Look, I can assure you that this is traditionally a horrible sports week. Unless the Flyers are in the Conference Finals or the Phillies are, you know, good, the weeks around summer holidays (MEMORIAL DAY IS SUMMER DAMMIT AND DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE!) can be painful. For our part, it’s not a lack of trying… it’s a lack of happening. I’d much rather be busy than be searching. So I get that daily publications that need content ready by 12 a.m. to be sent to the printer so it can be put on trucks and driven to houses and businesses by 6 a.m. have to get creative… but maybe the old-timers at the Daily News can come up with something better than the Sixers are frauds.
Editors asked writers if the Sixers’ plan – to play the odds and stockpile young talent in the service of building a winning organization – is worth it. These are actual responses. See if you can guess who said what:
When it comes to being lucky, they’re cursed. For the record – not that they ever seem to care about their record – the Sixers are oh-fer The Lottery.
The Sixers failed – that’s what it was: failure – to gain possession of the Lakers’ and the Heat’s picks this year, too. They prayed that the Lakers would fall out of the top five, the Heat out of the top 10.
B) Yes, because math.
So the evidence suggests the difference between Very Good and Very Mediocre is -150,000 fans, while the difference between Very Mediocre and Very Bad is -55,000 fans.
Q: If a Bad Instead of Mediocre Season (BIOMS) is worth -55,000, and a Great Instead of Mediocre Season (GIOMS) is worth +150,000, how many GIOMS does it take to make up for three BIOMS?
A: One. It takes the Sixers one great season to earn back the ticket revenue they lose over three bad seasons. So a four-year stretch that goes Bad-Bad-Bad-Good equals one that goes OK-OK-OK-OK.
As a charter member of the club that is convinced the Sixers “plan’’ is a fraud that is serving only to strip away all its highly-paid assets as the franchise has increased in value by more than 300 percent under the shrewd businessmen that own it and believes the end-game is more likely to be a highly profitable sale than an NBA championship, the ‘was the tanking worth it’ question is a snapshot into a larger picture that may take a while to come into focus.
The Sixers could get as many as four first-round picks in next year’s draft. And that is what they will be selling between now and June 2016. I am not buying.
This is a shell game that appeals to fantasy players and wannabe general managers. It is not a model based on 2015 basketball reality.
Find out who said what after the jump.
A: Well that’s Marcus Hayes, like a Louisiana backwoods inhabitant, arguing in short-bursted paragraphs that the Sixers are cursed… and then placing the blame squarely on their shoulders, for the Lakers’ lack of success this season.
It’s funny because what Hinkie is doing is almost the exact opposite of how Marcus views this. Hinkie is playing the odds, the long game. That if the Sixers acquire enough lottery picks (let’s be honest– 3 is a really good spot to be), then at least a couple of them will turn into really good, or even great, players. And when that happens, it’ll be easy to lure free agents here. All of a sudden, two good-great fourth-year players combined with an all-star free agent equals top-two team in the conference. It’s not about the short-term lottery wins, it’s about the long-term stockpiling of assets and talent, with the flexibility to move said assets for talent, or more assets, when needed. Buying in to what the Sixers are doing is like buying stock in a company. They may report bad quarters early on, but if you ignore the short-term volatility, you can be confident in the long-term prospects. Think Tesla.
B: Well that’s David Murphy, trying to explain that the tanking is good for business because one or two good seasons will be worth more in attendance than four mediocre seasons… in the most confusing way possible.
C: Well that’s Team Neckmeat Dick Jerardi:
It’s fitting that he called it a shell game, because he looks like a turtle. His is the most absurd view of any. We don’t know how much Joshua Harris and Co. are in it just for the money, but thus far, all signs point to they’re not.
1) Harris is a billionaire and can find many other distressed assets to flip for a few hundred million without the headache that comes with owning a sports team(s).
2) He’s a billionaire and already has a lot of money. Money is no longer cool amongst his circle of friends. You know what’s cool? Robert Kraft is cool. Mark Cuban is cool. Joshua Harris, by all outward appearances, is not cool. You know what would make him cool? Rings.
3) All evidence points the contrary: the Sixers are investing (yes, with the help of the state of New Jersey) in a practice facility, they’ve struck innovative sponsorship deals with gambling-themed outlets (which will become an even more massive business once online sports betting is legalized), they’re working through an overall brand refresh that stretches from the uniforms on the court to the last row in the second level. You may roll your eyes at that stuff, but an ownership group interested in just sitting on an asset and then flipping it in five years doesn’t do these sorts of things. They don’t need to. The money is in the TV contracts, and the whole reason the Sixers’ value has increased by 300% since Harris took over has nothing to do with the Sixers (because they stink) and everything to do with league-wide cable deals. The Sixers, as an organization, are making an effort, perhaps more of an effort than any other local sports team. They made an effort with Andrew Bynum. But throwing money at mid-level free agents just for the sake of mediocrity is really, really stupid (see: King comma Billy). The only way to truly judge their sincerity will come when they are a player or two away from becoming great. Do they spend then? That’s when we’ll know. The rest is all just noise. This is noise. Please turn it down.