It’s been an exciting 24 hours for Philadelphia basketball fans. In Thursday night’s NBA draft, the Sixers made clear they have big big plans for the future. For the present – not so much.
When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced, “the Philadelphia 76ers select Joel Embiid from Yaounde, Cameroon and the University of Kansas,” the Sixers fate was clear.
The team came away with top two players, neither of whom will start the next season. One, Dario Saric, is under foreign contract and the other, Embiid, is injured.
“This next year is going to be rough,” said Bryan Toporek, a contributor at Hoop76.com, an NBA blog affiliated with ESPN.
Toporek said there’s no guarantee the Sixers bets are going to work out. Above all, he said, the Sixers draft choices show that fans will need to be patient.
“There is a very real chance that in a few years time the Sixers will be right in the top echelon of the East competing for a championship,” Toporek said, “which is the first time realistically that the team could even dream of that possibility since the early 2000’s.”
Eliot Shorr-Parks, a reporter for NJ.com agreed next year proably won’t be pretty.
“If everything goes right for the Sixers, maybe in three years they’re able to compete,” he said.
Shorr-Parks said after a depressing season and the recent draft choices, Sixers management may have pushed fans too far.
“It’s hard to imagine fans being ok with taking a little more risk and waiting a little bit longer in a town that’s starving for a championship,” Shorr-Parks said.
While it’s going to take a awhile for the Sixers to achieve greatness, it may be worth it. Toporek said the team has nowhere to go but up.
“The Sixers treaded water for the past half decade or so,” Toporek said. “This ownership group — credit to them — they realized you have to completely bottom out to really have a shot of moving past that no man’s land and get into the top 3, 4 seeds in the conference.”
Sixers fans can be forgiven for being desperate to see on-court success. Last season they tied an NBA record for the most consecutive losses.