Tanking should not be in the Philadelphia 76ers vernacular. The Philadelphia 76ers are a proud, championship winning franchise. Their roster of legendary players include Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, and Charles Barkley. The 76ers have made great history; they have also made great infamy. The 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers have the dishonor of being the worst team in NBA history, going an inglorious 9-73. It’s not presumptive to say this franchise has had a lot of feast or famine years. For the past number of years, famine has been the strategy. 76ers GM Sam Hinkie has stripped the roster bare in order to achieve the best possibility of drafting a franchise altering, high lottery pick. The 76ers are not the first team to tank and will not be the last team to tank; it’s a vital part of the rebuilding process. Hinkie can lose as many games as he would like and believe it’s a good thing the same way Tom Cruise can stand on his tippy toes and call himself tall.
The second and more important part of the rebuilding process is player evaluation. All the losing streaks in the world will amount to a hill of beans if Hinkie proves incompetent at selecting players. With all this losing, Hinkie has accrued Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid. Michael Carter-Williams has proven he can play, winning the 2013-2014 NBA Rookie of the Year. Noel and Embiid, however, have already shown injury proneness mixed with their sky high potential. Though the 76ers are dedicated to this tanking strategy, other teams have shown tanking for multiple years isn’t necessary. The defending NBA champions San Antonio Spurs have consistently drafted in the middle to late 1st and 2nd rounds and have unearthed gems like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. The biggest difference between Philadelphia and San Antonio is that the Spurs know how to put together a championship puzzle. For the 76ers, it’s problematic putting together a puzzle with a murky image; it’s never clear if there are any missing pieces.