(CBSPhilly)– It’s hard to explain how crazy the last several years have been for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Here are just a few things: former general manager Sam Hinkie started The Process, the team drafted Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, traded for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, lost to the Raptors on a game winning shot in the playoffs, had a GM fired because of Twitter, and traded their former #1 overall pick in Markelle Fultz.
Bleacher Report NBA writer and author Yaron Weitzman documents all of these stories and more in his new book about the 76ers called “Tanking To The Top.” While the team and Hinkie didn’t participate in the book, Weitzman details several fascinating details and stories about the team and The Process.
“To understand why the Sixers and some fans had an appetite for this sort of rebuild, you have to understand how we got there,” said Weitzman in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “There were those purgatory years where they were not good enough to compete and not bad enough to get a good draft pick. Sam Hinkie is unique and that word is usually misused, but he is literally one of a kind. He’s a former Oklahoma high school star that ended up preaching Silicon Valley ethos.”
In addition to writing about what makes Hinkie tick, Weitzman tells several stories about Sixers head coach Brett Brown revolving around his relationships with former players like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.
“He’s had to deal with more shenanigans than maybe any head coach ever,” said Weitzman. “The list of things starting with The Process. Teams have tanked before, but not this way and with the noise that surrounded it. Then there’s Joel Embiid missing two years and Jahlil Okafor and then we get weirder with Markelle Fultz stuff. Then we get even weirder with Bryan Colangelo and Burnergate and Jimmy Butler. The coaches who come in for the development stage rarely make it out. I do think he’s made mistakes, especially early on that hurt their franchise for the long term. It’s a discipline thing and it’s not all fair to put on the coach. Nerlens Noel showed up late and held up the team plane and that was sort of the original sin.”
While it is unclear if there will be a return to the NBA season in 2020, Weitzman says there are several intriguing questions about the Sixers future once basketball resumes.
“As a basketball fan, I was frustrated by the moves this past summer,” said Weitzman. “Clearly the Sixers were wrong. Al Horford is not a good fit and you need shooters. You can argue about the Simmons and Embiid fit all you want. There’s nobody that can say those two are a good match. They have to surround those two guys with the proper players. Everything else, despite it all they have those two guys and you have a shot. I’m curious to see how they go about fixing this. If the playoffs started now, they are not going to win three rounds.”
“Tanking To The Top: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Process in the History of Professional Sports” is available now.