Beyond the Bison: Sports News Across the Nation “The Cost”

Juilian Doney, Senior Writer

February 23, 2014

“The Cost”

Sometimes things just have to get really, really bad before they can get better. Such is the case with the 2013-2014 Philadelphia 76ers. Sitting at 15-42, only the Milwaukee Bucks can make a claim to be worse than the Sixers. But not even the Bucks’ roster can be as bad as the Sixers’ post-trade deadline roster.

On Feb. 20, first-year GM Sam Hinkie put the finishing touches on his year-long “tank job” by selling high on any and all assets the terrible Sixers team still had to offer.

First, the team shipped soft but (for some reason) valued, Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers for two second-round picks, Earl Clark (whose contract they immediately bought out for cap relief), and a couple minimum contract players. Next, the team grabbed two second rounder picks and took on Eric Maynor in a move that added little salary, a decent veteran in Maynor, and only required some cash considerations to complete. Then, as the trade deadline ended at 3 p.m., Hinkie made one final splash by sending former number two overall pick Evan Turner to the Indiana Pacers for yet another second round pick and veteran Danny Granger, who the team is also going to buy out.

Now the Sixers, already young and bad, have positioned themselves for the stretch run of the NBA season with little more than veteran Thad Young and rookie sensation Michael Carter-Williams to compete with the best rosters in the world.

With several great collegiate players set to make the jump to the NBA this summer, the top of the 2014 Draft is set to change the fortunes of a few franchises, which is why Hinkie has taken the team this route. But that’s just the point. It means that teams are well aware that they must be really, really bad in order to become a contender. And so Hinkie is following this unfortunate management model to perfection.

Some would argue the obvious nature with which Hinkie is blatantly setting a proud professional franchise up for failure is blasphemous. I say it’s brilliant. With just another month or two of low-quality basketball left, the Sixers have the rise of Carter-Williams, the debut of highly-touted rookie Nerlens Noel, and the addition of at least one potential superstar to look forward to in the upcoming draft.

I wish there was another way, but Hinkie’s doing it the only way he really can: tanking to the fullest. Sixers fans are going to have to deal with dried up yellow grass for a little while longer, but it won’t be long before they see some of the greenest grass the world has to offer. Just give Hinkie a little more time.

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