With the Sixers off to a 0-3 start to the season, are fans in store for a fourth straight year of tanking, or is there reason to be hopeful?
There have been a few bright spots for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. Unfortunately, they have been few and far between as the team gets off to another slow start. Philadelphia dropped to 0-4 with a 109-93 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night. Despite playing three home games to open the season, they has yet to grab a win or give up fewer than 100 points. It appears as though another tank job could be in order for the 2016-17 season.
However, general manager Bryan Colangelo has declared that this will not be the case, telling The Intelligencer there is “not a chance” the Sixers tank again.
Call us skeptical.
This team has pieces but nothing that will help it compete for the postseason right away. Two of the team’s best assets, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, can’t even function together. Philly has gone so far as to designate days off, at least through these early season back-to-backs. Okafor sat Tuesday, with Embiid set to take the night off Wednesday. Neither is playing more than 21 minutes per game as it is, though Embiid already looks awfully impressive in his time on the court.
Through three games, Embiid is leading the team in points (17.3 per game), rebounds (6.3), blocks (2.7), and free throws. He has also shown some three-point range, but leads the team in turnovers as well. The last point speaks to his inexperience. He is still an NBA rookie despite being drafted years ago.
The 76ers aren’t staying pat at the bottom of the standings. They decided to trade Jerami Grant for Ersan Ilyasova. From a skills standpoint, this move makes sense. Ilaysova provides some floor spacing and outside shooting the team desperately needs. From an upside standpoint, though, the move is a bit more curious. Ilyasova is not getting any better and will not be in the team’s long-term plans. Grant may not either, but the possibility at least exists.
More Sixers: Ben Simmons Has To Play During The 2016-17 Season
The real long-term plans revolve around Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. As for the latter, the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, there remains no timetable for his return from a broken bone in his foot. Simmons hopes to be back early in the 2017 calendar year, though that is just an estimate.
Even if Simmons (and Nerlens Noel) returns healthy sooner rather than later, Philadelphia is still a team with lots of holes and no veteran stars. Colangelo says there is no plan to tank, but plans can change.