Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Look Philadelphia 76ersAround the League: Eastern Conference Also-Rans

Your fortunes can change just that quickly in this game (Sports Illustrated)

Most teams have about a dozen or so games to go before the playoffs.  While there will be a ton of focus on those teams, this would be a good time to say goodbye to the fourteen other squads as they depart this earthly regular season. This edition of A Look Around the League focuses on the present and future of the teams we’ll cease to see this come postseason time. Part 1 will be solely about the Eastern Conference teams already looking forward to the offseason, with a brief recap of their 2015-2016 season. Note: if a team still has a somewhat legitimate chance to make the postseason, they have not been included.

The 76ers' biggest acquisition may be Jerry Colangelo (Bill Streicher USA Today Sports)

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers trusted the process right into a new head guy of bball ops (Jerry Colangelo's official title is “Chairman of basketball operations”) after having Sam Hinkie convince his boss that losing was actually better than winning for three seasons, the owner (under a bit of pressure?) hired Colangelo, who is now finally giving a timeline to hitting that light at the end of the tunnel. Their top picks in the most recent drafts, Jahlil Okafor and  Joel Embiid were shut down for the season and will hopefully be ready to go when the next season rolls around. One thing is certain, with new decision-makers in place, the NBA’s nightmare of an experiment is coming to a close.

Sean Marks will have his hands full as the new GM in Brooklyn (Getty Images)

Brooklyn Nets

As sad as the 76ers have been for years, the Nets are going to be worse. The team’s future was mortgaged for about a year and change of old superstars.   As such, their front office shake up moving Billy King out and replacing him with Sean Marks will more than likely have little effect.  There are dark days ahead for Brooklyn, if you want to get out now as a fan, no one would blame you.

You think Melo is rethinking his no-trade clause? (Getty Images)

New York Knicks

I don’t mean to pile on the city of New York but…it wasn’t a banner year of basketball for the east coast’s largest city. After starting out the season reasonably well (and wouldn’t anything be reasonably good after a franchise-low number of wins last year?), the Knicks fell on hard times and eventually jettisoned their head coach and former Phil Jackson protégé, Derek Fisher.  The future looks good with rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis’ surprisingly good first campaign and Carmelo Anthony’s continued greatness.  There are still more roster moves to be made to establish themselves as a playoff contender, but overall the franchise’s outlook is brighter than at this time last year.

Can Skiles help develop the Magic's young stars like he did in OKC? (Getty Images)

Orlando Magic

This team is perilously close to becoming the Miami Dolphins of the NBA—the team that is hyped in the media to make the leap and manages to fall short. They’ve drafting of Elfrid Peyton, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic has been deft, but attracting free agents has been an issue for the team.  A consideration that may only worsen as the salary cap jumps and every team will be flush with cash.  The team recently hired Head Coach Scott Skiles for his penchant for developing young talent. Hopefully he will be able to improve their young core like he did in Oklahoma City. The team’s most glaring weakness is on the offensive end, where they currently rank 26th in points per possession.  Contributing to their offensive woes is the team’s lack of consistent three point shooting, they are in the bottom half of the league in both attempts and percentage of makes. Hopefullly Skiles can work his (ahem) Magic on this roster and Florida’s 0% state tax can work its powers of seduction of free agents.

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