Philadelphia’s new look 76ers: Who wants a piece of them?

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers are on the cover of the Sports Illustrated, but the portrait looks early similar to that of the infamous 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets.

So, we need to talk about the Philadelphia 76ers new Sports Illustrated cover.

On the surface, it’s great; announcing the Sixers new starting five for the world to see (even if only Tobias Harris is smiling), but something’s just not right about the portrait.

But what could it be?

Oh yeah, it shares a striking resemblance to the infamous 2013-14 ‘Brooklyn’s New Look Nets; Who wants a piece of them?‘ cover from back in 2013.

The resemblance is uncanny, right?

Now granted, the actual composition of the pictures aren’t too similar, as the Nets are standing in-line with Hall of Famer-turned-head coach Jason Kidd, and the 76ers are positions around a blue background like a laurel wreath, but the sentiment remains starkly similar; a team, primarily built through trades is the new team to beat in the East.

Oh no, are the 76ers the new-old Net?

Sure, Elton Brand didn’t trade five players and three first round picks (and the rights to swap a fourth) to the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves for three players over the age of 36, but he did move two firsts, two seconds, three starters, and two prospects to add two players on expiring contracts who could very well walk for nothing come July.

That’s a pretty risky bet when the Golden State Warriors are all but guaranteed to win their third straight Chip, regardless of who they face off against in the NBA Finals.

Would Brand be, well, branded the next Billy King, the former Sixers and Nets GM who’s been all but exiled from the league, if he’s only able to retain said one of said stars? And what if Jimmy Butler flourish in Los Angeles alongside Kawhi Leonard should he walk? Will fans look for burner Twitter accounts in an attempt to kick Brand to the curb and finally bring back Sam Hinkie?

This could go bad in a fantastical way, and really, it didn’t have to happen.

Sure, whiffing on Markelle Fultz certainly hurt the 76ers’ chances of building a Big 3 the ‘right’ way, but the team still had oh so many assets from which to assemble a championship squad, they just had to use them the correct way.

When Brand took the job, the 76ers were coming off of a 52 win season with one of the league’s lightest payrolls and an All-Star starter under contract for the foreseeable future.

Fast forward six months into the future and the Sixers only had two All-Stars, are on the precipice of one of the highest payrolls in the league, and are on pace to win the exact same number of games despite five different trades.

That’s remarkably similar to the Nets’ transformation after adding Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, as they actually won five fewer games in 2013-14 than the season before.

More from Philadelphia 76ers


Now, I can already hear you saying ‘The Sixers didn’t go full 2k on the trade deadline for the regular season, this team is built for the playoffs’, and that’s a fair response. No one can argue that the 76ers’ starting five AND their bench aren’t better today than when the season began, but just how much better is the difference between a potential dynasty or another trip to the proverbial drawing board.

If Philly loses in the second round for the second year in a row, will it be enough to keep their corp in tact? Will Butler or Harris be willing to accept a smaller role as a second, third, or even fourth offensive option if they’ll never be able to realistically compete for a championship?

And what about Brett Brown? If he can’t get his team past 52 wins, or the Celtics, Raptors, or Bucks, will he be afforded another year at the helm of the 76ers ship? Would the ownership group instead turn their attention to, say, a Jason Kidd-type who could come at his players from a player’s perspective?

I mean that certainly didn’t work in Brooklyn, as Kidd only lasted a single season with the team despite being arguably the most prolific player in the franchise’s history.

Next. When is Ben Simmons going to let the 3-ball fly?. dark

No, if the Philadelphia 76ers are serious about building this team long-term, they should stay as far away from the Brooklyn Nets model as possible. Too bad the comparisons keep looking more and more appropriate.