The 76ers under new GM Sam Hinkie decided their course for the 2014 season early, letting mercurial center Andrew Bynum walk in free agency and trading away starting point guard (and 2013 All-Star) Jrue Holiday. The goal this season is clear: lose early and lose often to secure as many ping pong balls as possible in the upcoming lottery, primarily in the hopes of getting Andrew Wiggins. Even if they miss on the first overall pick, several of the other top prospects are expected to be game changers in the NBA.
In the interim management has gotten rid of most of the contributors from last year’s team with the exception of Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. One or both will be shopped before the trade deadline. Add in the complete lack of urgency displayed in selecting a new coach (ultimately landing Spurs’ assistant Brett Brown) and it’s obvious that winning is not a priority this year. The good news for them: they are going to lose. A ton.
With the 6th pick in the draft (acquired for Holiday) Philly selected Nerlens Noel, who will be out for the start of the season as he recovers from ACL surgery. The 11th pick, Michael Carter-Williams, will need some work before he can really contribute, and based on an uneven performance in Summer League it’s fair to wonder if he has the talent to ever get there. Surrounding them on the court will be luminaries such as Kwame Brown and Evan Turner, neither of whom is likely in the long term plans for the team.
This glorified D-League squad will hope to get plenty of playing experience for Noel, Carter-Williams, and possibly even Royce White, who was acquired in the offseason from the Rockets (don’t hold your breath on this one). Other than that it’s all about next offseason, where they will have at least their first-rounder, which will likely be high in the lottery, and possibly New Orleans’ first-rounder if it falls out of the top 5 (as part of the Noel-Holiday trade).
The part where they have to actually field a team and show up for games this season is merely a necessary evil.
Predicted Finish: 18-64 | 5th place in Atlantic Division | 15th place in Eastern Conference