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Stern on Sixers: I hope they make the playoffs (and miss out on lottery)

Sep 17, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

2013 NBA Draft Getty Images

Philadelphia is one of several that are going bad to get good. Call it the Oklahoma City method, call it tanking, call it “winless for Wiggins,” call it whatever you like — the fact is this is one of the deepest drafts in a decade next summer and teams will be finding ways to lose games and increase their lottery odds. Philadelphia made a smart call, not wanting to be a stagnant .500 team with Jrue Holiday, so they traded him to New Orleans for the potential of Nerlens Noel, who will miss at least a chunk of the season as he recovers from knee surgery. Philly has stockpiled picks and young players, but that will mean losses this season. And a high lottery pick. How does David Stern feel about this? Not thrilled he said at the Beyond Sports Summit last week when asked about Philly and the “winless for Wiggins” movement (as reported at Liberty Ballers and Philly.com).

“That is so… small,” said Stern. “I hope they have a great season and don’t have the chance for the No. 1 pick.”

That’s the right thing to say. And Stern is right that even if you have the worst record in the league you have a 25 percent chance at the top pick — and 75 percent chance you don’t. Teams that have tanked in the past haven’t seen it work (Boston in 2007, for example). But in a draft with multiple potential franchise players, teams will take their chances.

The second half of this season tanking and what (if anything) the league should do about it will become a topic — one that will fall on Commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver’s lap when he takes over Feb. 1. You’re going to hear a lot more about it. And saying it is small is not going to be enough for some fans, the problem is the answers are not simple nor is there a perfect solution. Have fun in the commissioner’s chair, Adam.

  1. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Let’s just be honest here, he doesn’t want this to happen because he’d much rather see the Lakers or Celtics get Wiggins and instantly reload for another decade of dominance.

    • mcjon22 - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      Play like pigeons for Wiggins

  2. jolink653 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    I’m sure Charlotte will wind up as the worst team in the league and will get screwed during the lottery again

    • iritian - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      Have you not seen the teams Philly and Phoenix have?

      • jcmeyer10 - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        Doesn’t mean Charlotte still can’t get screwed :D

      • sportsfan18 - Sep 18, 2013 at 4:59 AM

        One would think having the GOAT as an owner would prevent a team from being screwed…

        But, it hasn’t worked out that way…

      • badintent - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:56 AM

        @sportsfan18
        That’s exactly why this has gone down . Stern has petty vendetta with MJ for many years about that basketball betting in casinos that MJ was running and got suspended for a year for.As for Philly , Stern ‘s nose is growing …again.

  3. captainwisdom8888 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Currently, this looks like Philly’s starting 5:

    PG- Michael Carter-Williams(R)
    SG- Evan Turner
    SF- Thaddeus Young
    PF- Lavoy Allen
    C- Spencer Hawes

    College teams could beat this pathetic excuse for a squad.

    • tfoz5150 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      And I’m not so sure all 4 veterans will be there by the time the season starts.

    • tcclark - Sep 17, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Thaddeus Young has not played SF in 2 years and has only played there sparingly for his entire career. I doubt he starts at the SF position.

      As for your other comment. Evan Turner was the national player of the year his last year of college. I doubt he’s gotten worse. these guys were college all-stars. They would destroy a college team. these are NBA veterans (and a guy who was just in the final four.)

  4. cbking05 - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    The sixers are going to surprise alot of people this year by acting like they are going to compete for a playoff spot… i for one will not be fooled…

  5. notfol - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Rebuilding through the draft is the best chance for small market teams to compete at a high level, assuming the team isn’t run by Michael Jordan..I’m not sure how the NBA is going to tell owners how to run their teams. There is a minimum payroll that is supposed to force teams to field an NBA caliber team. You certainly don’t see players or coaches saying they are deliberately losing.

    Getting the top pick is an iffy thing, but 2014 is going to yield a bumper crop of stars. If the NBA thinks they need to police tanking, maybe they should police teams that sign stupid contracts.

  6. tcclark - Sep 17, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    If Stern had created a league with more parity maybe the Sixers wouldn’t need to do this in order to get better. Please bring in a hard cap!

  7. dynamicninja - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Dear David Stern,

    Please shut the hell up,

    Regards,

    Lakers fan still pissed over cp3 trade

  8. stebutt - Sep 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    Just give all lottery teams a 1 in 14 chance of every pick. No seeding. Simples.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 18, 2013 at 3:49 AM

      I like the auction approach. Each team gets an arbitrary number of credits and they can bid on players. Say its 100 credits for the 6 worst teams, 90 for the next 6, etc. There would be a lot more action on draft night with the bidding.

      • tcclark - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:14 PM

        Why wouldn’t I just put all of my points in for Andrew Wiggins and call it a day? And when all 6 of the worst teams bid 100 who gets him?

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