Mistakes happen. We sleep in a little too late or we forget to do a project. But for us, mistakes are simply, just that – mistakes. For the thirty NBA teams, mistakes cost them, potentially, tens of millions of dollars, a playoff appearance, or even a championship. They have been riddled throughout history. It can be draft picks (Blazers fans know what this is like), it can be free agency (can I get an amen from Knicks fans?), or it can be virtually anything else (in the case of the Kings, EVERYTHING ELSE). Thus, we present the worst mistakes from each NBA team over the past ten years.
The Philadelphia 76ers Biggest Mistake in the Past Ten Years
Welcome to 2014 NBA Draft night. The Philadelphia 76ers are set to pick 3rd overall. During the 2013 draft, they made a trade to acquire center Nerlens Noel. The 76ers are still very much a rebuilding team. In part one of their biggest mistake of the past decade, the 76ers selected center Joel Embiid with the third overall pick. Two years later, Embiid has still yet to play in an NBA game. The addition of Embiid brings another center to the team, which isn’t that big of a mistake, as Noel can play power forward as well. The 76ers again have the third overall pick in 2014, and again take another center — Jahlil Okafor. Now, a rebuilding team has three centers taken with three lottery picks. That is not a recipe for success in the NBA. Now, in 2016, Noel is a solid power forward for Philadelphia and Okafor is the starting center, but what do the 76ers do when Embiid is healthy again? Here lies the mistake.
What Could’ve Been
With Noel already starting for the Sixers as an average or above average center, Philadelphia could’ve focused on a different position in the 2014 draft. Rather than Embiid, the 76ers could’ve taken power forward Aaron Gordon, who was actually taken one pick after Embiid. Then, in 2015, with both big men spots locked down, Philadelphia could’ve passed on Okafor and taken point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Now, with the addition of Ben Simmons, the Sixers would have had an up-and-coming young core that could take over the NBA in the years to come.
The Lineup That Could’ve Been
That lineup would’ve been scary in a few years, and it would’ve set up Philadelphia as a contender to make the playoffs already. Instead, the 76ers have to use this lineup.
PG: Jerryd Bayless
SG: Robert Covington
SF: Ben Simmons
PF: Nerlens Noel
C: Jahlil Okafor
6th man: Joel Embiid
That current lineup is a good two years away from where the “lineup that could’ve been” is. The 76ers could’ve had the latter lineup, if they only they hadn’t drafted so many centers. With the current lineup, the Sixers are in for another long season.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Sports basketball department to see the other 29 NBA teams’ biggest mistakes in the past ten years.