WHAT IF TANKING GOES WRONG…

Posted by: C. Smith
07/22/13 10:40 am EST

…in a winning way?

I think it’s safe to assume that everyone in Philadunkia nation has screened the classic baseball movie “Major League” in which Rachel Phelps the owner of Cleveland Indians assembles a roster of has-beens and never-will-be’s in an effort to tank a MLB season and drive attendance so low that she can move the team out of Cleveland.

One problem: Crafty, veteran manager Lou Brown takes Rachel’s extreme tanking efforts and uses them to unite his team under an “us against the world” flag.  As a result several of the players post career seasons and in the film, the Indians miraculously make the playoffs.

What if something similar, but less Hollywood-ish,  happens with the 76ers next year?

What if Hinkie’s “Winless for Wiggins” plan backfires and the Sixers manage to win a decent number of games in 2013-14?

After the jump I’ll take a look at how this “Major League” scenario could play out here in Philadelphia.

 

(A disclaimer before we dive into this post: I support the rebuilding path that Sam Hinkie has chosen for the 76ers.  The Sixers were not going to land one or two elite NBA players to pair with Jrue and Thad and thus possibly contend in the East, so starting over is the wise long term move for this franchise.  I also realize that the hypothetical season I am about to propose is the worst case scenario for Hinkie and that it is highly unlikely to occur.  However, there is a remote chance the 2013-14 could go down differently than Hinkie plans and I want you to be prepared.)

—————————————————

What if in a Lou Brown-esque move, the new head coach of the Sixers (The job will apparently be given to Brett Brown or Michael Curry somewhere in the near future.) is able to bring the roster together quickly and motivate this young, motley group to play hard every night?

What if the new head coach ditches Doug Collins’ inefficient, ultra conservative, avoid-the-live-ball-turnover-at-all-costs offense and installs a half court game that actually attempts to score the ball at the rim and get to the free throw line?

What if under the new head coach, the Sixers can learn to guard the pick-and-roll and improve their weak side rotations?

What if Thad — who recently told our Jeff McMenamin he is shooting a lot of 3-pointers this summer — finds his 3-ball stroke again and has a ridiculous season as a SF who can stretch the floor?

What if that new head coach has an epiphany and moves Evan Turner to point guard (The position 3 different NBA front office executives told me back when he was drafted that ET needs to play in the League)?  At the same time what if the new head coach finds the right buttons to push on Turner mentally?  And what if this combination of surprising events leads to Turner having a breakout season?

What if Arnett Moultrie now free of Doug Collins bias against young players, can put up a double-double frequently?

What if Lavoy Allen finds a consistent motor and makes positive contributions on a regular basis?

What if Nerlens Noel gets back on the court in late December/early January and has an Adrian Peterson-esque return to basketball?  (Something like 8 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks a night would make things nerve racking for Hinkie.)

What if Spencer Hawes hits the weights hard this summer, stays healthy in 2013-14 and for an entire season delivers the 18 ppg. & 10 rpg. he averaged from March 10th to April 5th of 2013?

What is James Anderson, who as a junior at Oklahoma State in 2009-10, ranked sixth in the nation in scoring with 22.3 points per game and was named the unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year starts at shooting guard and does a respectable job?

What if Arsalan Kazemi displays all the intangibles the scouts love about him and he delivers a poor man’s Reggie Evans (4.6 ppg. & 12 rpg. last year) type season?

What if Michael Carter-Williams the #11 pick in the 2013 Draft is given some time to develop, comes off the bench in 2013-14 and provides a nice scoring punch for the Sixers second unit?

What if Royce White….gives the Sixers something, anything positive in 2013-14?

 

Now, I realize the above list provides a slew of long shot “What ifs” and even if all of these positive basketball items miraculously come together for the Sixers in 2013-14, I still don’t think they will  make the playoffs as the Indians did in “Major League”.  However if all the above items were to somehow occur next season, it would probably be enough for the Sixers to squeeze out 25+ wins and blow up Hinkie’s “Winless for Wiggins” plan.

That would be a disaster and one should always be prepared for the possibility of a disaster.


 
 
 

13 Responses to “WHAT IF TANKING GOES WRONG…”

  1. Mike Lewis
    22. July 2013 at 11:05

    If all of that were to happen, the Sixers would suddenly have some valuable trade assets in Spencer Hawes, Thad Young, and ET. Why not trade at least two of them about a month or two into the season and acquire more picks, future picks, young players with upside, and/or international stashers. Then we could still tank while also having the benefit of the additional assets gained from the trades.

  2. Alex Hootan
    22. July 2013 at 11:37

    Lots of ifs. You actually have a valid point that these kids may be motivated to play and wine 30-35 games and we end up with 9-14 pick. Disaster. But Boy Turner having a break out season? That would be something!!!
    But, I think the possibility is remote. Wizards are going to be better. Charlotte is a 30 plus wine team with Jefferson, the same goes for Orlando. Raptors may actually make the play off. Celtics are real competition for being bad in the east. In the West Suns are bad. Both Kings and Wolfs have improved. Bottom line Sixers may have a better than 75% chance to land 1-3

  3. Chris H.
    22. July 2013 at 16:40

    Well if these guys actually tried last year with a better team and only won 34 games, I really can’t see the same output, let alone more wins. The good thing is that this year everyone get’s a free pass (except for maybe E.T.) and our rookies are allowed a year to develop. I think that unless this team clicked like no other team in the history of professional sports, then Hinkie will “remind” the coach of what the end goal is. I can’t fathom a situation in which we are not in the top 3 picks. At worst top 5. Just like I don’t see the Pelicans any better than a top 12. So here’s to hoping that just about every game is a loss next year!

  4. Steve Toll
    22. July 2013 at 17:00

    “The Sixers were not going to land one or two elite NBA players to pair with Jrue and Thad and thus possibly contend in the East”

    Are we now going to pretend that a healthy Andrew Bynum isn’t an All-NBA talent?

  5. Nicky Negadelphia
    22. July 2013 at 18:06

    What if Joshua Harris decides to sell the Sixers to those Seattle investors who are looking to bring back the Supersonics to the Pacific northwest.

  6. Philadunkia
    22. July 2013 at 18:22

    Steve,

    Your mistake was putting Bynum and healthy in the same sentence.

  7. Steve Toll
    22. July 2013 at 18:52

    Nicky,

    Philadelphia is a massive market, they are not going anywhere.

    C. Smith,

    In my heart of hearts, I believe Bynum can survive and a properly built team can thrive during the regular season with him playing 25 minutes a night

  8. Fish
    22. July 2013 at 19:21

    I had this same thought… Could see turner breaking out for sure. As a GM I’d look to deal Hawes away for sure( we don’t need him) and def get future picks or younger prospects for turner/young… If things work out the way hinkie has planned, major props to him. I’d hire the coach that had a horrible season with the nets then he pitons, looks like he’s a good coach or rebuilding/making a bad record.

  9. Philadunkia
    22. July 2013 at 20:07

    Steve,

    I’d agree with you if Bynum was ever fully healthy. Unfortunately for Bynum and this case, your theory, the chances of him being healthy again are remote.

  10. Unknown
    22. July 2013 at 20:57

    As a 20+ old with the same knee disorder as Bynum. I hope he does get a chance to play again but the chances of him playing a full season is just not possible. The cartilage in his knees are degrated, next surgery for him is year and a half recovery if not knee replacement.
    And as a sixers fan trade anyone but Thad! The guy is a key piece on any championship team

  11. Brennan
    22. July 2013 at 21:12

    No way in hell Charlotte wins 30 games. More like 15 to 20. Jefferson is a good player but the hornets nred alot more than that.
    I do see evan turner having a career year, something like 18/7/6 and maybe even an allstar who knows.

  12. Alex
    22. July 2013 at 23:41

    Look guys, Mark Cuban is not stupid. He looked at Bynum and decided to stay away. And Gilbert is not stupid either. He wants to sell tickets.

  13. Ransom Cozzillio
    23. July 2013 at 10:11

    Steve, i agree that a healthy Bynum is an all-nba player, no question. But, if health wasn’t an issue for Bynum I guarantee we wouldn’t have been able to get him in the trade we did.

    To your other point: maybe 25 min a night means he stays healthy, maybe it doesn’t (the word “degenerative” in the descriptions of his knees has me leaning negatively there). But, name the all-nba performers who play less than 30 minutes a night? Better than nothing, but “25 minutes of LeBron James” doesn’t equal “actual Lebron James”.

Leave a Reply