The three-years running tanking effort by the Philadelphia 76ers has been a black eye for the league. It’s legal. It’s arguably smart (if you draft well and can develop the players). It may be the best path for a middle to small market team to win a title. But it also took the idea of taking in the NBA and turned it into a national conversation on the NBA and why it’s advantageous to be bad sometimes. The race to the bottom went against the competitive spirit most people associate with sport.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended what the Sixers were doing as legal, but when he got the chance to help make a change in Philly — to blunt the power of GM Sam Hinkie — he took it. Silver helped bring Colangelo to Philadelphia, as reported by Sam Amick of the USA Today.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had a significant hand in Philadelphia’s decision to hire Colangelo and placed a call to Colangelo to gauge his interest, two people familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
This wasn’t the first time Adam Silver tried to thwart this level of commitment to being bad to hopefully get good. That included helping bring substantial NBA Draft Lottery reform to the owners, but in the 48 hours before the vote some small and middle markets killed the plan, fearing this would cut off their ability to go bad in the future.
The thing is, a lot of franchises have intentionally been bad for a season or two in hopes of landing a future star, or at least some quality pieces. Just nobody ever had the level of commitment and the stomach for piling up losses like Hinkie and the Sixers did. I said before the season the question with the Sixers rebuilding plan was how long the owner Josh Harris could handle all that losing. Monday we got our answer.
Colangelo wants to build through a more traditional path of draft picks, free agents, and trades. And the process will move faster.