Philadelphia trusted the process and it worked

The Philadelphia 76’ers lost to the Boston Celtics, 114-112, in Game 5 in the second round of the playoffs. With their win, the Celtics are off to the Eastern Conference finals to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. With their loss, the 76’ers are one of the most exciting new teams in the NBA.

Here’s the 76’ers season record:

2017-18
52-30, placing 3rd in NBA Eastern Conference

 

And, here are records for the prior two seasons:

2016-17
28-54, finished 14th in NBA Eastern Conference

2015-16
10-72, finished 15th in NBA Eastern Conference

 

The improvement is stunning, and speaks to the power of tanking and the trend toward using data to solve problems.

Tanking is a strategy in which a team performs so badly it is awarded higher draft status and therefore has the ability to choose the best new players. In order to improve, the 76ers intentionally became one of the worst teams in history. In three years, it paid off.

In 2013, the 76ers hired analytics-guru Sam Hinkie as their general manager in 2013 who put the process into place.

In April 2016, Hinkie stepped down, probably forced out by nervous owners.

But by 2018, Hinkie seems to have been proven right.

Click here to read the ESPN article.


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