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Kevin Durant tells Sixers players how to deal with coming tanking

Oct 7, 2013, 5:23 PM EDT

Kevin-Durant seattle Getty Images

It’s going to suck to be a Philadelphia 76er player this season. And fans. But it’s not fun for the players, either. They are the poster franchise for “getting worse to get better” — or “woeful for Wiggins,” or organizational tanking, whatever term you prefer — and they may not break the 20-win barrier this season.

Kevin Durant has been in the Sixers shoes. When he came to the Sonics (now Thunder) they were tanking just like this (although they were pretty much the only team doing it). His first season in Seattle the team won 20 games. That next season they had moved to Oklahoma City and they drafted Russell Westbrook, but still only won 23 games. It wasn’t until his third season, with James Harden now in the fold, that OKC won 50 games and burst into the public consciousness as the Thunder we know (and they still lost in the first round that year).

Since he’s been there, the Philadelphia Inquirer asked Durant to give the Sixers players some advice.

“Every game it was tough knowing that it was going to be hard for us to win,” Durant said. “But what we did was come in and work hard every day, and know that it was going to be a process and maybe a tough year.”

“You just have to keep pushing through it,” said Durant, giving advice to the Sixers.

The Sonics/Thunder were lucky in that they had a guy with the mindset to keep pushing through. That’s more about Durant than anything.

Still, it’s a tough adjustment. Pretty much every NBA player is used to winning — they won in junior high, high school, AAU, and most of them won in college — so being on a weak NBA that gets its head handed to it most nights can be mentally draining.

What this is really going to do is teach the Sixers what Michael Carter-Williams, Evan Turner, Nerlens Noel and the rest of the guys the Sixers think are their future core are made out of.

Same will be true of whomever they draft next summer as well. This is a multi-year process.

  1. asimonetti88 - Oct 7, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    The Sonics were tanking for another reason. They were trying to kill local interest in the team to help justify moving a team from a marquee market like Seattle to a tiny market like OKC.

  2. csbanter - Oct 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    The 76ers are just following the Thunder Clips and Grizz blueprint. Tank a few seasons get a college stud or two and hope your fanbase understands. Disgusting but this is Stern’s NBWay of doing things.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:49 AM

      Stern also allowed for the Rockets way of doing things….

  3. ruffridin - Oct 7, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Better to tank than be 9th place forever, right Toronto?

    • whereyaat - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:26 AM

      I agree, but what happens if by some miracle, they start winning 45% of their games (like a Toronto)? Do you trade the successful players?

      • borderline1988 - Oct 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        If they’re winning 45% of their games with that roster, it’s because some of the young players are turning out to be stars. You can assume their winning % will increase in future years if the young players are doing that well this early, so then I’d probably keep them.

      • jcmeyer10 - Oct 8, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        Let’s see Stern/Silver’s face when they turn in a trade to go from competing to throwing in the towel.

      • sportsfan18 - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM


        Successful players is a relative term when you’re only winning 45% of your games. Losing more than one is winning and well something needs to be done.

      • whereyaat - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        I don’t think you understood my point. The point is – if the team – that was attempting to tank – starts unexpectedly winning 45% of its games due to some players exceeding expectations, do you trade the players who exceeded expectations? In other words, do you a) trade away the better players to try to resume tanking, or b) try to build on the 45% winning percentage?

        I strongly suspect the Sixers would try to resume tanking.

        (I use a 45% winning percentage as an example, because that’s usually where the Raptors finish. The OP mentioned how the Raptors have doomed themselves to the 9th spot.)

  4. fm31970 - Oct 7, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    Why didn’t Sixers players just ask Bobcats players what it’s gonna be like?

    • zerole00 - Oct 8, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Cause the question would be “how do you guys put up with sucking?” instead of “how do you guys put up with tanking?”

      I know they sound the same, but they’re two different scenarios.

  5. andyreidisfat - Oct 8, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    @fm. Because the bobcats arnt “trying” to tank. They are just losers.

  6. zerole00 - Oct 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    I know these guys are competitive, but they’re getting paid millions with the expectations set at the bottom of the barrel. Is that really that bad a situation? I mean Philly fans are going to complain no matter what, this just means they’ll be doing a lot more of it this season.

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