Every year ESPN projects the records of every NBA team and ESPN projected the 76ers to finish last in the Eastern Conference, while also projecting them to get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by Chad Ford. Obviously these rankings are premature, but for now that is what the “experts” are saying, although it’s not a surprise.
As for last year, the Sixers finished the season 19-63, and that was good enough, or should I say bad enough, to finish second to last in the East, behind the egregious Milwaukee Bucks. With that record, the Sixers received the third pick in this years NBA Draft selecting center Joel Embiid from Kansas,. Embiid is Philly’s second straight draft choice — 2013 pick Nerlens Noel being the first — that will not be able to play on opening night.
Now the question is, even though the Sixers had an abysmal season last year, can the 76ers get worse this year?
Unfortunately for all Sixers fans, it might get worse this year, but there is a bright side. First off, it can’t get much worse then 19-63. The Sixers have a lot of young talent that will have time to mesh under a great coach in Brett Brown. Even with another long losing season looming in Philadelphia, it will get them one step closer, or in other words, one year closer to being able to compete with the monsters in the NBA.
There are a couple reasons this year will be more of a struggle then last year. One of those reasons it the sophomore wall that could plague Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. This wall that MCW ran into during his rookie season, isn’t uncommon, especially in the sophomore campaign. Michael came into the league, did things no one really expected him to do, and he caught teams off guard. This year he won’t catch teams off guard. He is not going to come into the first game of the season against the defending NBA champs and nearly drop a quadruple-double.
Another big reason the Sixers will decline this season is because of the suspected Thad Young and Anthony Bennett swap. If Thad Young is moved to the Timberwolves, that leaves the Sixers with one veteran in Jason Richardson. Who knows what Richardson has left to give to the Sixers, it probably isn’t a lot. If Thad is truly gone from Philly, a new member of the team is going to have to step up and try to give the team some veteran presence. Who will it be? The 76ers roster is still very young and MCW, Embiid, Noel and Tony Wroten don’t have much experience. Nobody knows what is going on in the locker room, but we do know someone is going to have to take the reins of the team.
So, unfortunately the Sixers are looking at big disadvantages moving into this season. There are bright spots with the young talent with untapped potential that will take some time to groove together. This talent includes MCW, Nerlens Noel (playing in his first season, after sitting out last season), Anthony Bennett (if the trade for Thad Young does go through), Tony Wroten, and many more players. Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that can have patience can have what he will.” The Sixers and their fans will need to have patience in order to have what they want: a chance to compete for the NBA Championship.