Tank Mode is Over in Philadelphia
Over the last few seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have been going through a rebuilding phase – to say the least. Sixers fans endured several losing seasons in a row that saw the team at the bottom of the league, but near the top of the draft. However, it appears that this is now a thing of the past.
This season has seen the emergence of a number of star players. The most notable player is center Joel Embiid, who missed his first two NBA seasons due to injury. Embiid, along with Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Dario Saric have breathed new life into the Sixers. Although they sit in 13th in the Eastern Conference at 21-35, all signs are pointing up for the young team.
Not only are all signs pointing up, but signs are also pointing to the end of “Tank Mode” (as Sixers’ fans call it). Like it or not, former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie has put the team in prime position for this year’s NBA Draft. One of Hinkie’s deals really paid off for the Sixers when the Sacramento Kings dealt DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, as the Sixers have the right to swap first-round picks with the Kings. The best part of all of this? The Sixers can play competitively this season and still wind up with three first-round picks in the top 10.
Since the Sixers started a complete re-build a few years ago, a small number of fans have been talking about some of the other teams in the city following suit and not try to win. Although it’s a small number of fans, it’s not only surprising to hear, but just plain ridiculous. It’s almost as though Sam Hinkie made it seem like tanking is the answer. If every team in Philadelphia was in that situation, that might be true. The thing is, they’re not.
Here’s the deal: The Sixers are no-longer the laughing-stock of the NBA, and can realistically make a legitimate playoff run within two to three years. Noel, Okafor, Embiid, and Saric have already shown what kind of talent they have. Not to mention, Ben Simmons is set to make his NBA debut in the near future.
The Flyers are a young team with all kinds of talent brewing in the farm system. They eked their way into the playoffs last season and are in the playoff hunt once again this year. Defensemen Sam Morin and Travis Sanheim, along with goaltenders Carter Hart and Anthony Stolarz will turn this team into perennial Stanley Cup Contenders in the not-to-distant future.
The Phillies have a young roster that, for the most part, is still trying to find their footing at the Major League level. Maikel Franco, Tommy Joseph, Odubel Herrera, and Cameron Rupp have begun to establish themselves as something of a core for the club to build around. Along with the presence of several veterans, the club should be back in the playoff race within three to four years.
The Eagles have that much-needed franchise quarterback to build the team around in Carson Wentz. Wentz has proven himself to be the quarterback of the future for this team. They are not a Super Bowl contender just yet, but if they can sure up their secondary and give Wentz more weapons – particularly wide receivers – on offense, then the Eagles will fly to heights not seen since the heyday of Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins and beyond.
As the Sixers start their upturn from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to the top, it’s important to remember that when it comes to the Sixers, and all of Philadelphia’s sports teams, they are for real. Maybe not currently, but just give it a little bit more time.
Oh, and one more thing to remember:
TANK MODE IS OVER IN PHILADELPHIA!