Is There Any Reason to Watch the Sixers the Rest of the Season?
Tuesday night, the Sixers gave out “Together We Build” blueprints to the 372 fans in attendance at the Wells Fargo Center. The next important date in the 76ers’ rebuild? Early season ticket renewals for fans!
The team lied, though, as the next big day was the trade deadline on Thursday. Yesterday, the Sixers swung four trades, acquiring five players and five second-round draft picks in exchange for Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen and a second-round pick.
What the heck is going on?
Yes, casual Sixers fans: That’s three players you’ve likely heard of sent packing. And the only big-name player the Sixers received in return, Danny Granger, has played 34 games the last two seasons due to knee problems. (The Sixers have pretty much cornered the market for big guys with knee problems the last 30 years.)
The @sixers have traded all the players I know the names of. Except Michael Carter Williams
— alli katz (@allikatz) February 21, 2014
But never fear, Sixers fans! The season is not lost. Well, okay, it is lost: The 76ers are 15-40 and have lost nine straight, plus they just traded away some of their best players. Here’s a primer on what the Sixers are doing — and whether there’s any reason to watch the rest of the year.
So what was the reasoning behind all the trades?
It’s an extension of the plan they’ve had since the offseason: Field a terrible team this season to get a high draft pick, then combine the talent you get in the draft this season with the two high picks from last year’s draft — the much-more-impressive-than-expected Michael Carter-Williams and the yet-to-play Nerlens Noel — to build a contender. It’s like magic!
Why was yesterday such a big deal, then?
According to 82games.com, Evan Turner played in 71% of the Sixers’ minutes. Spencer Hawes played in 62%. Even Lavoy Allen was on the court for 36% of the minutes this season. That is a lot of minutes for coach Brett Brown to replace.
But they got players in return? Are any of them any good?
No. The rationale for these trades was to ship out players the Sixers didn’t want anymore. On principle, I like the idea: If you’re going to bring in a completely new regime, might as well get rid of players the previous front office brought in if they don’t fit into your plans. (Or, if they suck.)
The Sixers acquired 10 (10!) assets yesterday. Here’s the list:
- G Eric Maynor
- F Danny Granger
- F Earl Clark
- C Henry Sims
- C Byron Mullens
- 2014 Cavaliers 2nd
- 2014 Grizzlies 2nd
- 2015 Warriors 2nd
- 2015 Pelicans 2nd
- 2016 Nuggets 2nd
- 2018 Clippers 2nd
Granger has knee issues and his contract expires at the end of the season; we’re guessing he won’t play. The Sixers already waived Earl Clark, acquired in the trade that sent Hawes to Cleveland. (“Against the Sixers on Tuesday, Clark didn’t attempt a shot or score a point and had one rebound in 6 minutes, 53 seconds.”) Mullens is a poor man’s Spencer Hawes, and he’s a few months older. Henry Sims has played in 20 games this year, though he’s just in his second year. Eric Maynor’s in his fifth season and is averaging 2.3 points in 23 games this year.
Henry Sims. Together We Build. Tickets available now!
These trades made the team better in the future, though, right?
Sure. It doesn’t always seem like it, but second-round picks are valuable assets: You can acquire exclusive looks at players without having to give them guaranteed deals (like you do in the first round), you can draft foreign guys to stash overseas, you can trade them for players if you’re a contender and need a guy for depth. Just think, if the Sixers are a contender in a few years they could ship two second-round picks for a guy like Spencer Hawes!
What’s nice is the Sixers didn’t give up anything for the future. Hawes, Allen and Turner were all in the last years of their deals, and the second-round pick the Sixers sent to Indiana in the Granger deal is protected — it will probably never go to the Pacers.
It’s disappointing, though, that the Sixers weren’t able to get more for Turner. The trade is particularly strange: The Sixers didn’t acquire anything of value for later seasons in the deal, so it seems to be a pointless move. The upside is that, without Turner and Allen, you can play young players that might be in your future plans more. And, hey, if there wasn’t a market for Turner, then there wasn’t a market for Turner. Eh.
Any big losers here?
Thaddeus Young. He’s been a Sixer since the team drafted him when he was 19. He’s now 25. He’s talented, and during his time with the Sixers he’s hustled and played smart.
Someone ask Thad Young what it's like to know you're going out there in the prime of your career & play a season for a team built to fail.
— Dennis Deitch (@DennisDeitch) February 21, 2014
Sorry, Thaddeus. Maybe the Sixers will be good next year and you’ll feel better about the whole thing?
So what’s the rest of the season going to be like?
In recent weeks, the Sixers have lost games by 45, 43 and 29 points (To Cleveland! At home!). The Sixers have now traded two of their top players. Things are going to get worse.
So, I shouldn’t go to games?
Beats me! Allen Iverson’s jersey retirement ceremony is March 1. That should be a good time!
What’s the absolute upside of this whole thing?
The 76ers now legitimately would have enough salary cap space to sign both LeBron James & Carmelo Anthony this summer.
— Ryan Feldman (@TheRyanFeldman) February 20, 2014
Okay, okay, I know that’s not happening. But one can dream, can’t he?
(I would also take Kevin Durant. Maybe Kevin Love.)
Follow @dhm on Twitter.