Are Sixers Last Hope For Philadelphia?


Are Sixers Last Hope For Philadelphia?

Not an overreaction.

Philadelphia is a proud sports city with few teams to be proud of – from a win and loss perspective. The Philadelphia Phillies are in the basement of the baseball National League East Division with a record of 56-94, and have just divested the team of talent in the hopes of acquiring assets for the future.  The rebuild has begun.

The Philadelphia Flyers finished with a record of 33 wins, 31 losses and 18 ties. That was not bad, but it kept them out of the playoffs.  If this off-season roster moves do not pan out, they will likely elect to rebuild.

The Philadelphia Eagles have been 10-6 for the first two year of head coach Chip Kelly’s NFL debut, but with a 0-2 start to the 2015 NFL season, and the poor showing of all of the new personnel on the team Chip Kelly signed, it’s not too early to pull in the brick on expecting playoffs from the team. And after this season, the team will be shopping for a starting quarterback once more, having obtained Sam Bradford on the last year of his lackluster contract. So it’s one possible scenario that the team will need to rebuild once more.

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Which brings us to the Philadelphia 76ers. They’ve at least gotten a jump on “bad to good” by being very bad in the past two years. But being bad is not the goal. Being bad is a temporary state of being on the road to becoming good.

In the city with four professional teams, how can I possibly be placing the hope for a winner on the shoulders of the team that has taken being bad to new depths? Perhaps the conclusion lies in the perception that of all of the teams, only the Philadelphia 76ers know they are bad. Perhaps the conclusion lies in the fact that the Sixers don’t have it all on the back of one mad scientist or madman. In Philadelphia, they have the business of signing the talent segregated from the business of encouraging mentoring and building a team with the talent. Perhaps its the length of the NBA season, and the relatively small size of an NBA roster. Perhaps, and perhaps not.

The Sixers will be better this year.  That leaves a lot of leeway, having finished with merely 19 and 18 wins respectively in 2013 and 2014 seasons.  However, despite the team still rehabbing center Joel Embiid and waiting for the return to the states by power forward Dario Saric, the team is bringing on some very notable talent this season.  Last season, the team maintained it’s pace while shoring up the defense.  This season, the team has made it the goal to maintain it’s pace and defense while shoring up the offense.

They will have Jahlil Okafor this season to team up with Nerlens Noel.  They have the range of Nik Stauskas, and a surprising accurate long range shooting from Furkan Aldemir. They will have a immensely robust competition at the point guard position.   They will have young talented players like Jerami Grant and Robert Covington back for another season, and hope they will expand their production to coincide with more time on the court.

But they’ve turned the corner.   Some projections barely have them breaking 20 wins this season, while others are more optimistic at the mid 30’s.   In either case, they have very young players growing and learning together – not just how to be good individually, but how to be good teammates and work together.

We’ll know this season.  But if any of you have been primarily Phillies, Flyers, or Eagles fans, there may be hope for you.   This is a team on the rise.

The city needs one.

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