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76ers owner Josh Harris calls season ‘huge success’

Apr 22, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

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The Philadelphia 76ers went 19-63, lost 26 straight games and became the butt of jokes.

How do you judge a season like that?

76ers owner Josh Harris, via Dei Lynam of CSN Philly:

“I think the season has been a huge success,” Harris said during a press conference at the team’s practice facility. “Obviously, I don’t like to lose. In terms of a losing season, it’s tough. It was incredibly fun to take down the Bulls in my first year when we were seeded eighth and they were seeded one. We want to get back to the playoffs and compete for the championship. That’s what we’re trying to do. To get to that point to be an elite team, there is no shortcuts. We came in knowing it would be a long season and we would be putting building blocks in place.”

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Harris is right.

The 76ers guaranteed themselves a top-five pick in a strong draft, and they have the second-best chance of landing the No. 1 pick. That’s successful in the NBA’s warped incentive structure.

It’s really remarkable how committed and open the 76ers are about their rebuild. They’re not the first team to tank a season, but I’m not sure anyone has ever done it on this scale in terms of blatancy. At this point, they’re practically bragging about it.

That might ruffle some feathers around the league, but if the 76ers parlay this “success” into quality draft selections and long-term winning, nobody can credibly complain then.

  1. spursareold - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    When your goal is to suck as much as possible, and you do, that’s a success.

  2. sumkat - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Go back and look at when Cleveland got LeBron. There is nothing more “blatant” about this sixers season than that Cavs season. It’s been going on since the lottery was started (and probably before that), and isn’t going to stop any time soon.

    As long as the league demands you have a superstar to compete, teams are going to do what they have to do for a chance at one of those superstars

    • miamatt - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      While I agree with your larger point, the notion that “the league demands you have a superstar to compete” is silly. I’m pretty sure that the nature of sports competition is that the teams with the best players generally win. Since basketball is a 5 vs. 5 sport, one superstar can have an enormous impact, no doubt. But how is that a league creation and not just the reality of sport?

      • sumkat - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        Because before the Stern era, games were called generally the same for everyone. Different officials called games differently, no doubt, but the calls were generally the same throughout a game for everyone.

        After the Stern era, a travel on player A is not a travel on player B, because player B is a “star”, and he “gets” those calls. Same thing with fouls, carrying, etc etc. When the game is called differently in the name of it being more entertaining, how is that not the leagues fault? Out of the 3 major sports (not including baseball since it’s non-contact), basketball is the least violent, therefor has the least reason to worry about protecting players, yet they are far and away the greatest offender

      • paleihe - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Sumkat: How many basketball games did you watch prior to “the Stern era”?

      • gentlewomansquarterly - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        The league created it, by implementing max player salary. If the Lebron’s, Kobe’s, KD’s could command say 40 mil a year, it would leave those teams to fill the roster with lesser players. It would create a league where you could have teams of a superstar and role players vs a team of all relatively good players. ie 2004 Lakers vs Pistons. There is no incentive for superstars not to team up now resulting in a concentration of talent to a few large market teams.

      • mackcarrington - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        I don’t know how old you are, but even in the “pre Stern Era” the stars of the league got preferential treatment.
        Example #1 is: Wilt Chamberlain never fouled out of a game.
        And do you even know who Walter Kennedy was?

    • markdamack - Apr 22, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Didn’t Pat Riley just stop showing up to games at one point? I feel like I never see that mentioned in any tanking stories

  3. misremembered72 - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Coming from Philly for the most part everyone is really happy with where the sixers are, and their transparency about the whole situation that was the Sixers 2013-2014 regular season.

    There are always a couple outliers though. I’ve talked to a lot of people that say things like “the nerve of the team to not put on the court the best product possible!” I think it’s undeniable that even if some things go awry with the draft, the sixers will still be in a better place in the long run. I don’t think anyone can deny that. What I find kind of fascinating is the outliers and their sense of entitlement, that every year they deserve to have a team that is in the very least mediocre and watchable, even if it hurts the team in the long run.

  4. tmatic74 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    As a Sixers fan I love and understand the plan which was long overdue. Now don’t blow the draft with some Euro project with that second 1st round pick.

  5. thekingdave - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM


    Says the Miami Heat fan. What a joke.

  6. redbaronx - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    The Sixers new advertising slogans:

    “No one sucks like Philly sucks”
    “Philly – Building a tradition of sucking”
    “Liberty – The Freedom to suck as much as we want to”
    “We suck so you don’t have to!”

    • Big Ant TV - Apr 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      good stuff

    • sumkat - Apr 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      “together we build” is at the same time funnier and more pathetic than any of yours

      Oh, it’s the actual slogan for this year

    • sixerstrong - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      “Tanks for the memories”
      “WinnInG Games sINce the fortieS”

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        @sixerstrong – Believe me I hope Philly becomes strong again. The East is not the East without a strong Philly team. I was a big Barkley fan when I was a kid.

  7. redbaronx - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Contrary to popular belief, tanking and getting high picks does not guarantee success when you have bad management. Examples?

    1) Orlando – How many #1’s and high picks have they had since 1990??? That is REALLY criminal!
    2) Clippers – ^^^See above
    3) Wizards – ^^^See above
    4) Milwaukee – OK so they haven’t had luck in the draft to get multiple #1’s like the others above, but they’ve certainly sucked enough to have high picks.
    5) Toronto – How many #1’s and high picks have they had since 1990???

    Lazy management and lack of creativity in trades makes perennial bad teams that no matter how bad they tank and how many #1’s and high picks they get, they still suck! And if anyone wants to say the Clippers, Wizards and Toronto are now on their way upwards, let me remind everyone that:

    1) The Wizards and Toronto are in the East where being mediocre guarantees a playoff spot as an “Elite” East team. Their recent “success” is just that. Recent.
    2) The Clippers have been on an “upward” trajectory since 2005.

    I rest my case.

    • duhwighthoward - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:24 PM

      I couldn’t agree more.

      It’s going to take a lot more than a #1 pick to get this franchise back into contention.

      • unxpexted1 - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        Well it takes a number one pick and good management, and it appears this guy Hinkie knows what he is doing so far. Hopefully that combo works out for them. Philly is the type of town that I like to see have a good basketballt team.

      • zacmonte - Apr 22, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        Well you have the rookie of the year, a high pick in a loaded draft, and a 7 foot defensive anchor you drafted last year waiting in the wings. I’m not saying they are set for greatness, but that is a very solid foundation.

    • sumkat - Apr 22, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      Half of your example are awful

      The Clips only top pick I can think of that was a huge bust was Olawakandi….oh, and they are one of the best teams in the league largely due to Griffin (a #1 overall)

      The Magic drafted the 2 best Centers of their generations. They reached the finals with BOTH of those players. It’s not the systems’ fault they can’t convince guys to stay there.

      The Bucks have rarely picked this high. Outside of Bogut, I can’t think of another. Their problem has been they haven’t “sucked enough to have high picks”. They have been stuck in the NBA death sprial…aka mediocre.

      Toronto has NEVER picked #1 overall, and again, like Orlando, their problem isn’t getting players there, it’s getting players to stay here. Bosh, McGrady, Carter, the list goes on…they just can’t wait to leave

      The reason teams tank, contrary to your statement, its because it works. It doesn’t always work (The Heat tanked and got Michael Beasley, the Wiz tanked and got Kwame Brown), but it is MUCH more likely to turn it around by bottoming out, and going for young elite talent, than it is staying around 12-18 and getting average talent.

      There isn’t an “elite” team in the league without taking in it’s history except Indiana. Already covered the Heat and clippers, anyone wanna check the Spurs record before they got Duncan? Anyone not remember the last few years in Seattle, and the first few in OKC? If you look at the “elite” teams, you are 4x more likely to build a contender by tanking than you are doing the opposite.

      • borderline1988 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM

        Toronto drafted Bargnani #1 overall. Although like you, I’d rather forget that…

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:09 AM

        If you’ve been an NBA fan for more than 5 years, then you’d know my examples are SPOT ON! Lets give you a little history lesson on your complete fallacies:

        1) The Wizards didn’t tank to get Kwame Brown! They traded away Chris Webber for Mitch Richmond thinking Webber was a headache and following his pot bust by the police. Juwon Howard never developed the way the Wizards expected, and anyone who knows Howard knows that he never became more then a role player. Miami thanked their lucky stars that their signing of Howard for 100 mil plus never went
        through and he stayed with the Wizards!

        The following year the Wizards drafted Rip Hamilton, so along with Mitch Richmond and the supposed budding star in Howard, that Wizards team was SUPPOSED to be a pretty good team! So you’re not even CLOSE to reality.

        The Spurs had good fortune that David Robinson AND Sean Elliott (their two best players) went down to injury the year the Spurs got into the lottery for Duncan. Yes they probably could have come back quicker, but why should they have? Sean Elliott had a history of injury and there was no point rushing him back to get 10 more wins.

        Seattle had a couple of really great seasons before they traded away Allen, but also realized that they weren’t going anywhere, and with new ownership coming in, existing ownership really didn’t care about signings at the end.

        The Clippers had a whole boatload of top picks! Eric Gordon the year before Griffin. Shaun Livingston whose career has been hampered due to injury, but was projected as an All Star player. Tyson Chandler (2). Darius Miles (3). Lamar Odom (4). Olowakandi (1). Antonio McDyess (2). Get where I’m going here???

        Toronto never picked #1? How long have you been following the NBA??? How about Andrea Bargnani? And lots of other high picks including Marcus Camby (2). Jonathan Bender (5). Chris Bosh (4).

        I could go on, but I won’t. The point is this. Bad teams find ways to lose good players because their management isn’t committed to winning. Players see that, and they run for their lives! No one wants to be on a team that sucks and will always suck due to managements bad decision making, tanking, or lack of commitment. Everyone knew the Clippers weren’t committed for years, and anytime they had talent, that talent ran when their rookie contracts were up.

        Yes that has changed now with the Clippers and the Wizards. But there’s always a team out there that is going to blow due to managements “commitment” to losing. Philly has a lot of talent right now and theoretically should have a good springboard to a bright future, but don’t be too surprised if that talent starts fleeing after listening to their owner for more than 5 minutes. There’s a reason players want to play for Miami, LA, Spurs, and Indiana. When you figure that out, you’ll have a better understanding why tanking is NOT the way to build a team!

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:57 AM

        “there’s a reson teams want to play for Miami, LA, Spurs, Indiana” 2 of those teams tanked, the lakers tanked this year

        Your argument falls back on itself. Yes, when Robinson and Elliot are ready but don’t come back, that is tanking.

        Toronto, 2 of the 3 you listed were all-stars. Again, not the systems fault you can’t keep them there

        Even the clippers, 3 of the 5 you mentioned (McDyess, Odom, Chandler were all-stars, just not there). Those teams got talent in the drafts, they just didn’t keep it there

        Teams didn’t want to play for Miami until the big 3 went there. The best thing they could attract for 3 years before that was Odom who didn’t want to be there. If everyone wanted to play for LA, why is Howard in Houston? When have the Spurs or Indiana signed anything but role player

        Team want to play for those teams because they are the elite teams now. No other reason

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        @sumkat – I can see that logic doesn’t sit well with you. I beat your arguments to a pulp and you still come back.

        A) Miami won a championship BEFORE the big 3.
        B) It’s well documented why Howard is in Houston. The fact that I should have to explain this to you shows your lack of knowledge.
        C) Spurs and Indiana….again total lack of knowledge on your part. Major Free Agents: Michael Finley, David West, Stephenson just to name a few. Spurs have rings. Enough said.

        You really don’t know basketball. Don’t bother debating my posts till you have more then 5 years of basketball knowledge if you’re not going to learn from my comments.

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        the spurs have rings, so that means the fact that they only sign role players is irrelevant?

        Howard left LA begging, that’s the fact. The reasons are irrelevant. You specifically said “players want to go to SA, IND, MIA and LA for a reason”…obviously you are wrong
        Miami won a championship a decade before the big 3, and were a joke for 5 years after Shaq left

        I think you misunderstand “logic”, the definition is not “whatever you decide to babble”

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        Uh Howard left LA so the F what? You want to compare one Free Agent leaving to the gazillion that go to LA? Get real!

        I just pulled out names for the guys that go those teams, so CLEARLY you got shafted.

        OMG you’re a moron!!!! “Miami won a championship a decade before the Big 3???? Are you REALLY THIS STUPID??? Go look up when Miami won their first championship with Wade. What a moron you are to even be arguing with me!!! You know NOTHING!!!

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        go look how many top 10 picks they had after the title (including Beasly, and the year they let everyone walk not named Wade so they could put the big 3 together)
        Then think about who runs the lakers now (Baby Buss is not Buss Sr.)
        Then shut up because your are a clown

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:38 PM

        Your a clown! You actually want to make the argument that no one wants to go to LA? I’ll let other people clown you. You’re a moron!

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        Oh, they want to go to LA

        To play for the Clippers

        Who’s the guy that’s going to not win a title until Kobe decides to retire?

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        Again, you’re a moron. Only an idiot would think that Free Agents wouldn’t want to play for the Lakers just because Howard left. I’m collecting your stupid comments for others to respond to. This is going to be fun!!!!

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        lol, I’m the idiot, but you clearly lack any reading comprehension

        I JUST said they don’t want to go there because A, Buss Jr is a joke, B, nobody wants to have no shot to win until Kobe retires

        Here’s one for ya Aristotle, who was the last big time FA to sign in LA? I’ll give ya a hint, his name starts with an S, and ends with a Q, and it happened in the 90s

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        @sumkat – Too late moron. Your posts are up there for all to see. You never said jack about Buss Jr.

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        sumkat – Apr 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM
        go look how many top 10 picks they had after the title (including Beasly, and the year they let everyone walk not named Wade so they could put the big 3 together)
        Then think about who runs the lakers now (Baby Buss is not Buss Sr.)
        Then shut up because your are a clown



        You are right….NEVER did


      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        The Greatest Hits of Stupid Comments from Sumkat (Part 2)

        1) “Toronto has NEVER picked #1”. He must have started following the NBA yesterday and doesn’t know who Andre Bargnani is.
        2) “The Wizards tanked to get Kwame Brown” With MJ at the helm….riiiiiight.

        This guy is just too much fun!

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Don’t mess with people who know more than you will ever know about the NBA, because they will make you look like the fool you are!

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        just go to bed….I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were the mad magazine kid all grown up. I understand why you are bitter, nobody reads you magazine anymore and the tv show was awful

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        It’s funny how you resort to name calling and nonsense responses when your stupid arguments about basketball are destroyed. Do yourself a favor and don’t talk basketball or anything else. It just shows how stupid you are.

      • sumkat - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        Nevermind, I clicked your profile by accident, and saw your pic

        I feel to sorry for you to explain that you have no idea how this league works while thinking you do….too likely i’ll crush your belief that are not the ugliest individual on this board

    • aurelh23 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      The Clippers UPWARD trajectory since 2005?! What Crack are you smoking?!

      They won 47 games in 05 followed up by:

      40, 23, 19, 29, 32 the next 5 years THATS DOWNWARD until Stern rescued them and GAVE THEM CHRIS PAUL in 2011 instead of the trade to the Lakers that would have gotten them Paul.

      • redbaronx - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        @aurelh23 – The comment was relative to Clippers from the beginning of time to 2005 when they made the playoffs….

  8. jcrileyesq - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    the owner BETTER not raise ticket prices until the Sixers make the playoff with an over .500 record for 2 straight years after Sixers fans had to pay to watch the successful 2013-14 76ers

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