Sixers Owner Joshua Harris: “We’ve Made Huge Strides”
In an effort to try to use their youth and athleticism to generate easy points for his offensively challenged teams, head coach Brett Brown has had the Sixers play at a blistering pace in each of his two seasons in Philadelphia.
Off the court is a different story, as many around the Delaware Valley are showing impatience at the slow, meticulous pace the Sixers’ rebuild is progressing at.
You can add Sixers managing owner Joshua Harris to that group.
“Not winning now is really tough on me,” Harris admitted when talking about the state of the team. “I’m very impatient. I’ll always wish that we’re further along than we are.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean he thinks the Sixers rebuild isn’t going well. To Harris, the slow pace is the reality of the situation.
“I want to win today,” Harris continued. “But I’m not willing to sacrifice the long run to do that.
“There aren’t shortcuts to it. You have to react to the realities on the ground,” Harris continued. “Certainly I wish it was going faster, but at the same time I’m happy with the progress.”
It’s the mantra that ownership, and the front office, have been repeating ever since the Andrew Bynum trade put them in such a talent deficit. They’ll win when they get the top-end talent necessary to win, when they have players who can develop into top-20 players in the league.
They believe the best way to acquire players of that caliber is through the draft.
“[We’re] trying to be ahead of the curve on the draft,” Harris explained. “Trying to be one of the smartest, if not the smartest, teams about analyzing who we draft. That’s something we can control.”
The uncertainty surrounding the draft has caused some fans to grow weary of the Sixers process. Fans watched as the team walked away with the 3rd overall pick in each of the last two NBA drafts, a somewhat disappointing result for a fan base the endured 127 losses during that span.
Even the worst team in the NBA has a 75% chance of not getting the top overall pick. That uncertainty, that lack of control, tips the scales of the risk-vs-reward equation away from favoring the draft for some.
Despite that lottery risk, Harris believes the draft is still a more likely avenue to acquire transcendent players than signing them through free agency or acquiring them in trades.
“Prying those guys out is hard. It doesn’t happen a lot. I think you saw that this season,” Harris said, talking about acquiring impact players already in the league.
What the Sixers can control is making the best decisions they can make at the time they have to make them. To that end, Harris thinks general manager Sam Hinkie and his staff are doing a good job.
“We’re building that reservoir of talent,” Harris explained. “Compared to when Sam joined, we’ve made huge strides. I think it’s a work in progress, but significantly improved.
“As I think about Sam’s [Hinkie] batting average, I’m pretty positive about it. Very positive about it,” Harris said, reiterating his support for his general manager.
New practice facility update
Harris addressed the status of the team’s new practice facility, being built over in Camden. The state-of-the-art facility should be ready for the start of the 2016-17 season.
“Shockingly, so far it’s on time and basically on budget,” Harris said, noting that they’ve broken ground on the new facility.
“Having been involved with a number of building projects [in the past], it’s not always predictable, but we’re working really hard to have it ready for next season,” Harris continued. “I’d say that it couldn’t be going any better.”
Doctors optimistic about Joel Embiid
“When you talk to the doctors, they’re actually quite optimistic,” Harris said when talking about Joel Embiid‘s recovery. “I’m proud of Joel and what he’s done, to really work at positioning himself to play as soon as he can.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Sam Hinkie.
“Nutrition, medication, sleep, staying off of it, all of that has been really good,” Hinkie said, noting that he expects Embiid to be in a cast for a few more weeks.
- Pierre Jackson wasn’t a full participant at practice. Jackson’s been bothered by a nagging groin injury he originally suffered in summer league.
- Richaun Holmes, the 37th pick in last year’s NBA draft, also did not practice. Holmes twisted his ankle midway through Wednesday’s afternoon practice.