Saving the Sixers

Mark D'Agostino

The NBA is back, and 76ers 2013-2014 season is underway, but don’t get too excited.  Sadly, the Sixers have become one of the worst franchises in the NBA.

After many years of being a fringe playoff team with mediocre talent, the team traded away its best player, Andre Iguodala, for center Andrew Bynum, hoping to build the future around him.

The problem was that Bynum’s knees seemed to work only when he went bowling and not while he was practicing.  Bynum missed the entire season with injuries to both his knees, and the trade, that seemed promising on paper, turned into a nightmare.

This season, the 76ers were projected to be the worst team in the league by all the experts, and rightfully so.  When Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young are supposed to be the best players, you have a team with an extreme lack of talent.

And when guys like Tony Wroten and James Anderson are expected to make solid contributions… that’s when you really know.

The casual Philadelphia sports fan probably couldn’t even name more than three or four players on the team, let alone the coach.  The main reason no one cares about the Sixers anymore is because there are no stars.

Think back to the last basketball star of Philadelphia: Allen Iverson.  Although his attitude was subject, he was a compelling player.  He excited fans and made people want to watch him play.

Since Iverson’s departure in 2006, the city has been without a basketball star.

In the sport of basketball one player can make all the difference.  Although it is a team sport, the team with the best player wins.

In the NBA, there are two ways to get a superstar and build a good team.  The first is to be a marquee franchise that will attract stars to come to play for its city through free agency.  The second is to find a star in the draft.

This process is difficult because players like that don’t grow trees.  And in order to have the best chance of getting that player, your team must be terrible so they have a chance to get a high lottery pick.

So let’s fast forward to today.  As of today the Sixers are treading water and near the top of the Atlantic division.

This is terrible.

As a Sixers fan who understands we need more talent, I am desperately rooting for the Sixers to lose.  That sounds terrible to root against your hometown team, but the team playing right now has a ceiling and will not be a championship contender unless they get a star.

The 2014 draft is expected to be loaded with franchise changing players like Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, and most notably, Andrew Wiggins.  If the Sixers could get one of these players to go along with current young players Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, the team could be poised for a bright future.  But in order to do this we have to stop winning games.

 Philadelphia basketball needs a star to become relevant again, but will the Sixers be too good this year and miss their chance at getting the star player?  Only time will tell. And as fans, well, we have to root for the team to be bad, as bad as that sounds.