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No franchise in the NBA has been more aggressive in its makeover than the 76ers, who apparently have no interest in fielding a competitive roster this season. That isn't necessarily a slight; with the decision to start fresh comes an opportunity to develop a pair of intriguing lottery picks (Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams) and a sharp, first-time head coach (former Spurs assistant Brett Brown), all while angling for more high draft choices next summer. With a few breaks it could well be a winning strategy, and in the meantime Philly can focus on player development and asset management.
In regard to the latter, the most interesting piece on the roster is Thaddeus Young, a 25-year-old forward who, despite being the Sixers' best player, has even greater value as a trade chip. An undersized power forward (6'8", 230 pounds), Young is both an intuitive defender and a versatile scorer who works hard and takes an intelligent approach. He could be of use to potential playoff teams as a starter or a sixth man, and since his contract is on the books through 2014--15, GM Sam Hinkie will not feel rushed to make a deal.
It speaks volumes about the state of the Sixers that it makes sense for them to unload a young, talented, energetic and relatively inexpensive player who could fit into any system. But as good as Young could be as a building block, he's more valuable as a rebuilding chip.
COACH BRETT BROWN (1ST SEASON WITH 76ERS)
2012--13 RECORD: 34--48 (4TH IN ATLANTIC)
WHAT'S NEW The rookie coach will rebuild with a pair of lottery picks, C Nerlens Noel and PG Michael Carter-Williams.
PROJECTED LINEUP (2012--13 STATS)