The Europeans Are Coming! The Europeans Are Coming!

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Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA;

Dario Saric

(Croatia) gets a hug after being selected as the number twelve overall pick to the Orlando Magic in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Europeans Are Coming! The Europeans Are Coming!

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow… ” were the words to a classic from the play “Annie”. That theme has been the biggest hope, and detractor, of the Philadelphia 76ers organization. But it’s not simply because they continue to trade today’s players for tomorrow’s draft picks. There’s more. They have Dario Saric, Vasilije Micic and Arsalan Kazemi in Europe, and Jordan McRae returning from Australia.  Furkan Aldemir has joined the team in 2014.  All of this is after surrendering two additional European assets in the Nik Stauskas trade: Lithuanian prospect Arturas Gudaitis and Serbian prospect Luka Mitrovic.

Today the team is struggling to assemble a team with chemistry, talent, and resiliency.  But it is a team with enough talent on paper to have cause for optimism.  With Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel hitting the court this season, and with a Joel Embiid struggling to find the basketball court, the mistake now would be to alter course and over-commit tomorrow’s assets to fix today’s holes.  It takes more to shake the will of general manager Sam Hinkie, however.

With a new roster being built on the fly, centering on the combined talents of “bigs” Okafor and Noel, the plan is to find enough talent to stretch the defense.   Stauskas was coveted a year ago, but after a disappointing season with the Sacramento Kings, became an almost risk free acquisition to the Sixers.   The team is also counting heavily on the point guard competition among Pierre Jackson, Tony Wroten, Isaiah Canaan, and Scottie Wilbekin.

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Both general manager Sam Hinkie and head coach Brett Brown are in synch on the next step for the team’s progress.  They need offense, and they need to stretch the court to generate it.  To do so, they’ve assembled a cast of high ceiling low risk prospects who will compete among themselves, and eventually in the NBA. Those who succeed, will have the opportunity to remain with the team next year.  Why is that important?  Next year the team becomes a force in the NBA.

Next: Any Room For Us?