Process, it’s a phrase that will bring feelings of joy or an angry scowl to one’s face. Everyone in Philadelphia has a different belief on the process the 76ers embarked upon in 2013. However, the process I am referring to is the one that began post Collargate. What’s Collargate? A situation so bizarre and so out of this world that you would need to truly dive into the heart of the situation before you can fully understand how we got to where we are today. Enter Bryan Colangelo, son of the great USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo, who was brought in to turn the team around after the ousting of Sam Hinkie. The man with a plan, no longer had the support of upper management and was cast into the shadows. Bryan Colangelo, was at the time of his hire, a former executive of the year. He was brought in with the hopes that his reputation and connections within the league would help a team that had gone 47–195 under Sam Hinkie. What actually happened during the Colangelo Era? During his 2.5 seasons as general manager the Philadelphia 76ers went 89-135, with a 5-5 playoff record during his time in Philly.
What type of moves were made with Colangelo as general manager? Head scratching ones. He overpaid for the likes of Amir Johnson, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson and J.J. Redick. Though in all fairness, the acquisition of Redick was a solid one that helped take pressure off the Sixers young stars with his stellar 3 point shooting and spacing of the floor. You could argue for or against his free agent acquisitions but his achilles heel was that of his drafting and trades. In his 2.5 years as general manager he ended up squandering much of the assets he had acquired from former general manager Sam Hinkie. He traded away players such as Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, and Jerami Grant. He gave away Noel in a head scratching trade for Andrew Bogut who was waived and signed with the Cavs, a protected first rounder *it became a 2017 and 2020 second rounder*, and Justin Anderson, who is currently in the G League.
He wasted a chance of getting a first round pick for Jahlil Okafor due to his greed over the protection and all he could muster was a trade for Trevor Booker who played 2 months for the Sixers and retired in 2018. The team also had to trade them a second rounder and Nik Stauskas. The Grant trade, is an anger ridden one due to the fact that it took place in two folds. We ended up giving away Jerami Grant, who while was a decent defender and an average shooter while in Philly, ended up blossoming into a decent starter and above average sniper in Oklahoma City and Denver, shooting 36 percent from 3. Ersan İlyasova was picked up by the Hawks in the offseason despite a semi successful run in Philadelphia. He was later brought back as waiver wire deal and traded for a second round pick and former Spurs player Tiago Splitter. Splitter only 8 games for the Sixers).
How was his Drafting ? You ever see the movie Along Came Polly? You remember Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character playing basketball? MAKE IT RAIN! He’d shout as he shoots brick after brick, in a nutshell that was Lying Bryan as a drafter. In his 3 drafts as general manager his only hit was Ben Simmons. Now I know you would say well Ben’s a 2 time all star and rookie of the year! That he is and he was also the consensus number 1 overall pick and scouted heavily by Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown. Brett and Ben’s family had a long history together so it made the choice to draft him all the much easier. The rest of his draft history? Not pretty. In 2016 he drafted Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot aka TLC with the 24th pick. He’s currently on his 4th team since being traded by the Sixers. Furkan Korkmaz who was selected with the 26th pick is a coin flip, on the one hand he’s been up and down in his 3 seasons in the NBA. On the other, current Sixers general manager, Elton Brand brought him back on a cheaper contract and he is starting to put it together. Now the fun begins.
The 2017 draft, where things truly began to turn sour. After the Sixers were able to to land the number 3 overall pick thanks to a pick swap with the Sacramento Kings, The Big Collar went for the Home Run. He traded the number 3 overall pick (Jayson Tatum), and what would turn into the 2019 Sacramento Kings first round pick (Romeo Langford) for the number one overall pick which was used to select Markelle Fultz. Jayson Tatum is an all Star, while Markelle Fultz was traded to the Magic after 2 years in Philadelphia in exchange for Jonathon Simmons and a protected first round pick. If that wasn’t bad enough The Big Collar also traded away a protected 2020 First rounder (it came along with the Ersan Trade) in exchange for the draft rights to Anžejs Pasečņiks. The Sixers would surrender his rights 2 seasons later and he would end up signing with the Washington Wizards. He also drafted Mathias Lessort who’s draft rights were traded to the Clippers in 2019 and Jonah Bolden who was later waived in 2019 and played 3 games for the Phoenix Suns. So after 3 up and down drafts in the NBA what happened to to former executive of the year? One word: CollarGate.
Even today CollarGate is one of the strangest things we have ever seen and I’m a Philadelphia sports fan saying this. Prior to the 2018 draft, a story was broken by The Ringer writer Ben Detrick. The story encompassed a in-depth online scandal about Bryan and his wife Barbara Bottini using fake online profiles to bash Sixer players, Former general manager Sam Hinkie, current Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and even leaking sensitive info about players medical history. Along with that, these accounts would be used to praise the job of Bryan Colangelo and the what he was doing in Philadelphia. While at first he denied, it soon became too much to deal with and he eventually revealed the truth……of sorts.
Soon after the report came out, lying Bryan came out and said that his wife was the true culprit. That she acted without his knowledge and he would never behave in such a manner. No one with a pulse believed him and it wasn’t long before Bryan, his wife Barbara and his father Jerry were out of Philadelphia quicker than they arrived. With Bryan being fired as the Sixers general manager that summer and Jerry finishing out his tenure as a special advisor to the team for the rest of 2018. With the teams reputation in ruins and the 2018 draft approaching what would happen next? The start of something new. A process if you will. If the Colangelo Process left us in ruins, what would the Brown/Brand Era bring us? One filled with intrigue and a need for further review. We’ll look more closely at the 2018 NBA Draft and how it helped shape us for the current and Future Sixers.