What the Thunder can Learn From the Sixers Rebuild

Undertaking a rebuild of their own, Oklahoma City perhaps has the most to learn from the Philadelphia 76ers star-yielding rebuild.
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If there’s one shining rebuild Oklahoma City can hope to replicate, it’s the Philadelphia 76ers’, famously deemed “The Process.”

Following a failed season with Jrue Holiday at the helm, Philadelphia embarked on a complete roster overhaul.

New general manager Sam Hinkie’s first move included nabbing Nerlens Noel, then a highly touted draftee, and a 1st round pick for Holiday. He then selected Michael Carter-Williams, who with a weakened roster, earned 2014 Rookie of the Year.

Hinkie continued worsening the teams talent in order to gain draft leverage. In Presti-like fashion, he traded three veteran players for six 2nd round picks.

The first hit for Hinkie came in the 2014 Draft, when he nabbed eventual MVP candidate Joel Embiid, and received Dario Saric and two picks in a trade.

Philadelphia center Joel E

Philadelphia center Joel E

The next year, Hinkie grabbed Jhalil Okafor with the 3rd overall pick and promptly retired following the season, leaving behind a slew of prospect and assets.

Jerry Colangelo assumed a management role following an infamous 10-72 season, and promoted his son, Bryan, to GM. With the first overall pick, the Sixers selected playmaker and defensive stalwart Ben Simmons.

In the 2017 Draft, Philadelphia again obtained the No. 1 pick, choosing Markell Fultz, who would eventually be traded after an unconventional stay with the team.

Fast-forwarding several years past plenty of junk and player swapping, the current Sixers have the MVP and DPOY runner-ups, a solid core of role players, and are three wins away from an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

There’s one main focal point for OKC to pull from.

Philadelphia hit on less than 50 percent of their first round draft picks and still compiled a contending team. Had any or all of Okafor, Fultz or sixth overall pick Noel panned out, we could be looking at the middle of a long stretch of championships for Philly.

Oklahoma City could find itself in a similar stretch very soon, and should it finish with a higher success rate in the draft than the Sixers, could find itself in championship reach sooner than expected.