WHAT IF TANKING GOES WRONG…

…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.)

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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.

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