I consider myself to be a very knowledgeable NBA fan. Most seasons, I can name off every team’s active roster at the top of my head without hesitation. Not this season. Every time I tune into the Philadelphia 76ers, I find myself asking “Who the hell is that guy?” at least once per game, and you know what, it’s awesome! I actually enjoy having to flip open my laptop and look up the Wikipedia Page for Hollis Thompson and Brandon Davies. It’s a delight for me to try and remember if Elliot Williams was that bust from the Blazers (he was!) and to figure out just how Lorenzo Brown ended up on the roster after being drafted by the Wolves this summer. It’s weird, and it’s awesome.
If this sounds like I am endorsing the strategy of unashamed, blatant tanking, well it’s because I am! Sam Hinkie and the 76ers front-office are making all the right moves. However, I don’t think new coach Brett Brown received the memo. The 76ers have won more games so far this season than the Knicks, Nets, Wizards and Cavaliers. All four of those teams are all-in on trying to make the playoffs (or better) this season. Brett Brown is executing a David Strategy perfectly by having his young 76ers play at a break-neck speed. They are leading the entire NBA in pace factor. This is some seriously heady stuff.
More importantly, the Philly’s young core of Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes also certainly missed the memo about tanking. Here is why tanking can be such a beautiful thing. By being forced to throw these four players out there for big minutes every night, you get the chance to showcase them. Michael Carter-Williams looks like a future superstar, and Turner, Young and Hawes have all become excellent trade assets. This is a tanking job done right. The 76ers are a fun team to watch right now, and are slowly building a juggernaut for the future. All the other bad teams should be taking notes.
Photo taken from Nick Laham, Bleacher Report