Philadelphia turned full steam ahead into rebuild mode on draft night when they sent Jrue Holiday to New Orleans in exchange for Nerlens Noel. Given that the rookie center won’t play until midway through next season, the Sixers are somewhat of a preliminary favorite to be in first in next year’s draft order.
The 2014 NBA Draft will be a far superior draft class to the one we saw this summer and Philadelphia General Manager Sam Hinkie is making sure that his team will be in a good position to line themselves up with a top three pick. If they get one, Philly can add to it next summer in free agency as they have a mere $19 million committed to players beyond this season.
But while 2014 is full of promise and mystery, the remainder of this calendar year will fall nothing short of torture for Sixers fans. The upcoming season promises to be one of failure and misery with Thaddeus Young being the highest paid man in the lineup and only real play maker of substance.
The Sixers at this point have to make some signings before opening day just to meet the criteria for the league minimum salary cap expense of $50 million. Right now, the team only has $40 million committed to a 10 man squad for this season. At this juncture of the free agency period, the Sixers won’t be signing any players that will actually make a difference and of course this all falls in line with Hinkie’s plan to tank for a season.
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Unfortunately for new head coaching recruit Brett Brown, this is a strange concept. Having been an assistant to Gregg Popavich in San Antonio over the last decade and winning three titles, losing is not something Brown is accustomed to. Obviously, the Sixers love this about Brown and believe that in the long term he is the guy for their future given his knowledge of Player Development and head coaching experience in Australia. But he has to be able to deal with a year of suffering before he can realize his potential as a head coach.
The Sixers were in no position to bargain with Brown, the main reason that all four years of his contract are guaranteed. Brown is described as a likably guy and has a lot of experience under his belt that includes the big chair, though he was on the market as an assistant for Hinkie to give a golden opportunity to.
This could be one of the best coaching hires of the summer and it’s no coincidence that it’s Hinkie pulling the strings. He completely revamped things in Houston as Vice President of Basketball Operations along with Darryl Morey as the General Manager. Both are analytics guys, something the Sixers have never had before and both have fundamentally different views on how the game is played than former Sixers coach Doug Collins. This will come as a relief to Sixers fans who struggled to get through last season with their heads held high before Collins quit.
It’s the beginning of a long road for Sixers fans, but it’s at least a better road forward than what they left last season with.
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With an intelligent guy like Brown and the right help from the people around him, Hinkie will have the Sixers back to relevance in terms of having a star player. Now, he has the coach to lead that player to the postseason.