Although it sits over a full season away, the 2014 NBA Draft could be big for the 76ers.
The franchise, currently shrouded in uncertainty, is in rough shape after this disaster of a season, and this summer doesn’t seem to offer any worthwhile, reasonable relief.
Sure the Sixers have some cap space and a lottery pick on lock, but this summer’s free agent crop is underwhelming, as is the draft class. Although an obvious reaction to the poor play this season would be to retool the roster, this may not be the summer to sign away the future of the franchise.
While requesting patience from Philadelphia fans is pointless, (and realistically why should they be patient with the last title coming thirty years ago), it is important at this point.
Let’s be realistic; nothing short of some miracle management could catapult the team into contender status next season, and as far as I know Adam Aron doesn’t moonlight as a magician.
Superstar FA’s won’t be lining up to take a pay cut to play in Philly, and while the team may not be too far out of the playoff picture, it is miles away from calling itself a true contender. The franchise needs more than a single summer can fix, especially considering the Sixers’ current salary cap situation and potentially weak draft prospects. So, don’t expect a title out of this team next season.
If the Sixers are smart they will limit their spending this summer, and set their sights on building a strong foundation starting with the impressive draft class of 2014.
Instead of approaching this offseason looking to add some fringe free agents with hopes of pushing back into the playoffs, the Sixers should, well, stink for another season, and have some high hopes for the 2014 draft.
Honestly, no combination of free agents that the Sixers could sign this summer, outside of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, could turn the team into a true title contender. What some mid-level signings will do however is eat up cap space and help to keep the Sixers in extended mediocrity mode, which is the equivalent to NBA purgatory.
Sure, rebuilding isn’t ideal, but there comes a point where a team needs to suck it up and stink for a season or two, in order to improve. We’re not talking “tanking,” rather just playing the season out largely as is without taking on many additional contracts this summer in order to remain relevant next season.
The Sixers were able to avoid playoff positioning this year, and another similar season next year should land them in good standing for the lottery, which boasts some potential star power.
Andrew Wiggins, currently the country’s top-ranked high school player figures to be available, along with fellow prized prospect Jabari Parker, and Oklahoma State standout Marcus Smart, who would have been a lottery lock had he declared for the draft this summer.
Wiggins, who committed to Kansas on Tuesday afternoon, is an extremely versatile wing player, and has drawn on-court comparisons to Hall-of-Famer, Scottie Pippen.
Parker and Smart have drawn more contemporary NBA comparisons, with the former being compared to Carmelo Anthony, and the latter showing similarities to James Harden.
There is, of course, no guarantee that the Sixers will land any of these players, but it is important to point out the potential. While the 2013 Draft may not offer too much relief to the struggling Sixers, the 2014 Draft may be full of franchise-changing faces if the Sixers happen to be in a similar state next summer.