Monday, June 30, 2014

A Tale of Two Approaches

                In Philadelphia, two of the 4 “major” sports franchises are in rebuilding mode, the main difference is only one will admit to being in such a state. The Sixers are flat out admitting they are rebuilding, all their energies are focused on the future. The Phillies are in denial, insisting they are trying to win now with the aging remnants of their 2008 World Series champions.  Both are losing (or expect to lose once the season starts) games at a rapid pace. The difference? The Sixers have told the fans what they are attempting, and so far, their actions have been in support of their words.  Last season amounted to an extended tryout of young players, (not a tanking of the season as many in the media have called it) many of whom had been first round draft picks of other teams (usually draft picks of good teams that picked well after the lottery picks). These players had trouble cracking the starting lineup of their playoff contending teams, but they were first round picks for a reason. The Sixers may have found a few keepers amidst all the losing, players such a s Tony Wroten, Hollis Thompson, Henry Sims, and James Anderson, players who may never be stars but still be valuable role players.  Additionally, last year they  had two lottery picks in the draft, one of whom, Michael Carter-Williams was rookie of the year, and one, who most likely would have been the number one pick in the draft if he hadn’t been injured, Nerlens Noel. The Sixers provide Noel an entire season to heal and develop his game, without the pressure of having to win now.

Al the losing pushed them into the draft lottery again, of course, once again, with two picks. This time, they again selected the player expected to go number one but for an injury, Joel Embiid, and once again will likely give him an entire season to recover. Additionally, they shrewdly selected a point guard coveted by another team, then traded him for a more talented forward plus an additional future first round pick. This forward, Dario Saric. like Embiid, will likely not play for the team this year, preferring to hone his game in Turkey before joining the NBA. 

The Sixers, despite having Noel for this season, will likely continue losing without help from this year’s draft, landing them in the lottery once again.   Next year, they should have Carter-Williams, Noel, Embiid, their 2015 fist round pick, and perhaps holder Thaddeus Young in their lineup, with Saric due from Turkey the year after that, just as these high picks start to become veteran NBA players, and hopefully stars.   The pain of losing now is paving eh way to a bright future. Tomorrow, I’ll contrast that with the Phillies approach

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