The Philadelphia 76ers, despite not clinching the Larry O’Brien trophy in recent years, have been one of the most formidable squads in the league over the last six years. Led by Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, the franchise should be slated for even more wins in the foreseeable future.
That being said, with the Sixers having pivoted from their once-grueling brand of rebuilding to a win-now sheen of immediate winning, the franchise has not been so patient to developing young players, save for some notable exclusions. Be that as it may, there’s definitely a lot of theoretical justice behind trying to win now with proven commodities with Embiid at his peak.
Missed opportunities are piling up for the Philadelphia 76ers
Nevertheless, Philly has had a slew of missed opportunities recently, and a Spurs analyst revealed just that following a Summer League game which featured a rookie from the 76ers last season — Julian Champagnie.
Champagnie, a two-way player for the 76ers last season before being cut and signing with San Antonio, had a fiery run to end the previous campaign and was rightfully rewarded a four-year, $12 million contract to stay with the Spurs. He is quickly proving to be a massive bargain, turning in 30 points in his SL debut and showcasing an improved two-way game that Philly could have benefited from.
The 6’8” wingman simply never got a chance under the veteran-preferring Doc Rivers to bare his skillset. Even worse, he was waived for Mac McClung, a player with a much lower ceiling who went on to play two games for the team. Instead, the Spurs, renowned for their player development program in the league, may have another gem in the making.
Unfortunately, the Champagnie erasure was a recurring design with the championship coach. Remember Charles Bassey?
Bassey, Philadelphia’s second-round selection in 2021, saw his tenure with the team abruptly end despite showing glimpses of being a versatile and mobile big man behind Embiid with a clear defensive niche. He ended up in San Antonio this season on a two-way deal before out-performing expectations and having his deal converted to a standard four-year, $10.2 million contract.
Bassey has supreme athleticism and can cover a lot of ground defensively with his mobility. With the Spurs, he showed his very efficient finishing ability, impeccable shot blocking, surprising court awareness, and even a respectable three-point shot — skills from a big man the 76ers could have definitely enjoyed. Instead, he was waived for Montrezl Harrell, an even more undersized center who barely saw the court in meaningful games.
In addition to Jalen McDaniels, the Philadelphia 76ers have indeed missed on a lot of opportunities recently. And while exercising a bit more patience may not have impacted their W-L card anyway, it does concede a lot for the franchise in roster flexibility and future-proofing.
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