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Sep 09 2014

George Karl Goes Off on Sixers’ Rebuild

ESPN’s “Front Office” panel—featuring Tom Penn, Chad Ford, George Karl, Amin Elhassan and Kevin Pelton—took a deep dive in looking at the Sixers’ rebuild on Tuesday, and well, the outlook wasn’t exactly rosy.

Only two of the five—Elhassan and Pelton—expressed any sort of optimism regarding the Sixers’ long-term future, while Penn, Ford and Karl suggested Sam Hinkie’s grand plans had started to spring some holes.

To no one’s surprise, the most emphatic in his disapproval was Karl.

Via ESPN:

What is happening in Philadelphia should not be called ‘tanking’; rather, it should be called ‘destruction.’ The Sixers are at least three to five years away from even being a respectful — respectful — NBA roster. They are worse than they were at the end of last year. Three of the five starters barely played last season. I understand building around talent, but people have to understand that sometimes young players just don’t develop. You put all your eggs in that basket, but if the kids don’t pan out, you’re sunk.

[…]

I think this roster has such a low level of talent they’ll be hard-pressed to win an NBA game. To put this team through another season of turmoil will be devastating. What is being built in Philadelphia is not the development of young players, but instead a culture of losing.

So, there’s that.

Frankly, Penn and Ford raised valid concerns about the Sixers’ long-term plan. Penn questioned whether MCW, Embiid, Noel and Saric represent “true NBA greatness,” while Ford noted that the 2015 draft—in which the Sixers are likely to have another high lottery pick—”isn’t nearly as good as last year’s” and “is loaded with bigs at the top—the one thing Philly doesn’t need.” Hinkie could always trade down later in the lottery—four of the top 10 players on Ford’s 2015 Big Board are all small forwards, which is one of the team’s greatest needs at the moment—but again, these aren’t points to gloss over. They’re legitimate questions about the process.

Karl, on the other hand… well, the only thing I can think of after reading that diatribe is this:

Philly isn’t going to contend this coming season, but to say “they’ll be hard-pressed to win an NBA game” is beyond hyperbole. If the Sixers had all of their long-term salary-cap space tied up in this roster, the skepticism from the former Denver Nuggets’ coach would be warranted. However, they only have about $18.7 million on the books for the 2015-16 season, nearly $14.1 million of which is non-guaranteed (per Spotrac.com). Add a likely top-10 pick, Miami’s first-rounder (which will likely fall in the late-teens/early-20s) and $45-plus million in cap space, and the Sixers will soon be in excellent position to add talent through trades and free agency. These are points that any CBA/cap-conscious analyst would consider.

But Karl, the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history, is looking at the Sixers solely at the short-term; how do I mold these players into a title contender? It’s a narrow-sighted view of the Sixers that’s antithetical to the process that Hinkie and Brett Brown have been preaching.

  • robbybonfire23

    I thought George Karl became ill and died, years ago. Now I know it’s true.

    • hk99

      That’s funny, robby. You know, reading George Karl’s comment makes me long for the days of Doug Collins running the likes of Jason Richardson, Damien Wilkins, Nick Young and Kwame Brown out on the court in an effort to turn a 30-win team into a 32-win team. Actually, no it doesn’t. Also, someone should tell George that his misuse of the word respectful means that he criticized the upbringing, not the talent, of the players on the roster. And, don’t get me started on Chad Ford….

      • robbybonfire23

        HK –

        I heard Karl was “terminal.” Turned out he was merely “brain dead.”

  • robbybonfire23

    “Sixth winingest coach in NBA history,” just behind Ben Franklin, Thadeus Stevens, John Adams, Daniel Webster and Betsy Ross for longevity.

  • Kevin

    George Karl’s responses about the 76ers are eerily similar to the ramblings of some of the Miss USA competitors. One thing is for sure, every time he talks we’ll get one heck of a laugh.

  • John

    I from the start disagreed with how the gm is running things. it wont work. I been a sixer fan all my life and for the first time, this season Im gonna be a nba fan not a Sixer fan until the gm is gone. You don’t build for the future. The next day not promised. Your job as a gm, is to PUT THE MOST COMPETITIVE TEAM ON THE COURT. YOU MAKE TRADES, YOU PERSUADE FREE AGENTS TO COME HERE. YOU DONT DRAFT A GUY THAT WONT PLAY THE NEXT SEASON. THATS FREAKING DUMB AS HELL. HECK COACH BROWN WAS HIRED WAY TO LATE IN THE PROCESS. SOON AS COLLINS WAS GONE, MY FIRST PRIORITY WOULD BE HIRE A COACH BEFORE THE DRAFT. THE TEAM NEEDS AN IDENTITY. YOU DRAFT FOR THAT IDENTITY. AS A SIXER FAN I AM TOTALLY HURT, DISSAPOINTED AND ANGRY AT HOW THE FRONT OFFICE IS WORKING. WIN NOW, TODAY, THE FUTURE IS NOT PROMISED.

    • Kevin

      There are 3 problems with the 76ers keeping the team they had and trying to improve via trade and Free Agency.

      #1. They had no real cap space and therefore had no money to land a player that would be able to make a significant impact

      #2. They had no trade assets. Their biggest asset was Iguodala and the only thing he could fetch was an injured Andrew Bynum. Not to mention the fact that Vucevic and Harkless had to be shipped with him to even make that happen.

      3. No Free Agent in the NBA is rushing to come to Philly as a FA. There are only a few cities in the NBA that players rush towards no matter what. Outside of that, valuable players go where they think they can win championships. Philly was not that by any means.

      At the end of the day, this team is in much better shape than it was when Hinkie took over. The team finally has some young talent and also has some assets, both in that young talent and the draft picks they still have. They also have more Cap Space than any other team in the NBA, so as the team shows signs of progress and moving in the right direction, they will be able to lure a nice player into the fold as well. The Thunder built from the ground up. The Spurs built from the ground up. The Bulls built from the ground up, and the Cavs used the assets they acquired through the draft to build the team they have now. I think the 76ers are doing the right thing. It is more a matter of whether or not Hinkie is acquiring the right players. Only time will tell.

      • robbybonfire23

        Thanks, Kevin, I think even Sam Hinkie would be impressed with the depth and the scope, as well as with the historical foundation of your observations.

    • robbybonfire23

      This is an interesting discussion, John. I am also a hockey fan, and the G.M. of the team, the New York Rangers, is the opposite of our NBA G.M. here in Philly.

      Glen Sather purposely blocks the advancement of Rangers young system players, by bringing in Free Agency trash, every summer. This summer he went way over the top to bring in some of the oldest and slowest, and dumbest and just plain lowest-ability sludge he has ever wasted money on.

      Maybe, John, there is a happy medium, or “golden mean” here, because if you are suggesting that extremes don’t work, I am going to agree with you. At least here in Philly, the day WILL come when we have a really power-house championship contender.

      By the way, if I am right where the Rangers prospects are concerned, this season, look for them to be no more than a fringe playoff team, or not even make the post-season lineup, which is my prediction.

    • Lee Washington

      So he should have planned to be mediocre ????
      That’s what 3 quarters of the league does….
      PLUS<<< Trade who for who ?? What did he have that would have fetched anyone of value ?? Hawes ?? Turner ??
      Sign what free agents,, Lebron and Mello ??
      Enjoy being an NBA fan,, see ya in 2015-16 ,,you will be welcomed back,,,
      But you must make a public apology first…. LOL

  • John

    I WONDER IF BYNUM HAD WORKED OUT, WOULD ALL THIS BE HAPPENING?

    • robbybonfire23

      Bynum, John, was known to be damaged goods. You put his exorbitant price tag plus his negative attitude and slovenly work ethic on top of that, well, it was a slam dunk to see the outcome of getting involved with him, before the fact.

      That the previous G.M. dumped young talent to bring in a total wash-out, as Bynum was, is a travesty we just have to live with. At least now, it appears, we are turning the corner and the future looks bright.

  • John

    AS MAD AS I AM, I STILL WILL FOLLOW THE SIXERS. EVERY PHILLY TEAM IS CONNECTED TO MY HEART.

    • robbybonfire23

      Mad about what, John?

  • Damon Zippo

    the best we could have been was a 1st round playoff team maybe , going for greatness with in the rules is the smart thing to do . tell karl when he can finally win one then give your expert opinion , till then pipe down

  • Lee Washington

    Dear George,,,
    This started at the end of the Bynum debacle,,the Hiroshima for the organization..
    The Swaggy One,, Dorell Wright,, D Wilkins,, Justin Holiday,,Jeremy Pargo,,( i’m not finished naming
    pure unadulterated bums),,Royal Ivey,, Charles Jenkens , Malak wayans and Shelven Mack were all MERCIFULLY
    free agents…Which should he have resigned ?? That left ET,, Hawes,, Moultrie,, Lavoy and Thad,,AND ( his one and only chip) Jrue,,,,, Hinkie inherited this ,,
    What was he to do ?? Go after Lebron,,?? Sign “middling” free agents (OOPPSS, They just tried that).
    No ,, The only logical thing to do was to rebuild,,, You say that he tanked ,, I say that he jettisoned junk.
    WHO SHOULD HE HAVE RESIGNED from that bunch,, ET ?? Hawes ?? ( who’s current contract is basically a byproduct
    of being tall),,,.. Thad could play but he wanted out,, bad timing ,, happens in this world,,
    So what did he do,, He turned Jrue into the presumed first pick in the draft (pre injury) and the rookie of the year…
    He backed that up with THIS years easily “presumed” ( that is polite speak for ,, every damn body know this) first pick
    and the best player in Europe.. OHH,, hold on,, he has maneuvered himself into a probable top 5 pick this year and another mid first rounder.
    You take that bunch of bums and mourn for them,,, I’ve got a bunch of young talented high draft picks and if most of them reach their
    enormous potential ( which I believe will happen) we will compete for championships for years….Either way it will be much better than watching Hawes and ET attempt to play basketball… Remember Kwame Brown ???