Entering the 2013-14 season, nobody questioned the position of the Sixers. When Sam Hinkie was hired as the new GM, change was inevitable. Major change came in the form of a draft day trade that sent the team’s lone All-Star Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for rookie Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick. Hinkie didn’t try to fool anyone into thinking the Sixers were going to be contenders in his first season, but yesterday shocked even those who believe in “tanking” or going “Winless for Wiggins.”
While there was no questioning who was the better team entering last night’s match-up with the Los Angeles Clippers, nobody expected the game to be as lopsided as it was. In fact, it was on pace to be the biggest blow-out in NBA history for a large part of the game. Los Angeles showed why they have title aspirations and that the Sixers have a lot of rebuilding to do, handing the team from “The City of Brotherly Love” a 123-78 loss.
To start the night off, the Clippers jumped out to a 46-15 lead by the end of the first quarter. For those that aren’t math majors, that’s a 184-60 pace. While the “Lob City” crew didn’t stay on that pace, they made sure to keep their distance, never allowing the Sixers to get within 30 from that point on.
Perhaps more than any other night, it was apparent that Brett Brown’s crew has very few NBA-quality players. At the beginning of the season, Brown had said that he the Sixers have six NBA players and a bunch of guys looking for their first opportunity. After their performance in Hollywood, many may question that may have been a generous statement, and that they have less than six qualified players.
The season can’t end soon enough for all of those affiliated with the team, whether it be as a player, front office role, or fan. With two first-rounders this summer and rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, it is clear that if the Sixers are going to contend again, it will be in the future, not particularly soon. It looks as though the Sixers may have two picks in the top-12 given the Pelicans’ performance this season, and if that is the case, they may very well have four of the very best young talents in the game.
Regardless, it is clear that as it stands, there is little to be excited about on this current roster. Carter-Williams has been undoubtedly the best rookie in the Association, Thaddeus Young has been consistent as always, and Nerlens Noel has as much upside as anyone around, but other than that, few guys have showed much of anything worthy of an NBA roster spot.
Some Sixers’ fans remain excited about the potential of the future team, as Hinkie and company look to continue rebuilding through the draft. While there is some reason for optimism, there is no “sure thing” in terms of NBA prospects. Just look at a guy on the Sixers’ roster earlier in the season: Kwame Brown. With that said, fans should remain cautious when it comes to investing in the future of this team.