5 Things Philadelphia 76ers Management Must Do If This Season Looks Lost
As of right now, it's still alive and kicking, but a 17-23 start has them starting near the bottom and looking to fight their way up.
Having a bad year and struggling to make the playoffs doesn't mean that management can just give up and quit their jobs, though. Their main focus needs to be on what steps they need to take to turn the Sixers into a better team for the future.
Being an owner or general manager certainly can't be easy. You're pretty much in charge of decisions that will affect a team that thousands, maybe even millions, of people love and care about. On top of that, those fans dictate how much money goes into management's pockets.
Not an easy job at all.
That doesn't mean that we as fans should give them any breaks, however. The best way to show that we care is by being diligent in making sure that we give them our best ideas.
How was that for a pep talk?
Okay, so maybe my inspirational speeches are not that great. Before I dig myself a bigger hole, let's get back to talking about Philadelphia and what their next moves should be.
Here are five things that Philly's management must do if this season looks lost.
All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through Jan 18.
Find an Answer to the Andrew Bynum Situation
Andrew Bynum's name has dominated Philadelphia's media outlets.
All without suiting up and playing one time.
There are multiple decisions that Philly's management could come to, but only three realistic choices that make sense.
The first decision is to ride with Bynum through his injury and trust that he's going to be healthy for the remainder of his career. That would then lead to the Sixers offering him some kind of contract at the end of the year and a decision being made on Bynum's part.
This route would require a medical evaluation to take place that ensures a high chance of a healthy future for the big man.
At this point, can the Sixers really rely on that medical report to come to light?
The second decision would be to try to get anything out of him this year then let him walk over the offseason. He hasn't given Philadelphia any help from a basketball standpoint, so choosing not to pursue him would make sense.
The only contribution he's made is to his own wallet. That's less than promising for a guy as talented as Bynum when healthy.
The last, but possibly both best and hardest option, would be to try and trade him before the deadline. It looks as though he could be healthy enough to play at that point, meaning that he'd pass a physical for his new team which would successfully complete the trade.
Letting go of Bynum right as he gets healthy would be the downside to this option. It would mean that the Sixers barely got to use any of his skills for the betterment of the team.
Trading him would also be unbelievably difficult. What team is going to want someone that has had chronic knee problems over his career and is only 25 years old?
The good news is that teams generally take chances on players that still have a lot of skill level and that would mean that Philadelphia gets some kind of value for him.
Even if it's not much.
Evaluate If Doug Collins Should Continue to Be the Head Coach of the Sixers?
I've been a fan of Doug Collins since he joined the Sixers two seasons ago. He immediately turned the squad into a postseason team and gave a possible glimpse into the future.
That being said, Collins has failed to accomplish the most important part of being a head coach.
He has failed to establish a team identity.
The key factor in establishing an identity lies in consistency. How consistent a team can be with what they are doing dictates what kind of identity that team ends up taking on and how strong it ultimately becomes.
It appeared as though this year's team would maintain the same defensive prowess that last year's squad possessed, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Philadelphia has been nothing better than mediocre this season as they are allowing 97.2 points per game. Good enough for 16th in the NBA.
Defense is really the start of Philadelphia's problems and most of them have to go back to Collins as the head coach. Sure, he doesn't have control over injuries or players being unavailable to play, but that's something that every coach needs to go through.
The head coach is responsible for getting the most out of his team, and it doesn't look like he's doing that right now.
A midseason firing is out of the question, but his tenure as the Philadelphia 76ers head coach needs to seriously be called into question at the end of the season if they end up missing the postseason.
Bring in Another Star
If the organization ultimately has a goal to win a championship, then they'll most likely need to bring in another star to pair up with Jrue Holiday.
Nearly every NBA Champion has two if not three stars on their roster.
As of right now, the Sixers have one.
Yes, Holiday should be considered as a star moving forward because of his ridiculous production, even through a rough season. In fact, maybe Philadelphia's management needs to look into getting a Holiday a back specialist because his back must be sore from how he's carrying the team right now.
Bynum was supposed to be that great star, but it looks as though that might not pan out.
Evan Turner has displayed flashes of star power, but nothing has grown into the full thing yet. Relying on Turner to become Philly's next star isn't too smart and needs to be approached with caution.
After those two guys, the Sixers are still left with one star. This means that either picking up a great free agent or completing a wild trade to bring in a big name would be necessary.
Both aren't easy to do, but if a championship-caliber team is on the line, then all options need to be looked at.
Work on Some Draft-Day Magic
If bringing in another star doesn't work, then it's on to the NBA draft.
Every year a team is rewarded by being the lone squad to take a shot at someone that other teams didn't want. Philadelphia was actually one of those teams not too long ago.
Drafting Jrue Holiday with the 17th pick in the first round of the 2009 draft doesn't seem like quite a steal, but it was when four point guards went before Holiday. It's unclear on who will end up having the best career from that draft class, however, it is clear that Philly "won" with that selection.
At first glance this year's draft class isn't a particularly strong one. Still though, that might end up working in Philadelphia's favor. If they are able to scout in a unique way, then there could be an opportunity to steal an eventual All-Star.
The Sixers traded their first-round pick to the Miami Heat, but it's a Top-14 protected pick. That means that if Philadelphia is one of the bottom 14 teams, then the pick goes back to the Sixers and all is well.
Maybe magic can strike twice for a struggling Philadelphia team.
Find Some Way to Bring More Fans into the Seats
If you ask people what city in the United States has the roughest fans, then it wouldn't be surprising to hear the majority of people say that Philadelphia does. These are the fans that don't care about anything but getting the win, and they'll do and say whatever it takes to get there.
Unfortunately, these same fans are not the ones going to Sixers games.
Philly only fills up 79.8 percent of their stadium at home games, making them the No. 23rd ranked team in that category. There's just no point in having fans that are known for being crazy sit at home when they could be at a Sixers game.
Philadelphia's management needs to come up with clever ways to draw more of a crowd, or else Philly is missing out on having a distinct home-court advantage.
What's the best way to draw people, though? To win games.
Maybe they should focus on that first.