Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

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Jerry Colangelo: A Grown-up Comes To The Party

3 min read
Jerry Colangelo

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s not hard to read between the lines. The NBA has seen enough. The Mad Scientist’s experiment needs to be reined in before stuff starts to explode. Too many others in the league are about to catch the flying shrapnel.

Jerry Colangelo, whose name should be well known to any serious NBA aficionado, has been brought in the “consult” for the Sixers. Adam Silver, charged with running the NBA, has stepped in to see to it that one of its most venerable and important franchises stops the bleeding. If anyone believes that Josh Harris or Sam Hinkie was looking for a 76 year-old guru for the 76ers, then… it’s good that Christmas is right around the corner. In fact, it’s clear now what has been long suspected – that other NBA owners have lobbied for the change that’s coming for the Sixers.

As one who not only watches nearly all of the Sixers’ games, but hears the broadcast commentary of the voices of the other NBA teams, I’ve been made painfully aware over the last two seasons especially that the approach of the Philadelphia 76ers management to the team’s “rebuild” has been met with everything from the politely dismissive to the outright disdainful. And one has to wonder why the San Antonio Spurs poured it on for 48 minutes in the humiliating beat-down the Sixers suffered at the Wells Fargo Center (oops, “The Center”) on Monday night. Why would Greg Popovich, mentor and admirer of Brett Brown, allow his team to pound the hapless Philadelphia opposition so relentlessly to the bitter end? Would it be outlandish to imagine that Pop wanted his friend to benefit by having the world see more clearly than ever how overmatched the Sixers’ management and ownership made sure the team would continue to be, despite Brown’s stoic and admirable efforts?

One also has to wonder at the motivation of Hinkie, et al. Has it really been as represented? To build “from the ground up” with the greatest draft picks for a few years blooming into such a florid basketball Springtime as to make Philadelphia the inevitable choice of the choice free agents looking for a place to land for the ride to the championship promised land? The long-suffering Sixers fans – said to be so tired of “mediocrity” that they were willing to endure a few years of sacrifice – were told that as the prime draft pick players bloomed the team would rise to elite status almost spontaneously after the cake was baked and the final ingredients were added. Now, instead, we see that the emperor has no clothes. We see that the owners of the 76ers believed either that they could build a championship on the cheap or could save money and make a profit while a new theory is tested on a city that doesn’t deserve to be a guinea pig. The truth is that you must try to win and rebuild at the same time. It’s been done.

Jerry Colangelo does not need this new gig. He’s had a great career and is one of the NBA’s great leaders. He knows that there is no simple push-button form of analytics that will cause the sprouting of a championship. Brett Brown has to be even happier than he’ll allow himself to acknowledge at this development. Here’s hoping he can see a future that makes sense soon. And that he’ll still want to be in Philadelphia for it.

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