Tanking? Who said anything about tanking?
Approaching the All-Star break, the Sixers are right where most people thought they would be – in the basement of the Eastern Conference, sitting at a cool 15-34. Although this young Sixers team might look poised to finish in the bottom of the standings, there is certainly a lot more than meets the eye. Brett Brown, a first year coach, and Michael Carter-Williams, a first year pro, have this tank-friendly Sixers roster staying afloat.
When the Sixers hired Brett Brown over the summer, he knew he had a hard task ahead of him, but it was one that he was enthusiastic and openly prepared for. Most importantly, he knew it was going to take time for the Sixers to be built.
The Sixers front office was wiped clean, capped off with the hiring of Sam Hinkie as president and general manager. They made a surprising draft day trade that sent Jrue Holliday to New Orleans in exchange for Nerlens Noel and future picks. They cleared valuable cap space as well as drafted a new point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. Their slogan even became “Together We Build.” It seemed as if that would be the central theme to the season.
Through 49 games, the Sixers have a mere 15 wins – two wins shy of proving the Vegas oddsmakers wrong. Prior to the season, oddsmakers put the Sixers win total at over/under 16.5. Being a die hard Philly sports fan, I had faith in the Sixers all along. I knew that the additions of Brown, Carter-Williams, and the rest of this young Sixers squad would prove beneficial.
While the Sixers have lost 34 games, it’s not nearly as many as some critics, analysts, and fans thought they would have at this point at the start of the season. The Sixers rank 24th in the league in defense and 29th in the league in offense, but have still managed to stay alive (somehow). This is partly because the Sixers play in the awful Atlantic Division–and the even worse Eastern conference. Still, it seems as if Sixers fans might soon have a reason to smile.
With the trade deadline approaching and the Sixers in full rebuild mode, fans like myself have reason to believe the Sixers will make moves soon enough. This bodes well for a team with a few young, bright stars, and with an upcoming draft that has been referred to by many as “loaded.”
With the quick development of Carter-Williams, Noel closing in on a return after the break, and numerous first-round picks in this year’s draft, I’m not sure we will have to wait as long as we thought to contend. So far, so good on the analytics plan–even if the record doesn’t indicate it yet.