Tanking, everyone is talking about it…Is it the NBA’s biggest problem, is it a solution if your team is bad, or is it a necessary evil? I’d have to go with option 2 and 3, a necessary evil if you have been locked in the NBA basement for years and also a solution to get out of the basement. One of the teams that are being talked about a lot this year is the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers finished last season with a 34-48 record and missed the NBA playoffs by a few games. The team ended the season with a lot of question marks, would young guards like Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner ever become superstars? Would Spencer Hawes ever be a top 5-10 center in the league? Will the team with its current roster ever make it past the first round of the NBA playoffs? Well, Joshua Harris and the rest of his ownership group, who bought the Sixers from Comcast-Spectacor back in 2011, answered all these questions with an emphatic, NO. The first big move was trading Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans, at the beginning of the season for the 6th pick in the 2013 draft, Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick. This allowed the Sixers to get a top rookie from the 2013 draft and possibly a top 10 pick in the 2014 talent laden draft. The Sixers also decided to trade Holiday, when they realized that rookie Michael Carter-Williams was probably a better point guard already. The second big move was to trade Spencer Hawes to Cleveland for 2 2nd round picks, Earl Clark, and Henry Sims. The third and final move sent Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to the Pacers for Danny Granger and his expiring contract. The disappointed Granger refused to play for the Sixers, and so they bought out his contract and Granger decided to sign with the Clippers. After the smoke cleared, the Sixers then went on a tanking tear. The Sixers lost 17 straight games, getting them that much closer to a top 4 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. If tanking were an art form, GM Sam Hinkie and the Sixers ownership are Pablo Picasso. If you disagree with what they are doing, then what should the 76ers have done? Should the Sixers keep hovering around the .500 mark, sometimes making it to the playoffs with a few above average players like Turner and Holiday? I’d say no, and the proof is in the pudding…When was the last time the 76ers made it to the Eastern Conference Finals? And notice how I Said Eastern Conference finals, NOT, the NBA championship? Let me give you a hint, it was the last time they had a Superstar, and that Superstar was honored in a game against the Washington Wizards on March 1st at the Wells Fargo Center. Still don’t know? The last time was 13 years ago in 2001 when the Sixers had Allen Iverson in the prime of his career, sell out crowds, and a defense preaching coach in Larry Brown. From 1991 to 1998 the Sixers didn’t make the playoffs, they were bad, really bad, until they finally got a draft pick right, and in 1996 drafted Iverson. What does this tell you? It tells you that for the Sixers to compete they need to draft a superstar, and what better way to have a chance at drafting a superstar then trading away pretty good players for top draft picks. Why shoot NBA draft darts for over 7 years, like they did in the 1990’s? Accelerate the process, get better faster and yes TANK, tank away Sixers. Next week I’ll take a look at some of the solutions to ending this as a solution!
My Thoughts on tanking in the NBA