Brett Brown was hired as the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers after the 2013 NBA Draft had already taken place. On draft night, Sam Hinkie made his presence known by selecting Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th overall pick, and acquiring Nerlens Noel via trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Sixers now had their future Point Guard and Center, while also receiving another first-round pick in the stacked 2014 NBA Draft from the Pelicans. Unfortunately for Sixers’ fans, they would have to endure another season without their starting Center as Noel would be out for the season with a torn ACL. Even if one did not know of the Sixers plan to tank the 2013-2014 season, they knew come the start of the season with the likes of Kwame Brown, Brandon Davies, Darrius Morris, and Daniel Orton cracking the opening game roster. The Sixers came out of the gates surprising the entire NBA world with a 114-110 over the Miami Heat, with Michael Carter-Williams having a NBA debut for the ages.
Reality would soon set in after the Sixers started the season off with three straight wins, as the losses started piling up in the standings throughout the first month of the season. By Christmas time, the talks in Philadelphia focused on what pick the Sixers would have in the 2014 NBA Draft. Sixers’ fans began making up slogans including “Winless for Wiggins”, “Sorry For Jabari”, and “Concede for Embiid” in hopes of the Sixers losing enough to land a top pick. Losing would be a gentile way of wording what ensued in Philadelphia once the calendar turned to 2014. The Sixers were not just losing, they were getting hammered, demolished, and torn to shreds in all assets of the game by any team that stepped on the court with them.
From January 31st to March 28th, the Sixers did not win a basketball game, tying the all-time NBA record for consecutive losses with 26. In the middle of the team’s 26-game losing streak was the NBA Trade Deadline, and Sam Hinkie was active as expected. Throughout multiple trades, Hinkie moved Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, Evan Turner, and a second round pick for Danny Granger, Byron Mullens, Earl Clark, Eric Maynor, Henry Sims, and six second round draft picks. Hinkie’s trades gave the Sixers a total of five draft picks for the 2014 NBA Draft, while acquiring future second rounders as well.
The Sixers 26-game losing streak ended with a convincing 123-98 win over the horrific Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center. With the NBA Regular Season coming to a close, the Sixers’ season ended how it started, with a win over the Miami Heat. Only the Milwaukee Bucks finished with a worse record than the Sixers who finished 19-63 and had the second best chance of landing the first overall pick in the draft.
Sam Hinkie was locked to land Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker with the third overall pick as the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to select Joel Embiid with the first pick. Then the news came out a week before draft day that Joel Embiid was undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, and would be out 5-8 months.
The Cavaliers took Wiggins first overall and Jabari Parker followed him at second landing in Milwaukee. When the Sixers were on the clock, Sam Hinkie rolled the dice and selected Joel Embiid with the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Embiid is certainly a high risk and could be the steal of the draft if he fully recovers from the stress fracture. By selecting Embiid, the Sixers could end up with the most dominant frontcourt in the NBA with Embiid and Noel for years to come.
Sam Hinkie continued to use his magic as the time came for the Sixers to pick again at 10th overall. He selected point guard Elfrid Payton, which shocked everyone as Payton never worked out with the team prior to the draft. The Sixers then traded Payton to the Orlando Magic for the rights to Dario Saric (selected 12th overall by the Magic), Orlando’s 2015 second-round draft pick, and re-acquired the 2017 first-round draft pick that the Sixers traded away in a package to receive Andrew Bynum in 2012.
With their five second round draft picks, the Sixers took K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant, Vasilije Micic, and Pierre Jackson who was acquired via trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Even with $29.6 million in projected cap room, do not expect the Sixers to make any huge moves during free agency. Sam Hinkie already got the ball rolling by waiving the contract of James Anderson, leaving the Sixers with another hole in their roster. Just by looking at their roster for the upcoming season, it is evident that the Sixers will not be contending for a postseason position, heading towards another season of tanking.
Though Sixers’ fans will have to endure another long season of losing without another top draft pick in Embiid, the losing will be watched knowing that the future is bright. Sam Hinkie has a plan, and with Embiid healthy in time for the 2015-2016 season, the Sixers will have a ton of cap space along with Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid to build a championship team around.
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