Sixers owner: Season a success

ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Posted: April 20, 2014

Say what you will about the 76ers finishing with the NBA's second-worst record.

"I think this season has been a huge success for us," Sixers managing owner Josh Harris said during Friday's season-ending news conference. "Obviously, I don't like to lose. In terms of having to live through a losing season, it's tough."

But the success comes from the tanking franchise meeting all of its goals.

The Sixers (19-63) wanted to sacrifice wins in order to secure a top pick in June's NBA draft. Due to finishing with the league's second-worst record, they have a 19.9 percent chance of winning the draft lottery. The pick is guaranteed to be within the top five.

Harris also mentioned that the Sixers will also receive another lottery pick from New Orleans Pelicans, who finished with the 10th worst record. They also secured a lot of cap space to attract free agents and acquire assets. And the Sixers have also developed point guard Michael Carter-Williams into the rookie-of-the-year frontrunner. The 11th overall pick out of Syracuse earned his fourth Eastern Conference rookie of the month honor on Friday.

"I want this team competing for the championship," Harris said, "and that's kind of what we are trying to do.

"But obviously to get to that point where you are an elite team over a long period of time, there's no shortcuts. So we came into this season, knowing that it would be a long season and that we would be put in building blocks in place."

The billionaire, who also owns the New Jersey Devils, admitted his team's 26-game losing streak that matched the record for consecutive losses by a U.S. pro team was hard to bear.

The New York resident said he has thrown objects, turned off the television during games and even tried to ignore the losing streak.

"Emotionally, it was very hard to difficult," Harris said. "I don't like to lose. I don't like to live through a season like this. It's not fun. It's not why I bought the team. So it's very hard emotionally."

Nor did he buy the team to finish with 41-41 records or lose in the first round of the playoffs. That's how the Sixers cleaned house after finishing 34-48 and failing to reach the postseason during the 2012-13 campaign.

Their goal was to rebuild through what is regarded as a deep draft in June.

"We want this city to be proud of the Sixers," he said. "We want this to be an elite team that is competing year-in and year-out for a championship. And we said, it's a long road without a rebuilding process. That's what led us to the current process."

Harris realizes this process has been tough for everyone involved, especially the fans. That's why he commended the fans for sticking with the team for what could be a three- to five-year rebuilding process.

"So far, I think they believe the decisions we are making are sound and thoughtful even though we are yielding a difficult process in the interim," Harris said.

Though he didn't name them, Harris said there are multiple sites the Sixers are looking at to build a practice facility.

"Hopefully, I expect to announce something this summer," he said. "Like everything else we do, we are trying to do it the right way for the long run."

Harris said that building the practice facility at the Naval Yard is still a possibility.

Once the site is announced, he believes it's going to take a couple of years to put the structure up.

"So if you think about that, it will probably open for the third season from now," Harris said.


kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

www.inquirer.com/deepsixer

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|