Over the last few years, the Philadelphia 76ers have been pretty, well, awful. How awful, you ask? They’ve gone 19-72 since the start of last season, including 0-9 this season.
At this point, Sixers fans have to be asking themselves some very important questions: How in the world did we get here? How has our team won just 19 of its previous 91 games? How come we can’t get this right?
“Well, remember it wasn’t that long ago when Doug Collins was the coach and they were in the playoffs,” Philadelphia-based radio host Tony Bruno said on The MoJo Show. “They had Jrue Holiday, who was obviously an All-Star, and Andre Iguodala was the star player – even though he wasn’t a guy who would carry a team – and he made the big free throws and they were going to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.”
Indeed, the 76ers beat top-seeded Chicago in six games in 2012, this after Derrick Rose tore his ACL in Game 1. Philadelphia then pushed Boston to seven games in the conference semis, ultimately losing Game 7, 85-75, at TD Garden.
“They had that magical run and the city was going crazy,” Bruno said. “And then Doug Collins soured on the team, and he left and the team fell apart.”
Collins resigned in April 2013 and was replaced by Brett Brown, who had spent more than a decade with San Antonio. Still, it is Brown’s first NBA head-coaching job, and the front office – Joshua Harris, David S. Blitzer and others – leaves much to be desired.
“These guys are investment bankers,” Bruno said. “They’re not sports owners; they’re investment bankers. They bought a distressed property and they paid like $280 million for it, and their plan is to rebuild this thing and get out in a couple years and make a $1 billion profit. That’s the way it works in corporate America. They bought the (New Jersey) Devils, (and) they’re trying to buy a soccer team (Aston Villa). There’s nothing wrong with capitalism. I’m a capitalist, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t know whether the game plan for these guys is to win a championship and be part of it and ride down Broad Street in the victory parade for the first time since 1983.”
Instead, the plan seems to be to lose as much as possible and accumulate as many top draft picks as possible.
“I don’t know if this is going to work, but people keep telling me this is the only way you can do it in the modern-day NBA,” Bruno said. “And the ownership group here has convinced the fans that this is the right way, and fans accept being abysmal and losing by 53 and by 32 night-in and night-out.”
The Sixers rank dead last in the league in scoring offense (90.0 points per game), and the scoring defense – which ranks 26th (109.0) – isn’t much better. Even worse, there hasn’t been much effort.
“Michael Carter-Williams pretty much pointed up to the scoreboard when Brett Brown told him to get back on defense,” Bruno said, referencing a recent game. “They were down 44, and he pointed up to the scoreboard and said, ‘Really, bro? You want me to get back on defense when we’re losing by 44?’”
The 76ers will try to avoid an 0-10 start Monday in San Antonio.