The line between tanking and rebuilding continues to look
Jalen Rose and Avery Johnson, NBA analysts for ESPN,
broached the topic Tuesday – ironically – on a conference call with reporters
in advance of the the third of four regular-season meetings between Eastern Conference
titans Miami and Indiana.
Rose, left, believes what the 76ers are doing is tanking.
Johnson, right, said the Sixers are doing nothing more than rebuilding.
“You know how bad you have to be to lose 25 in a row?”
Johnson defended the Sixers (15-56), who finish a
three-game roadtrip Thursday at Houston, saying so many seasons of
middle-of-the-road basketball had reached its apex.
“I just think there was really nowhere for this franchise
to go,” Johnson said, “…and they made a decision to move assets and play with a
lot of young players and get as far under the salary cap as they possibly can
and just continue to develop and nurture Michael Carter-Williams, and I think
that was a really terrific decision.”
That being said, Johnson admitted that there are no
guarantees for success, given the path the Sixers have chosen.
“But they at least have set themselves up to have the
best chance,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely about trying to get to the
playoffs and being a perennial playoff team with a chance to win the
championship. So I would like to call it rebuilding.”
Rose begs to differ. He sees the Sixers’ efforts this
season, which include shuffling D-League players in and out, trading away their
best players, and trimming their payroll, as a means of losing intentionally.
“They play a game this Thursday night and there are going
to be people that actually are paying to watch that game – whether it’s on
cable, whether in person. That’s bad for the league,” Rose said. “So many empty
seats, (so many) games that are meaningless on the schedule. If you’re a 76ers
fan, obviously you understand what they’re doing. They may be able to turn
around their fortunes really fast.
“For the paying customer, yes, it should be deemed as
tanking because you want to see good basketball game this Thursday. But if you’re
looking for an outlook as a Sixers fan, I could say they are possibly trending
Labels: Avery Johnson, ESPN, Jalen Rose, Michael Carter-Williams, tanking