Bryan Colangelo: ‘We’re Not Going to Race Forward to the Middle Ground’
Tuesday, May 17th is a big day in the history of the Philadelphia 76ers franchise.
Its the jumping off point from "the process" to whatever you want to call the next phase of their "measured" rebuild, as new president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo calls it. For three dreadful seasons, the Sixers have plodded, hoarded, and maneuvered to get to this day - and its finally almost come.
"I don't want to look back, I really want to look forward," Colangelo told me on the Sports Bash. "I want to talk about where we are and where we can go."
Where the Sixers can go is only up.
After three seasons and 47 wins, that is the only direction this once proud franchise can go, but Colangelo feels that the events of the previous three seasons served a tremendous purpose, one that will make his job a lot easier - as long as the ping -pong balls bounce his way, something that hasn't happened for the Sixers in recent draft lotteries.
"I think the three years did serve a purpose," Colangelo admitted. "It was painful, it was tough to deal with. I think Sam (Hinkie) and his staff did a really interesting job of putting some really high value trades together that put this franchise in a situation where there is a chance to go forward."
After going from 18 to 19 to 10 wins, it seems that things took a major step back - but that's simply not the case. "The process" was never about the teams on-court success, to judge them by wins and losses, they are obviously a failure - this was about more, setting them up for long-term success and Colangelo believes that was accomplished.
"It was the extreme nature," Colangelo said about why there is such a polarization about the teams rebuild.
"Your going to have some people whop buy into it and believe in it and some people who don't buy into it or believe in it. Some of the moves that were made along the way, whether they were planned or not, probably have left more questions than answers right now. So what we are trying to do is pick up the pieces from where we are - the good news is some of the pieces are draft picks, cap flexibility and other things."
While many fans have been frustrated with the amount of time the Sixers rebuild has taken, if there one thing the team has benefited from the Hinke "process" it was an amazing amount assets and optionality, almost unparalleled in the league that Colangelo has chosen to call "measured steps," of putting the Sixers in a better position to move forward.
"Im some peoples mind there was a frustration at this stage, three years into the program that we still have not made any strides," Colangelo explained. "But I can argue right now is kind of a jumping off point, we have a lot of assets to put to use, a ownership group that is committed to winning - there is just a lot of bright spots."
Colangelo indicated that the Sixers days of losing are behind them, entering seasons with a roster that looks like its intended to lose basketball games, he said the focus now is on getting better on the floor.
"There is a lot of good things ahead, I people can have a little bit of patience," Colangelo stressed. "But we're taking steps now where we are turning that dial from losing to winning."
So what excited Colangelo about the most about his new venture?
"The real piece that everyone has any idea what to expect, including myself, is Embiid," Colangelo stated. " Joel is a young talent, arguably the best talent in that draft, he slipped to third and they got a chance to pick him up. This one is still unknown but the anticipation of what he could do is certainly intriguing."
That coupled with the amount of draft picks has Colangelo thinking big about his new team, he mentioned the fact that the team has multiple picks, giving them a chance to be creative - but cautioned that adding four new young players to a already young team might not be in the plans.
"Do we want to try to build a team, perhaps designed to try and win basketball games, that will have a better blend of veteran talent, possibility doing something in free agency that brings in a good piece."
Hearing that could scare some fans of the former "the process" where Hinkie avoided adding mid-level free agents to avoid being stuck in the NBA version of purgatory - the middle.
"The one thing I will tell you we're noting going to do, we're not going to race forward to the middle ground," Colangelo explained. "We're going to try do to it systematically, smart and make good decisions that put us in a position."
So while the last three years have been miserable to some, just about every Sixer fan will be excited to watch the ping-pong balls bounce around Tuesday night - and maybe things will begin to turn around on the floor.