Philadelphia 76ers: How long to rebuild?

When a team makes it clear they plan on rebuilding, it is expected they will lose the majority of their games over one or more seasons.  For the Philadelphia 76ers, they have redefined the term rebuilding.

Most of the teams in the NBA that are currently going through this phase still have some veteran presence on their roster.  The Sixers however have only one veteran on their team in Thaddeus Young, who still is not even considered a true veteran in the league, at the age of 25.

The Sixers have a handful of players that are not even legally allowed to consume alcohol in the United States.  By assembling a team this young, it will significantly help them in the future, but they will continue to struggle in the meantime.

After a season where they most likely will finish more than 40 games under .500, a big question that may arise is how long this will continue.  Sixers fans may be excited at the prospect of significant improvement next year, but this likely will not be the case.

Heading in to this summer’s draft, the Sixers should have at least seven picks.  They also may be lucky enough to have two top-ten selections.

Andrew Wiggins & Jabari Parker

There is no question about it that the Sixers will land some quality players in a draft that is full of talent.  However, even if they are fortunate enough to get an Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Joel Embiid, none of these players are ready to come in to the league and make an immediate impact. 

Each of these players more than likely will have to spend a few years in the league and get their feet wet to understand what it is like to play at the next level.  The future is bright for some of these projected top-five picks, but none of them can single-handedly turn a franchise around.

The way the college game is played tremendously differs from the professional level.  Most of the rookies, as well as second and third year players will be able to adjust to the change, but it is not a quick and easy transition.

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It has been clear that a team full of youth will not have success in the league.  There have been spurts from the Sixers young players where they show the talent they have, but the majority of the time they struggle against the more seasoned competition.

When a franchise is rebuilding, wins are tough to come by and is something that coaches and management seem to accept.  During the process, it is not about wins but evaluating all of the players and seeing who can do what and how they can impact the team in the long-run.

However, continually losing games during the rebuilding process is definitely detrimental to a franchise.  Typically, people will not want to spend money to go out and watch losing basketball, so attendance will drop and the team’s overall fan base loses interest.

For General Manager Sam Hinkie as well as any other GM going through this phase, it is a very difficult decision for them to make.  However, there are times where teams need to rebuild and the Sixers certainly needed to do so.  The Sixers even adopted the slogan “Together We Build”  as a move to bring the fans into the rebuilding process.

Next year for the Sixers, they should be focused on seeing how Michael Carter-Williams progresses and look to see how Nerlens Noel does in his rookie season.  Also, they need to give their first round draft picks meaningful minutes to gain valuable NBA experience.

sixers-noel.

Once they draft is completed, the Sixers should have an idea of which players they want to build around.  These players will be highly qualified, but still very young. 

The Sixers should be better next year from a wins-losses perspective, but do not expect them to be too much better.  This is a growing team that has hit rock bottom, so it will not recover overnight.

They will continue to move new players in and out of the lineup to see who can do what.  Hopefully it will only take a couple of more seasons, but the Sixers are working towards establishing a solid base of NBA-caliber players and a winning culture under Brett Bown’s leadership.

This is going to be tough for the fans of the Sixers, but this is something that needed to be done.  The Sixers will continue to struggle in years to come, but if everything goes as planned, they should be heading in the right direction towards the top of the Eastern Conference.

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