Just a few short years ago in 2012, the Philadelphia 76ers battled the Boston Celtics in a playoff series that went to seven games. The 76ers fell just short, and the Celtics moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. The 76ers still had some solid talent on the roster and fans expected them to build on what they already had. Instead, the front office decided to begin a complete rebuild, shipping All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the Pelicans’ first overall pick, Nerlens Noel. The Sixers went on to draft point guard Michael Carter-Williams from Syracuse, and the rebuild was on.
The Sixers started 2013 on a good note, beginning the year 3-0. The magic didn’t last long as they soon began a losing trend which included a pitiful 26 game losing streak. They were nowhere near the playoffs. Midway through the season, small forward Evan Turner, arguably the team’s best player, was shipped to the Indiana Pacers. The rebuild was in full effect, but there was a chance that 2014 would bring better luck after they drafted Kansas center Joel Embiid with the third pick along with a plethora of other young studs from the NBA draft.
Nope. The Sixers started the 2014 season 0-17 which caused some to think that the Sixers were trying to lose games in order to improve draft position for the next year and speed up the rebuild.
Although still not impressing, the Sixers have definitely been showing some potential as of late. In the first half of the season, the team looked lost. They were losing games by 20 regularly and just didn’t look like a team that belonged in the NBA. However, they have been showing glimpses of potential as of late. Head coach Brett Brown has been doing an excellent job of working with the players he has and getting them to perform. Point guard Michael Carter-Williams is a threat to drop a triple double every night, rookie KJ McDaniels has been impressive, showing off his athleticism on some high flying dunks, and scoring in the paint is no easy task with Nerlens Noel emerging as a true shot blocker. They are staying competitive in almost every game and are working a lot better as a cohesive unit. They certainly are not the laughingstock of the NBA like they were to start the 2014 season.
Some say this team will not be anywhere near the playoffs for at least three years, maybe more. However, it should not surprise anyone if this team continues to improve this year and early next year. Maybe this team could shock the world next year and make a playoff push, especially after getting center Joel Embiid back from injury and adding another talented player early in a 2015 NBA draft that has a lot of intriguing prospects.
The future certainly does look bright for basketball in Philadelphia.