I got in touch with the fine folks over at Liberty Ballers to see if they wanted to answer some questions about the Sixers for us. Justin was more than happy to help out. We talk about keeping your spirits high during a losing season, Nerlens Noel, and the play of, rookie point guard, Michael Carter-Williams.
The 76ers season of tanking appears to have gone according to plan. Sure, there was the 26-game losing streak but fans don't seem to be showing as much anger and depression as you would expect from a historically bad team, what is keeping spirits high?
Two things are keeping spirits high: The first of which is the fact Sam Hinkie is a genius man with a plan and Brett Brown, despite the losing streak, has the appearances of a great head coach. Coming from Daryl Morey's analytics factory, Hinkie is a process-oriented general manager who is tanking with the clear goal of obtaining a top pick in the top heavy 2014 NBA Draft. The first superstar is the hardest to obtain and Hinkie (probably rightly) believes the draft is the best way to start the rebuild. Brown has his team, bad as they are, playing a quick pace style and making sure his guys are always giving 100% effort. With players like Elliot Williams, James Nunnally, and 2011 and 2012 Big West Player of the Year Casper Ware on the roster, their lack of talent overrides the effort when it comes to in-game results, but it is always encouraging to see Brown stress effort level and these kids responding positively to it.
The other thing that has spirits high is as bad as this team is, the Sixers under Doug Collins were even worse. Being a much more traditional basketball mind, Collins had the team mired in mediocrity with no clear direction other than hoping at best to be an 7-seed and to win a playoff game or two. Collins was so bad at his job that he pushed for the Sixers to sign Kwame Brown to a four-year, $20 million contract. Yes, this Kwame Brown.
As the season comes to a close, what are the final thoughts on Michael Carter-Williams rookie year?
My final thoughts on Michael Carter-Williams's first year are certainly positive. He's done better than myself and many expected coming into this season and he may well be the Sixers point guard of the future. He certainly has some flaws in his game, namely his shooting, but there is hope that with the assistance of Brown and the Sixers coaching staff designed to maximize player development that MCW can be as productive a Sixer as Jrue Holiday was. If MCW equals Jrue or exceeds him, it will be considered a massive win for all involved.
Nerlens Noel was at one point the consensus number 1 pick. Due to injury scares he took quite a fall and was eventually traded to the Sixers on draft night. What are the expectations/hopes for him next season?
The hope and expectation will be that he can emerge into the Sixers' starting center or a real valuable trade piece should the Sixers draft Joel Embiid in the NBA Draft. The Sixers have been long seeking an elite NBA rim protector and Noel may be able to provide them with that if he develops the way his development is anticipated once he returns from injury.
What type of player will the Sixers most be looking for in the upcoming draft?
The type of player that can emerge as a star on the team. Position does not matter, the Sixers just need a superstar and lucky for them Andrew Wiggins is in this year's draft. Also Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, and Dante Exum, but I've got my eyes mostly on Wiggins and I think other Sixers fans feel the same way. The others may very well turn into stars in their own rights, but Wiggins appears the most interesting right now and it would not surprise me at all if in five years time he is the best player from the 2014 Class.
Alright last question, are the Sixers most likely going to trade Thaddeus Young during the offseason or do they still plan to hold on to him into next season?
I think a lot of this depends on what happens Draft Day. As much as I want Thaddeus to stay because he is a great guy who has gone through a lot of losing in Philadelphia, his contract is friendly enough and his talent, is good enough to be a piece on a championship contending team, if the Sixers end up with someone like Randle and/or feel the need to include Thad in a trade to obtain in a third 1st round pick, there is no doubt in my mind Hinkie will pull the trigger. But, it is also not a guarantee Thad is traded like it was for Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner. Saying "it depends" feels like a lame copout answer, but in this case I really do think it depends on what dominoes fall where in the upcoming months.
A big thank you to Justin for helping us out! Be sure to check out Liberty Ballers for all of your Sixers info.