The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.
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Though they face the Heat in Miami Wednesday night in game No. 82, they went out on a good note, downing the Celtics for the second time this season, 113-108 at the Wells Fargo Center Monday.
The season will surely be remembered for the losses -- 26 in a row at one point and over 60 overall. But first year head coach Brett Brown won't necessarily recall the campaign for its perilous losses.
"I actually think in a very twisted way that I'm going to look back at this year, and look back at guys who just played their tails off," Brownsaid. "They came in and there were no expectations and they played and developed and got NBA minutes. They looked at me and I looked at them and we incredibly survived a year like this."
The great majority of them simply survived. But Michael Carter-Williams thrived.
It was a losing, frustrating environment, but the first-round pick from Syracuse seems likely to bring home Rookie of the Year honors. His 21 points, career-high 14 rebounds, six assists and four steals only furthered his cause to take home the hardware, a foregone conclusion now.
The real light at the end of the season-long struggle is the upcoming draft. The Sixers could have two first round lottery picks. They also have stockpiled five second rounders. They have, assumably, a returning borderline All-Star in forward Thaddeus Young, and a healthy Nerlens Noel next season.
They might not quite be on the verge of a breakthrough, but they are much closer now than they were at the start of the year. Brown, Carter-Williams and whoever else joins them next year will hopefully look back at 2013-14 as a footnote, and the beginning of a new winning tradition in South Philadelphia.