The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.
In between, there were a whole lot of losses – 63, to be exact.
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It was obviously a rebuilding season for the Sixers, who were clearly playing for the future. They finished 19-63 and featured enough D League players to field a starting five.
The biggest news will occur in the offseason, beginning with the Draft Lottery. Since the Sixers had the second-worst record behind only the Milwaukee Bucks, they’ll have a 19.9 percent chance of coming up with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.
Before looking ahead, let’s reflect on what transpired:
Brown came into a very difficult situation and he was fully aware of that fact. This is a head coach who was part of four NBA championships as a member of the San Antonio Spurs’ staff.
The Sixers didn’t feature the likes of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan and the result was loss after loss through a challenging season, which included an NBA-tying 26-game skid.
Through it all, Brown continued to maintain a positive approach. He was always teaching and guiding the young players. That type of energy is contagious and will help as the team starts to add quality pieces.
Brown’s experience will play a major role in the years to come.
The front office
General Manager Sam Hinkie joined the franchise and understood his role. This was going to be a long-term plan and he was going to utilize his analytics and ability to break things down and build them back up.
Hinkie traded Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner in separate trade deadline deals. Don’t forget that Hinkie acquired Nerlens Noel in a draft night deal for All-Star Jrue Holiday a season ago. Still recovering from a torn ACL, Noel never suited up for one second in a Sixers uniform. But he’ll be available next season and that’s almost like adding another first round pick.
Hinkie clearly has a vision for the Sixers and the next step will come in the draft lottery.
Grade: B+ (it has to be tough to show patience when you’re selling a product to the fans)
Michael Carter-Williams was the Sixers’ first round pick last season (No. 11 overall). He struggled at times with the marathon NBA schedule but still wound up leading all rookies in scoring, assists, rebounding, steals and minutes per game.
Turnovers and poor shooting were problems at various times, but MCW proved he’s capable of competing at a very high level in this league. When he’s surrounded with better talent, expect all of his numbers to improve.
A number of other rookies played this season, but Carter-Williams is the key here in the years to come with this franchise.
Since the Sixers rolled out the youngest team in NBA history by the end of the season, the only real veteran on this team was forward Thaddeus Young. With Hawes and Turner traded, Young had to assume an even larger leadership role than he expected.
Plain and simple, Young was phenomenal while playing under very difficult circumstances. He averaged a career high in points and 3-pointers made, but it was more of a necessity since the team was so young.
Young, the longest-tenured player on the Sixers, could be traded in the offseason. If he is, one of the classiest players in franchise history will be performing somewhere else. If not, Young will at least have more talent surrounding him next season. The Sixers have two first round selections along with the addition of Noel.