Joel Embiid puts aside rivalry with Karl-Anthony Towns to share message of support


On May 10, 2012, Andre Iguodala stood on the scorer’s table at the Wells Fargo Center, celebrating the Sixers’ spectacular victory in their first game against the Bulls, the franchise’s first playoff victory since 2003.

Three months later, he was a Denver Nugget.

Game 6, which will be rebroadcast Wednesday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia, is memorable in itself, a low-scoring thriller. The Sixers’ season ended with a game 7 loss to Boston, concluding a streak presented later in Uncut gems. The character of Adam Sandler, a desperate jeweler / player by the name of Howard Ratner, encourages Kevin Garnett to “step on Elton Brand’s fucking neck”.

There are no films to our knowledge yet on the trade that sent Iguodala to the Nuggets and brought Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, but it is an agreement that calls for reconsideration. In the four-team, 12-player trade, the Sixers received Bynum and Jason Richardson, and they abandoned Iguodala, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and a protected first-round pick.

The most obvious conclusion from the trade is that the impact was, at first glance, disastrous. Bynum never played a game with the Sixers due to injuries, including a bowel-induced backhand. Richardson has only played in 52 games. Harkless, now in his eighth season, is a solid NBA player. Vucevic was an All-Star last season with the Magic and has averaged 17 points and 10.7 rebounds since leaving the Sixers. Iguodala has won three championships with the Warriors and won an MVP Finals award.

The failure of trade also accelerated the start of “The Process”. With Bynum out, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen started in the center. Kwame Brown even started 11 games in his last NBA season. The team finished 34-48 and missed the playoffs, and Doug Collins resigned from his position as head coach. Sam Hinkie took over in May, trading Jrue Holiday the night of the draft in exchange for Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans’ first round pick in 2014. He hired Brett Brown in August.

If the Sixers had never traded against Bynum, they likely would have been a playoff team in the 2012-13 season, even after Lou Williams – their top scorer in 2011-12 – signed with the Hawks. Iguodala was coming out of a star year, while a Harkless rookie would probably have had a good shot taking minutes from players like Dorell Wright and Nick Young. Collins removed Vucevic from his playoff rotation the previous year, but it seems very likely that his opinion of the big man has changed.

“How many teams can drop Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nik Vucevic and have nothing to go back to play for?” Asked Collins after a February loss to Orlando. “It’s hard to overcome, right? It’s just the facts. … Nik Vucevic had 19 rebounds tonight. Spencer had one. I think Lavoy had two. ”

Allen had four rebounds that night, but that’s obviously missing the point.

Collins is said to have coached a team in the hopes of racing. Although the Sixers were lucky in their first round streak against Chicago the year before, the Bulls having been injured by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, their aspirations would not have been completely delusional. Any idea of ​​winning the Eastern Conference or pushing for an NBA title would have been absurd – the Sixers weren’t going to win a streak against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat. But, at the bare minimum, they would have been a cut or two above mediocre. They could easily have convinced themselves that it was not necessary to do anything drastic, that they were on the right track.

The team traded for Bynum instead, and Hinkie came without worrying about immediate and conventional respectability. He has accumulated assets, played odds and given himself the chance to select players like Joel Embiid. His approach discouraged many fans who disliked watching NBA marginal players establish historic defeat streaks.

Without the Bynum trade, the Sixers would probably never have considered this route, and they would probably have stayed the course on a different and more traditional process built around Igoudala, Holiday and Vucevic. It would have been so much easier to justify passing a few steps under the title, remembering the night Iguodala jumped on the table and hoping it was not a fluke.

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