Ahead of the Sixers-Heat playoff Game 1 on Saturday, 76ers co-managing partner Josh Harris talked about the team’s rebuilding process.
After combining to win 75 games over four seasons, the Sixers finished this regular season with a 52-30 record and earned the third seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoff standings. They capped the season with 16 consecutive wins to set a team record.
Harris’ Sixers hosted the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.
Here is a sample of the conversation:
Question: How did you have enough patience to tank for 3 ½ seasons?
Harris: When I got here, I really wanted to restore Philly to its prior greatness. I wanted to win an NBA championship. Everyone says that, right? Then there are 29 other owners that are really smart and well financed, and they want to do the same thing. So, obviously, you have to figure out how you get there. Obviously, we chose the draft. That takes longer because you get one or two good players a year. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. We’ve had some of those. But my vision was of restoring Philly’s greatness and going deep in the playoffs and ultimately win an NBA championship. That was really what I set out to do. So it allowed me to take a long-term point of view even though it was really frustrating to go through the losing. I stuck with it. We stuck with it. I’m glad we did.”
Q: Did you ever feel like abandoning the rebuilding plan during the rough times?
Harris: “I never really varied. But, at the same time, it was painful. You know, once we started I never varied. But it was painful.”
Q: What is the satisfaction you have with this success after having gone through the rebuilding process?
Harris: “I have a lot of satisfaction where we are in terms of for the city. Ultimately, I want the city to enjoy the Sixers and enjoy the success of the Sixers. I have a lot of happiness because I see [the Wells Fargo Center] selling out. I watch the media. I see how people are feeling about it. But, at the same time, we are not done yet. We have yet to achieve our goal. I’m greedy. I want to win an NBA championship. … I’m not going to be satisfied until that happens.”
Q: Did you expect the Sixers to win 52 games and finish as the conference’s third seed one season after winning just 28 games?
Harris: “We were pretty straight forward we wanted to make the playoffs, which would have been a big jump from 28 wins last season. So when you say, ‘Make the playoffs,’ you are really saying seventh or eighth [seed]. To make third seed really did exceed expectations. … We didn’t think we were going to come in and do that. The culture jelled. and we did a lot of things to make that happen.”