67RIEFNS No. 48: 76ers pissing off everyone. Again.

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The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

I love what the 76ers are doing. Absolutely love it.

I think Sam Hinkie’s extreme tanking is the team’s optimal strategy, the best possible course of action for a team that was headed toward the cellar anyway. Once there, why not stay a little while? Teams that gradually improve often leave the lottery before they’ve accumulated enough assets to really excel once their young players develop, and by that point, they’re capped out and have only mid-range picks. It’s too late.

So, the 76ers’ plan of remaining bad enough long enough to really stockpile quality players gives them the best chance of fielding a contender down the road. There’s no guarantee it will work, but there’s no guarantee any rebuilding method will work. Sometimes, you just have to pick a strategy, roll with it and hope for the best. I think the 76ers picked the best strategy to roll with.

But most of all, I love how much everyone resents them for it.

The 76ers are not the first team to tank – far from it. But they’ve taken it to the logical extreme. Everyone else, at some stage of the process, chickens out and tries to win some meaningless games so they feel better about themselves. In the long run, winning 25 instead of 20 games won’t create any lasting memories – but it could cost you valuable draft position.

So, the 76ers are doing their very best to ensure they don’t accidentally lose draft position. Last year, they rotated through several players who wouldn’t sniff the NBA anywhere else, and they’re already setting up to do the same this year.

But underneath it all, they’re not just losing games. Philadelphia coach Brett Brown has instilled a culture of learning and playing hard. I like watching the 76ers play, because you can see them improving, and they always give it their all. That progress won’t result in many wins, but there is substance – if you look closely – on a game-to-game level.

Really, though, I just like watching everyone else get worked up about the 76ers’ plan. The outrage became so prevalent, the NBA tried to jam through a lottery rule change that would reduce benefits of extreme tanking begging this season. Everyone saw through the league’s motives. It wanted to punish Philadelphia. And a majority of teams voted for the proposal! (It did not receive enough votes to pass, though.)

The 76ers are not deterred. They’re back, maybe even worse than last year. They’ll lose a lot, so much so that Charlotte’s record for single-season futility – 7-59 – is in jeopardy.

Some people will hate the 76ers for it.

Me? I’ll appreciate it for what it is – and smirk at everyone else who’s getting so worked up.