.

    The Bobcats have reportedly lost nearly $20,000,000 per season since his ownership started, but that number is to be nearly wiped out once the new CBA is fully enacted through revenue sharing

  4. Abc
    3. June 2013 at 17:14

    Steve probably would have gotten off (the dirty way) if the Sixers were ranked last in all of the categories.

  5. Alex Hootan
    3. June 2013 at 17:46

    I always wondered how the “Law of Diminishing Return” , LDR, will apply to NBA. That is if you have N players, let assume N=3 here, who have efficiency of A and B and C respectively, what happens if you put them on the same team. Is the team efficiency is going to increase by A+B+C? (You can Use Hollinger’s PER for an efficiency measure or any other Metric.). I think I may have partial answer to my question but will need help to complete it.
    So here is my analysis.
    If all 3 players have high PER and are of super star caliber, LDR will defiantly apply and the diminished return is much higher. Look at Miami with 3 Super Stars? Not that different from Cavs one man team with LJ there 3 years ago. Why because the return of one or possibility 2 of their super stars in one nigh will be diminished substantially.
    But if you have less players with high PER, then the Diminishing Return will be less. The challenge will then be this: How would you assemble a team of few key players each of which have a specific PER? The objective would be to Minimize the diminishing return and one constraint would be the salary cap.
    P.S Miami needs to get rid of either Bush or Wade next season. Why because their value has been diminished to an average role player!!! Look at Bosh’s apology!!!

  6. Ron
    3. June 2013 at 17:52

    I don’t quite understand something. Steve, if you hate this team and every move they make as much as its seems, why do you cover them? It seems that there are a few other teams in the NBA worth covering so why waste your time on the Sixers? A man with such a high basketball IQ, like yourself, must have other options when it comes to employment right? SMDH. Why don’t you ever give Philly a shot? You give Spencer Hawes plenty of shots and he may be the worst starting center in the game today. Quite frankly, he’s barely a serviceable back up on team looking for a 7 footer to do 7 footer type things. Then you bash everything from the old regime to the new regime and everything in between as if Joshua Harris pissed in your wheaties every morning before you wake up. I just wish that two-bit half ass journalists like you would breathe some positive air into the fan base and media to give us some hope. We are all aware that we are in difficult time now but not every team can have a Lebron. If we did, you would still have some dumb comments about how bad his cast mates are. It sucks for me because I read this crap looking for actual substance and more often then not come away with ridiculous suggestions like “lets sign birdman and calderon, they will save us!”. I never commented on any forum until now because you just sound like a bitter ball player that missed out on the dance because of poor attitude or heart. Get over it bro and maybe you can start to write some decent stuff without it being so hate charged and envious. 🙂

  7. Jon
    3. June 2013 at 19:07


  8. Jon
    3. June 2013 at 19:08


  9. Steve Toll
    4. June 2013 at 13:54


    Not true

    Alex Hootan,

    You need to also calculate for complimentary or overlapping skills. Without being able to properly do that, it’s a waste of time.


    Tell me how you really feel…..

    I am a 76er fan. I am currently unemployed but I live in the basement of my parents estate and get a handsome allowance, more than everyone in an NBA front office except the GM.

    Hawes is better than you give him credit for;

    This is a hilarious statement……

    “just wish that two-bit half ass journalists like you would breathe some positive air into the fan base and media to give us some hope. ”

    FACT: Every 76er fan would have been better served listening to me last offseason when I said how it was a disaster AND that was before the Bynum trade. I then said the Bynum trade was a huge mistake, the team gave up way too much and Injuries are a massively important thing to consider in sports. I’ve said a million things and been right nearly all the time.

    I write about reality and the situation at hand, as that changes, so will the scope of the things I say.

    Team Building in the NBA isn’t a difficult task, sorry that I so easily recognize quality players…

    Every team in the NBA wishes they signed Birdman last offseason, I was the only one CLAMORING for him to be signed by the 76ers.

    Calderon >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> JRUE

    I wasn’t a basketball player, but nice guess.

    Envy and Hate? I think you mean “level headed and honest”

  10. Jon in LA
    4. June 2013 at 15:09


    As ridiculous as it sounds, 600 million isn’t that much money. If he took a 60 million luxury tax it, that would be 10% of his net worth. I doubt any business man would do that.

    The Kings were just sold four $500+ million. For Jordan, that would be almost his entire net worth (not cash in hand, but if he could find a buyer and sell everything). I just don’t think Jordan has the money as these other guys. And if these other guys don’t like to spend their money, I just don’t see Jordan doing that.

  11. Steve Toll
    6. June 2013 at 16:13

    Jon in LA,

    You’re saying “Jordan will get cheap when it counts”, haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  12. Hank
    12. June 2013 at 18:03

    Jordan net worth = $600 million. Josh Harris net worth = $2.1 Billion.

    $2.1 billion > $600 million.

    I don’t have major issues with any other points you made. But how the hell could the Bobcats be stronger than the Sixers financially?

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