Sixers

Sixers

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The Philadelphia 76ers sat on their couches and watched the Denver Nuggets defeat the Miami Heat in the 2023 NBA Finals.

When another city gets to enjoy a championship, Philadelphia fans inevitably turn the conversation to how the local team should emulate the recently-crowned champs.

Bob Cooney put a different spin on the topic during the Cooney’s Corner segment on The John Kincade Show.

“We’re always talking about: how do you build this Sixers team? You want Harden, (or) you don’t want Harden. You need shooters, (or) you don’t need shooters. You need guys that can beat you off the dribble. Whatever it may be, I don’t know what the recipe is anymore.” -Bob Cooney

NBA teams and essentially all professional sports franchises should look for a blueprint based on previously successful teams. However, the concept isn’t always as simple as it seems.

The Sixers trudged through “The Process,” the most infamous rebuild in the history of North American professional sports, largely based on the idea that no NBA team could win without acquiring multiple superstars.

Recent NBA history, however, shows more variations of championship blueprints than the general consensus has given credit for at many points.

It’s been a decade since Sam Hinkie dealt Jrue Holiday to kick off “The Process” at the 2013 NBA Draft, but Sixers fans haven’t tasted the glory they hoped would follow a long period of deliberate tanking.

They’ve watched the Heat in the era of LeBron James and the “Big Three” pass by. They’ve watched the Golden State Warriors assemble an overwhelming roster (logically) thinking they were the best model to emulate.

However, they’ve now seen nine different franchises win the past 13 titles. Even the Golden State dynasty of four championships in eight years allowed four teams to win rings in the meantime.

What’s the real blueprint for a team to win the NBA Finals?

  • The Miami "Big Three" and the Golden State Warriors Dynasty

    The copy cat style of the NBA played a big part in setting “The Process” in motion. Miami assembled James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh to win two championships and advance to four NBA Finals from 2011-14.

    The stacked Warriors teams continued the narrative that only an All-Star level team would ever win the NBA Finals.

    “You got Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, (and) Steph Curry. Boom, you’re going to win championships.” -Cooney

    The Sixers aimed to assemble superstars with top-three picks in four straight drafts from 2014-17. Unfortunately, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz unceremoniously exited the picture as key pieces of the organization.

    It’s been difficult for the Sixers to recover and surround Joel Embiid with unmistakable superstar talent.

     

  • Denver Nuggets- 2023 NBA Champions

    “In (Jamal) Murray and obviously (Nikola) Jokic, you have a star and a superstar…but basically, it’s a team of good players all around that know how to play a game.” -Cooney

    Jokic is hard to replicate. You’ll hear the conversations about how the league isn’t dominated by 7-footers anymore, but the Serbian is able to impact the game in as many different ways as any player in NBA history.

    Will Joel Embiid ever reach the level of Nikola Jokic and finally give Philadelphia its first ring since 1983?

  • Recent Eastern Conference Champions

    The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics have advanced out of the Eastern Conference in three of the past four seasons.

    “I don’t know where we are now as far as how to win a championship. You have teams like the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics representing the Eastern Conference over the last couple years. I can’t really definitively say what brand of basketball they are (playing).” -Bob Cooney

    The subjective idea of “Heat culture” under Erik Spoelstra became a topic of conversation throughout the playoffs, but the Sixers (or any other NBA team) won’t build on the idea of developing seven undrafted free agents to fill out a roster surrounding Jimmy Butler or a player like him.

    They’d have as good of a chance of plucking a supporting cast of talent from Connor Thomas’ men’s league.

    “Jimmy Butler’s a really good player. I’m sorry. He’s not carrying anybody to an NBA championship.” -Cooney

    The Celtics pulled the rug out from under the Sixers in an infamous trade ahead of the 2017 NBA Draft.

    However, they don’t necessarily have the elite talent on the level of LeBron James or Steph Curry during their prime years.

    Does anyone consider Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown top-five players in the league?

  • Ask "Pop" That Question

    The San Antonio Spurs have been arguably the best organization in the league during the modern era with five championships since 1999. 

    “Back in the day, San Antonio changed up their offense in so many different ways but still had superstars in (David) Robinson and (Tony) Parker and (Manu) Ginobli and learned how to play and then had to sprinkle players here and there.” -Cooney

    The coaching of Gregg Popovich became big part of their ability to maintain their spot at the top of the league through their most recent championship in 2014.

    NBA teams are recycling coaches at incredible rates in recent seasons.

    While Nick Nurse brings a good pedigree to the sideline in Philadelphia, you won’t find too many people arguing that coaching has been the primary weakness of the Sixers in their six consecutive playoff exits.

     

  • What Can the 76ers learn?

    John spoke about how the blueprints might apply in Philadelphia.

    “Is anybody going to try to emulate the way the Sixers are trying?” -John Kincade

    James Harden will turn 34 before the 2023-24 season begins, and Joel Embiid is now 29 in the prime years of his career without enough team success to celebrate.

    “I think you could take a step back from the production of James Harden and be a better basketball team.” -Kincade

    His analysis of the Sixers only proved Bob’s point that there is no “definitive diagram” for Daryl Morey to work with.

  • What Does It All Mean?

    So, how do you build an NBA champion?

    “It seemed so much more defined through the 2000s, and now that we’ve gotten to the 2020s, I don’t know that it is.” -Bob Cooney

    Enjoy The John Kincade Show streaming live on YouTube weekday mornings from 6am-10am.

     

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