The Philadelphia 76ers are looking to go back to their glory days. From the glory days of Wilt Chamberlain to the living legend Allen Iverson taking the league by storm and winning the MVP award in 2001. Before the years of tanking the Sixers had a good team. With players like Andre Iguodala, who was finals MVP in 2015 with the Golden State Warriors, Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams, who was even a good sixth man then because he came off the bench averaging 14 points a game the Sixers had the talent and the players to go to the conference semi-finals and lose in seven games to the Boston Celtics.
The Sixers that year were an eighth seed and they got lucky because Derrick Rose, who just came of an MVP regular season the year before, got injured when he tore his ACL with 1:22 left to go at the end of game 1. The Sixers ended up winning that series in six games.
Things were looking up for the Sixers in the 2012 offseason and with an acquisition of Andrew Bynum the next year via a four team trade the team looked primed for a deep playoff run. The Miami Heat who had LeBron James at the time were the team to beat in the east and everybody expected the Sixers to be a threat in the east. The 76ers tanked. Bynum never played for them because of knee injuries and the team next year wasn’t good at all. They ended up finishing ninth in the eastern conference with a 34-48 record.
The next season the Sixers decided to blow up the team and start over. They drafted Michael Carter-Williams and traded Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson for the 6th overall pick which was turned into Nerlens Noel. Also, they got a 10th overall pick in the deal which turned into Elfrid Payton. They traded Payton for Dario Saric who spent his time overseas for three years before coming to the Sixers last year for his rookie season that ended up in a rookie of the year nomination. That 2013-14 season the Sixers made the record books for losing the most consecutive games in NBA history with 26 losses.
The Sixers had the rest of the league right where they wanted them.
The Sixers were building pieces to become what they were today. This process was to be called “The Process” which was the plan of the mastermind Sam Hinkie. The Sixers were going to tank in order to acquire top draft prospects. After drafting Joel Embiid the year later they had one of the worst stretches ever losing 28 consecutive games spanning between two seasons. Again, right where they wanted to be. In the 2015-16 season they only won 10 games that year but that turned into the number one overall pick and they drafted Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons, with his LeBron James like talent, had the city buzzing.
Then the worst happened.
Ben Simmons only played played in the summer league and had his season ended in training camp with a foot injury. Joel Embiid had just missed the last two seasons with a foot injury and it looked like the Sixers were never going to come out of The Process. All was not lost though. Joel Embiid was finally going to play.
It was only for 31 games.
Embiid showed signs though. It was signs of a bright future. Those glimpses of Embiid shooting threes, leading the team and playing tough basketball made the fans happy for brighter days to come. Simmons also showed signs when he was able to display his talent during the summer league. Simmons ability to pass the ball stood out over everything and now with these looks at the future the fans could go into next season with confidence.
The team showed improvement from 2015-16 when they won 28 games this past season. It was still only good for 14th in the eastern conference though. That resulted in them getting the number three pick in the draft. The Sixers knew they had an opportunity with the picks that they had in the future to get a number one overall pick this year. They sent their number three overall pick and the Lakers pick if it is between 2 and 5. If that pick is not between 2 and 5 the Sixers will give them their own first rounder in 2019 or Sacramento’s first round pick that year.
This is the genius that the Sixers have been implementing since 2013. Building up draft picks, staying young and losing games to ensure that the cycle repeated itself. This was done to avoid mediocracy and the suffering has turned into Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz. Fultz was that number one overall pick this offseason.
Everything looks great but there is one problem. All three of these players combined have only 31 games played in their careers. The Sixers problem now is getting their pieces to actually play. Even Fultz had his summer league cut short because of a sprained ankle. All three players are supposed to start going into the opener at Washington against the Washington Wizards but it will be one sight to watch when all of the players that they have put their chips in the basket for eventually all play with each other.
The future is bright for the Sixers and now they have playoff expectations. With LeBron James getting up there in age the torch will be up for grabs when he finally leaves the NBA and the Sixers are building their way up to be there when the torch gets passed.