CelticsLife Atlantic Division Preview: The Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers: 2013/14 Record: 19-63
Over the course of the next week, members of the CelticsLife staff will take a look at what to expect from the Atlantic Division this coming season. Today, let's dive into the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Expected Starting Lineup & Summary

Nerlens Noel
Luc Mbah Moute
KJ McDaniels
Alexy Shved
Michael Carter Williams

The Philadelphia 76ers suck. That's not a nice way to start an Atlantic Divison preview, but it's also kind of the only way. How else would you summarize a team that is so bad that it's ownership is actively fighting the NBA's new lottery proposal because, well, they suck, and they'd like to take advantage of the fact that they're really, really bad?

How bad are the 76ers? Let's do a test.

Considering the fact that you're currently reading an Atlantic Divsion preview of the Philadelphia 76ers on a Celtics blog, I'm guessing you'd consider yourself to be a bit of a hoops fan. I'm going to put the picture of a Philadelphia 76er who started in their October 16th preseason game against the Boston Celtics, and then provide multiple choices below them. Let me know how many players you can correctly identify:

Know your 76ers Quiz: Who is this guy?

They're awful (by design). The list of 'expected starters' is a 100% a guess, and that's because I haven't the least idea how you determine who should start at any position outside of center and point guard on a team this bad. Alexy Shved looked like an OK NBA player for about a half of a season, and a year and a half looking like he shouldn't be in the league. That's at least good enough for serious consideration at the shooting guard slot.

Even with Nerlens Noel returning (and maybe, but probably not Joel Embiid), it's hard to see this team exceeding it's win total from last season, which again was nine-freaking-teen.

Anyways, being super negative's never too fun. Let's take a brief break, and take a look at the best Sixers dunk from last season

Best Dunk of 2013/14

Not great, but ya know, OK. Right?

New Faces, New Places

Key Additions: Nerlens Noel, Alexy Shved, Luc Mbah A Moute

Key Losses: Thadeus Young, Byron 'Don't Call Me BJ' Mullens, James Anderson

I didn't include Joel Embiid because I just don't see the 76ers allowing him to play this season, as they continue to tank.

Mike Dyer's 'Scorching Hot Take'

The 76ers will be the worst team of all time

Editor's note: All hot takes should be read while listening to Lloyd Banks' "On Fire."

9-73. That's the worst 82 game record in NBA history (set by the 1972-73 Sixers), and a mark this version of the Sixers will challenge this year. Don't believe me? Take a look at the roster. Michael Carter-Williams is out until at least February. Joel Embiid is unlikely to play at all this year. Their best healthy player is Nerlens Noel, a guy coming off an ACL injury that hasn't played a regular season basketball game since January, 2013 (and that was in college). Guys named Hollis, Elliot and Casper started their last preseason game. I'm willing to bet less than 5% of even diehard NBA fans can give me the last names of all three of those guys without looking them up.

The Sixers are deep into their "total teardown" rebuild, and they've certainly assembled a nice batch of assets. But for now, that's all they are. Neither of their first round picks will play this season (Embiid or Dario Saric, who is likely to stay overseas for two more seasons), and the roster they're running out there is bereft of NBA talent.

Last year the Sixers only won 19 games, and that was with Evan Turner (now in Boston), Spencer Hawes (now in LA) and Thaddeus Young (now in Minnesota). This year those minutes are going to Henry Sims, JaKarr Sampson, Brandon Davies and Jacob Black (Note: 3 of these names are current Sixers, one is a fictional werewolf). So while it's really difficult to predict any team to win less than 10 games simply because even the worst team can run into 10 teams having an off night, I think Philly might actually do it. But even if they do creep their way to 10-12 wins, look for them to out-suck the '72-'73 version of themselves when it comes to point differential (-12.1)

Padraic O'Connor's 'Will They Make a Trade?'

Rumor has it that the NBA is considering changes to the draft process in the near future. There have been several theories on what the process will look like, but essentially the main goal for the new draft process will be to eliminate any benefit for teams to tank in order to get a higher draft pick.

I am pretty sure that Philadelphia is going to fight this with ever fiber of their being. That is seemingly their entire plan- be bad and rebuild through the draft until you have a team full of first rounders that have learned how to win despite only losing. It’s the same idea that Gordon Bombay tried to get District 5 to buy into before they became The Mighty Ducks.

The change to the NBA draft is on the table but it’s not imminent which means until further notice, being bad still gives you the best chance possible to draft high. One way to ensure being bad is sit your first round draft pick for the second year in a row (Noel in ‘13-14, Embiid in ‘14-’15) and trade rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams.

It’s far from a lock that MCW is on his way out of Philly but a rookie of the year could, in theory, net some assets for the 76ers to parlay into higher draft picks within the current lottery system. Philly and Boston are in the same mode right now- asset collection. Danny Ainge is just less overt about it thank Sam Hinkie.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe weighed in on Philadelphia’s draft strategy, and what could be in store for MCW:

“They tried hard during the draft, but they couldn't draw the trove they envisioned or guarantee that the player they wanted with an acquired pick would be there, per several league sources. Expect Philly to repeat the exercise. It's not a shot at Carter-Williams, or even a signal that the Sixers are dying to trade him. He may well end up a long-term cog in Philly.”

MCW is a contributor for sure and that’s both what could keep him in Philly or see him going elsewhere. It all depends on just how bad they want to be and how valuable he could be to another team bound for the lottery.

Philadelphia 76ers Over/Under: 15.5

Richissin: Under
O'Connor: Under
Dyer: Under

Recommendation for 76ers fans

Skip this season, watch these two videos below together, and remember things are going to get better

YouTube Doubler