Ben Simmons could make Philadelphia’s tanking experiment pay off
The overall record for the Philadelphia 76ers over the past three seasons has been 47-199. In the 2013-2014 season, they went 19-63. In the 2014-2015 season, they went 18-64. This past season they barely made it to double digit wins, ending the year 10-72.
Can an NBA team really be this terrible? Are they losing on purpose?
Yes, yes they are.
The 76ers’ former general manager Sam Hinkie had been purposely losing in order to secure top draft picks and assets to build a team with. After three years of tanking, the 76ers were finally rewarded with the 2016 overall number one pick, which they used on Ben Simmons.
The Australian draftee from Louisiana State University showed promise in college, averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He has continued to show potential in the summer league.
According to Chris Mannix from Yahoo Sports, during a 76ers game with the Los Angeles Lakers in Las Vegas, the Simmons managed to attract a crowd of 16,208 people, with “fans eager to get a first look at Philadelphia’s reward for a third straight abysmal season…[Simmons] posted eight points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. In four games in Vegas, Simmons averaged 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists.”
Though he has yet to play an official regular season NBA game, the 6’10″ forward has already gotten some attention, with compliments from Eastern Conference executives, West Conference scouts, and one GM, earning the nickname “Mini LeBron.”
Simmons is starting his professional career on the right foot. He’s being recognized for his passing prowess, he has gotten the 76ers faithful behind him, and he has plenty of time to develop his game. But as, Mannix states, “Philadelphia must support Simmons… Simmons needs to be surrounded by shooters… [Dot] the roster with players who have won… With a little polish, Philadelphia will have the franchise player for which it has been starving, and the centerpieces of a supporting cast ready to be molded around him.”
Perhaps Simmons can do for the 76ers what Blake Griffin did for the Los Angeles Clippers and attract an elite point guard, like Chris Paul, who he can share the ball with and possibly build a contender alongside.
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