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Thursday NBA grades: The Sixers deserve an “A+”…. for tanking

Mar 28, 2014, 2:08 AM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

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source:  Philadelphia 76ers efforts to tank. This is not about the players on the Sixers, those guys went as hard as they could (it was 43-43 at one point), they are simply overmatched. That’s because GM Sam Hinkie and Sixers management has a plan — stockpile draft picks and get the highest picks in the draft they can. That means losing. So they assembled a roster that wasn’t very good to begin with then traded Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner at the trade deadline to make sure they are even worse this season (I pity poor Thaddeus Young who was stuck there). And through management’s prism, this team is doing what it was built to do. Maybe even a little more efficiently than they wanted. But they built a team designed to get a high draft pick, and they have succeeded. With some painful side benefits.

source:   James Harden, Houston Rockets. Yes, it still counts against the Sixers — Harden had a triple double of 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. All in 31 minutes on the court. He was attacking and shot 5-of-7 inside 8 feet, plus he was hitting threes. Oh, and feeding Dwight Howard for easy buckets. The Beard was smart and efficient.

source:   Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers. Dallas seemed in control of this game at one point in the fourth quarter, before the Clippers changed tactics and just attacked the rim (in the final minutes the Clips just kept getting buckets there). Chris Paul orchestrated it — he had 31 points on the night but 9 points and two assists in the fourth quarter to help spark the Clippers come-from-behind victory. Great bounce back game for CP3 after a rough outing in New Orleans. There’s been a lot of talk about Blake Griffin as the Clippers MVP this season, and with reason. His game has improved by leaps and bounds and he carried this team with CP3 out. But this is Chris Paul’s team, how far they go in the playoffs starts with him (and DeAndre Jordan’s defense, but that’s another discussion.

source:   Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks. His game has matured this season and you saw some of that against the Lakers, where he dropped 30 points. He did it in a very Knight way — he was 7-of-10 in the paint and looked good when he attacked, plus he knocked down a couple corner threes. He took more midrange shots (3-of-7) than some coaches was like, but what can frustrate is just the lack of doing the little things to guide a team that the Bucks do when Ramon Sessions has the rock. Knight still feels like a guy learning, but going up against the Lakers is a test he knew he could pass. Easily.

  1. sensiblevoice - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    Where is LaMarcus Aldridge in his first game back?

    • eugenesaxe1 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:19 AM

      Playing for a team that “doesn’t matter” against a team that “doesn’t matter”.

  2. seattlesuperchronic - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    It stinks that the 76ers’ management is putting these players through this. It’s got to be a tad disillusioning for these young guys like Carter-Williams, the dude has potential to be a solid player or better. It sucks for those guys. All for the hope that they’ll get a good chance to get a good ping pong ball to get a good player. This has potential to blow up in their faces.

    • RavenzGunnerz - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:18 AM

      hey, sometimes you just have to do it. The Browns should’ve done it to land Andrew Luck. I really think Philly mgmt have a vision. In the NBA the worse place to be is the middle.

      So, how do you suggest they approach this rebuilding phase?

    • adoombray - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      Yeah, they are basically sending the message that they don’t care at all about the guys still on the roster, because the younger guys who have to play through this aren’t learning anything except for how to lose. There is tanking for a draft pick, but this, this is ridiculous because you are ruining the assets you have.

      Look at the Suns, they weren’t afraid to whip around some assets if it made the team better, but that’s a team that improved by by trying to win while rebuilding. The previous precedent is the Pacers who are now consistently a bad bounce or two away from being a Finals team. You don’t get better by losing this badly, you get better by trying to win with young guys and using your ping pong ball to compliment existing strengths that develop.

      • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM

        Not! That’s the whole reason Sixer’s management is doing this. They realized they maxed out heir potential with the Iguadola’s and Elton Brand’s. They made a nice little run, but decided especially after the Bynum debacle this was the course to pursue. Therefore I give them credit for sticking to their plan. They picked up a promising coach, along with amassing future assets. I’m actually very excited for the future if this franchise and they’re doing it by playing within the rules.

    • liamj55 - Mar 28, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      Says the guy whose team did the same thing but didn’t get to enjoy the spoils because they moved to Oklahoma City….. Don’t blame the Sixers, blame the system. That is the thing that is flawed. They are just playing the game correctly. As a Sixer’s fan I am all on board.

      • chaser44 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        Exactly, everyone is giving the sixers are hard time and ripping managemet. Espn talking about how the sixers are the worst thing ever for doing this. First off they dont even have the worst record in the league, that belongs to the bucks. Second dont act like this hasnt been done every other year for the last 10 years. The celtics did it than traded the pics for players to get better.

      • borderline1988 - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        There is no good way to fix the system because in basketball, drafting one guy could change the fortune of a team for a decade or longer.
        It doesn’t always work…Cleveland has sucked, Washington will never be contender with this roster, etc. And there are other ways to build a team like the Raptors, Pacers, Miami, etc.

        But no question, some teams will always try this route. My opinion is to just let it happen, who really cares?

      • seattlesuperchronic - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Who said I was happy about the Sonics tanking to get Durant? All I’m saying is that these college guys are unproven commodities and this isn’t fair to the current players. Even if the pick is good, look at Irving and the Cavs, they’ve failed to support him and people expect him to leave. Irving is great but that team is completely hopeless. The Sixers will look more like Cleveland in four years than the Thunder, if that’s what you want, I envy you, because that would not make me happy.

    • jesweeney11 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      It sucks for Thad and that has been well documented. MCW is a year out of college where he was playing and not getting paid. As for the rest of them, well they get to ball and be paid. Some of them would not be on a roster so there is no doubt they are happy to showcase for whomever and work on their game in real games.

      Plus, let’s face it they are gutting this out. All of them have been professional and Brown is still coaching…seeing who respond and who he wants to keep around for next year.

      Let it goooo, Let it goooo

    • casualcommenter - Mar 28, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Playing on teams that lost a LOT of games didn’t seem to stunt Durant’s development at all.

      Remember, it took a few years before the Durant-led Supersonics/Thunder rose above 0.500, and yet, Durant is now an MVP candidate.

    • sixerstrong - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:28 PM

      Are you kidding? For half of these guys, it’s their only shot to crack a pro roster. It’s their big break, and they are ecstatic. MCW knows his only goal right now is to learn and improve. I do feel for Thad though, but he is going to fit nicely in the role of veteran leadership. The guy is a consumate professional and it a great role model for these young guys.

    • nard100 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      The thing is, they have been in this type of situation before and what have they done. Nuthin’. So even if they are tanking it will backfire, because mgmt still doesn’t have a clue. MCW, just bide your time until you can get out in free agency and don’t get hurt. As a former fan of this team for over 30 years, I can say it really doesn’t matter if they get the record for futility, because as an organization they won’t learn from it.

    • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Didn’t Seattle the same thing to land Durant?

  3. bigwii - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    What the Sixers are doing is an embarrassment to the game same with the Bucks and Magic. They act that they’re literally trying to lose. Not only is it bad for the young players who are learning to lose, but the fans who pay money to watch them lose.

    All for what a chance to get the highest pick, not even a sure thing and neither is whoever they draft. The draft is never a sure thing so why waste all this just for a chance. Rebuilding or not it is disgraceful.

    • liamj55 - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      What are you talking about? Teams stink all the time. Someone has to be bad and someone has to be good. You either rebuild or don’t. Kevin Durant terrible teams his first couple of years. Bulls were horrendous after Jordan left. I would rather pay money and watch young players grow than watch players like Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes.

  4. areyesrn - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    big fan of the obvious tank…tbh

  5. phillycannon - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Still no article about Lebron getting dunked on ….amazing!!!!!

  6. phillysports1 - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    I’ve been saying this all year , if your not a Sixers fan now , don’t jump on the bandwagon later . Just like everyone did when OKC became an elite team . Same with MIA, signed Lebron became winners and all sudden there are FAKE fans everywhere of OKC and MIA… Talk all you want but when we become an elite team I guarantee you’ll see Sixers fan all over the world smh !

    • nard100 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      Dude, you are delusional. As a former fan of 30 years, I can tell you that you will be waiting a long time for “Elite” – LOL. Remember, this is the team who had Dr J, Moses Malone, AI, Dikembe Mutombo and others and has only one championship to show for it in over 30 years.

      • tfoz5150 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:20 PM

        Dawn of a new day.

  7. jimeejohnson - Mar 28, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    SIxers are the biggest losers in the league. At least they have cheesesteaks.

  8. phillysports1 - Mar 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Basketball is not the same as it was 30 years ago old head .

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