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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SDH's 2014/2015 NBA End of Season Worst to First Countdown: 28. Philadelphia 76ers

2014/2015 Projection: 30-52, fourth place Atlantic Division, thirteenth place Eastern Conference

Actual Finish: 18-64, fourth place Atlantic Division, fourteenth place Eastern Conference

Projected 2014/2015 Finish

Actual 2014/2015 Finish

Team Statistics and League Rank

  • Points Scored: 92.0 (29th)
  • Points Allowed: 101.0 (20th)
  • Team FG%: .408 (30th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .449 (15th)
  • Team FT%: .676 (30th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .320 (29th)
  • Rebounds per game: 42.9 (19th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 46.3 (30th)
  • Turnovers per game: 16.9 (30th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 15.9 (2nd)

Individual Statistical Leaders

  • Scoring (ppg): Tony Wroten (16.9)
  • Rebounds per game:  Nerlens Noel (8.1)
  • Minutes per game: Nerlens Noel (30.8)
  • Assists per game:  Ish Smith (6.1)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Henry Sims (.474)
  • Free Throw Percentage: Isaiah Canaan (.850)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Hollis Thompson (.401)
  • Steals per game: Nerlens Noel (1.8)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Nerlens Noel (1.9)

SDH’s Hero to Honor: +Nerlens Noel

After missing the entire season due to injury, Nerlens Noel came onto the floor for the first time as an NBA professional basketball player and although he did not knock people off their seats, he certainly made his presence felt as the overall leader of the team.  The 6' 11" big man was the primary option in the paint as the team's sole solid defensive presence leading it in rebounds, blocked shots, along with steals per game and although he was not much of a factor on the offensive end, his 9.9 points per game and his .462 field goal percentage showed that there is something there to develop.  In time, Nerlens Noel will develop into a solid NBA caliber center and once his teammate, +Joel Embiid, who just like him, also missed his inaugural season due to injury, suits up next season, Philly may have quite the twin tower duo which has never been seen for quite some time--30 years to be exact.  Hopefully the team's front office will not, once again, pull off some cockamamie move splitting the two in order to get another draft pick the same way it did with +Michael Carter-Williams, trading him to the +Milwaukee Bucks for little, if anything and actually do what they promised Philly fans and start building a competitive team.   Nevertheless, in his inaugural season, although he has yet to prove that he is a franchise player whom the team can build around, he has certainly shown that he can be a vital piece to the Sixers' ongoing reconstruction.      

SDH’s Face to Forget: +Michael Carter-Williams 
The news of his sudden departure was mind-boggling to say the least--how can the Sixers' front office simply trade away such a talented and gifted player in Michael Carter Williams, who had earned the Rookie of the Year the previous year and was supposed to be key piece in the rebuilding process for nothing more than a low first round pick?  Numerous fans and observers from all over seemed completely dumbfounded at the fact that Philly simply gave up on such a prize of a players whose size (6'6" 190), athletic ability, as well with his amazing skill set making him possibly one of the most intriguing young players in the NBA.  Sure he was not that great a shooter with his .396 field goal percentage and his even worse .235 from beyond the arc, but surely his ability to not only penetrate, passing ability (6.7 apg) as well as his rebounding prowess (5.3 per game--4th among the league among point guards) would certainly have compensated.  Now he is on an up an coming Bucks team which made the playoffs next season and looks to improve with every following season while the Sixers continue to wallow at the bottom with the front office having no real clue of what it wants to do.  For Sixers fans, this is simply another slap across the face as they continue to witness their team's bungling while losing what little hope they had that it will finally get itself back together.     

To write about the +Philadelphia 76ers is a daunting and frustrating challenge because it is hard to read them let alone analyze or review what they actually did during the 2015 regular season because it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever--here is a team that is SO bad, that they even fail at trying to be bad falling two games short of the worst record in the league.  What is even worse about this already sad sack of a franchise is despite the fact that it continues to promised its much beleaguered fan base that its plan is to build for the future, but it does not even seem that the Sixers have any real idea where to start after the team traded last season's Rookie of the Year winner to the +Milwaukee Bucks for absolutely nothing in return.  Sure they received a first round pick from the +Phoenix Suns in the deal; however, that pick is Lottery protected and is currently held by the +Los Angeles Lakers--a pick that they will most likely keep for not only draft, but for the next two years after that seeming that it loses its protected status by 2018 (2/19/2015).  One really has to question the reasoning behind the deal because Philly already had a quality player in Michael Carter-Williams who was probably going to be an all star for many years to come, but traded him for a pick that may or may not materialize for the next three years and may not be any where the caliber that MCW was.  As with everything that occurred of the course of the past five and a half months, the deal along with the rest of the season all stinks to high heaven leaving fans who have spent their hard earned money for season tickets wondering whether or not they will ever see team ever be competitive again. 

That is why it is no fan writing about the Sixers because criticizing them is pretty much a waste of time because it is Philly's primary goal to stay extremely bad as long as possible so they can remain low enough in order to get a better chance at the number one overall pick, which has yet to happen, by the way.  It must be that the powers of fate and chance have almost assured that the Sixers never get the number one pick no matter how terrible they try to be because even they see how undeserving Philly is by its blatant abuse of the lottery system that favors teams with the worst records with the best chances of earning the first overall pick in the draft.  Even the +NBA  has grown disgusted by Philly's absolute unwillingness to even try being competitive and has gone as far to discuss changing the entire draft structure throwing out the entire idea of even having a lottery, replacing it a system that prevents teams from tanking their seasons in order to get a top five pick in the draft.  One such proposal that was discussed was to eliminate the lottery altogether, a "wheel of rotating draft picks" that would ensure a team with a top overall draft pick at least once every thirty years--a system that would be so complex that would take away any incentive for a team to even attempt to tank their season (12/23/2013).   Unfortunately, such a drastic action will never be accepted by the league's Board of Governors, but at least it is a sign that the sporting world is sick and tired watching teams like the Sixers take advantage of a system that was meant to balance out the competition in the league.

Simply talking about this past season can be considered as an absolute waste of time because the story is always the same--Sixers lose, get blown out by large amount, will wait for next year's draft; however, with the completely illogical move of trading Michael Carter Williams, who was a potential star in the making, just in order to remain terrible has gone a step too far.  To analyse and critique the team is almost an act in futility because there has been so much player turnover over the course of the season that it has been impossible to keep track of and that roster will continue to be constantly rotating players in and out thus removing any credibility that Philly even knows what it is even doing, let alone has a plan for the future.  It has become abundantly how clueless the 76ers have become when the team has gone through three GMs in the last four year which makes any logical person in sound mind ask the question: how can a team even think of rebuilding when it cannot even find someone to keep long enough to even try and start to carry out such an undertaking?  It almost seems as if the Sixers have been literally throwing darts blindfolded hoping to see where one will even hit the board and that is no way to run a franchise or any for profit organization for that matter.  If a CEO of a major corporation told shareholders that his or her plan was to completely trash the company, sell off its best assets, and devalue its stock to the point of invisibility, he or she would not just be fired, that person would literally be burnt at the stake for corporate heresy; so why has it been so allowable in the domain of sports where profit should come from winning and not from purposely trying to lose as the Sixers have been doing for the past couple of years.

It certainly does not make the team attractive to any prospective blue chip free agents who even though they may wish for a big pay day and the club has the resources to suit his desires, but has no prospects of winning in the near future; however, that is what Philly has been selling to fans with its #TogetherWeBuild shtick using their vast amounts of cap space and lottery status as the primary focus of the team's overall strategy. What is even worse is that most Sixer fans have bought into this rather nonsensical notion that all this forced upon suffering will magically yield some miracle and that the City of Brotherly Love will return to its place once again as the basketball mecca it once was during the eighties and into the nineties.  Such insipid gullibility can be best coincides with the old saying: "fool me once, shame one you, but fool me twice, shame on me; or as former US President George W. Bush put it so eloquently, "fool me me once shame on you, but fool me twice . . . uh . . . well, you're not going to fool me again." It is a shame that fans are always at the mercy of such franchise that uses their hope as collateral only to once again flush the investment of unconditional love that they had given so willingly down the toilet simply because of no other simpler reason than it can. Just writing this post have become so disgustingly painful that to write any more would just lead to nausea if continued.

So with that, I will just STOP . . .