Philadelphia’s nickname conjures up the city’s past. Its roster moves evoke the future–the distant future.
Sometimes the Philadelphia 76ers confuse themselves for the Delaware 87ers, their D-League affiliate. The 76ers seem to be always developing, never arriving as the finished product. The Philadelphia 76ers were so bad this year that they couldn’t even break the NBA record for consecutive losses despite trying really, really hard. They may make another run at the mark this season as neither one of their first-round picks figures to play for them for a while.
The 76ers clearly considered Joel Embiid, once thought to be the top pick, a steal at three. “I sniffed opportunity,” 76ers president Sam Hinkie giddily explained Friday. “The moment he got hurt, we thought we might get him. We might be just the organization with just the set of owners, and we might be the one to do it.”
The Kansas center scared the Greg Oden out of Cleveland and Milwaukee. Embiid recently endured a surgery to repair a broken foot. He may not even play this season. Big feet beneath bigger bodies bring big problems.
The 76ers also selected Elfrid Payton at ten, who they strangely dealt to the Orlando Magic for Dario Saric (the twelfth pick) and a future first-round pick. Whereas Embiid stands a chance of suiting up for the Sixers this season, and may turn out to be a great NBA player should he transcend his foot issues, Saric just signed a three-year deal with a Turkish team. He may never play in Philadelphia.
Reasons beyond on-court talent exist why a team goes 19-63. The Philadelphia 76ers lost 26 straight this season. The season hasn’t even started and they have started a new losing streak.
Wilt Chamberlain, Dr. J, and Allen Iverson won’t be walking through that door. Neither will Joel Embiid and Dario Saric–at least not anytime soon.