Sixers' new owners proving they have a plan
My most unforgettable childhood sports memory is when my dad waved a broom in the air on Broad Street near our home in North Philly after the Sixers swept the Lakers in the 1983 NBA Finals.
I was four years old.
The same teams met 18 years later in the 2001 NBA Finals, only this time there was a much different outcome.
When the Sixers won Game 1, I celebrated a lot. The win allowed me to experience what my dad felt when the Sixers took home the NBA crown almost 20 years before that.
The Sixers took it on the chin, losing the series to Los Angeles, 4-1. Just like everyone else, I’ve been waiting for more than a decade to see a glimmer of championship promise from my favorite hoops franchise.
Then, something very interesting happened in the summer of 2011. A nine-member ownership group bought the team and made a few changes to excite the fan base. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Sixers scrapped and clawed their way to the doorstep of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Yes, the Sixers were helped by other teams’ injuries. Derrick Rose, for example, tore his ACL in Game 1 of the Sixers’ first-round series against the Bulls. Regardless, the Sixers nearly made it to the conference finals before falling to the Celtics in seven games.
After the season, I wondered if the Sixers’ playoff run was another wasted emotional investment on my part. Would the front office sit on its hands and make questionable moves during the off-season, or would it actively try to make the team better?
Then, the new additions started rolling in – Nick Young, Dorrell Wright and Kwame Brown. And of course, there were those who were let go – Lou Williams, Elton Brand and Jodie Meeks.
Truthfully, I wasn’t initially sold on the transactions the Sixers’ front office made. I wasn’t married to the guys who left either, but the players coming in didn’t make me want to jump the broom.
Then, I learned about the contract lengths given to the new players, all of which were one or two-year deals, and I began picturing how the lineup might look.
I saw a Sixers’ roster that was bigger, longer and had better shooters. I also saw a team with more financial flexibility than a year ago, thanks to the front office not dishing out any long-term deals.
And you can’t forget about Sixers rookies Moe Harkless and Arnett Moultrie, who officially signed contracts on Tuesday.
I’m confident the Sixers are poised to win now and be true players in free agency next off-season.
I’m on board with what the new owners have done. The Sixers are at least nine deep and loaded with athletic, versatile wing players.
In my mind, the objective of Sixers’ ownership was to make Philadelphia an attractive destination for future free agents. I think they have done that.
A team looking to improve must have cap room to sign marquee players. For the first time in quite a while, the Sixers have options and flexibility.
The Sixers are the third-winningest franchise in NBA history. The two franchises ahead of them, the Lakers and Celtics, have more than 30 combined NBA titles. The Sixers have just three.
Instead of focusing on what the Sixers still need, look at the holes they have filled with a few smart moves. The Sixers’ brass has a clear plan.
Thanks to an ambitious ownership group, the Sixers’ relevance is primed for a comeback.
Let the confetti fly!