Tanking to the Top: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Process in the History of Professional Sports

Yaron Weitzman. Grand Central, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4972-2
Weitzman, who covers the NBA for Bleacher Report, charts the Philadelphia 76ers’ rise from NBA atrocity to potential powerhouse in his dishy, punchy debut. The “process” began in 2011 and was the brainchild of former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, a data-obsessive who believed the team had to be stripped bare and built anew with fresh-from-college superstars. As the losses mounted at first, the team stockpiled draft picks via trades. The opinions of the public—some hailed Hinkie as a savior, others deemed his plan embarrassing—mattered little to Hinkie, who had the backing of owner Josh Harris, who bought the 76ers as “a business opportunity” in 2011 and eventually became personally invested. Hinkie resigned in 2016 as old-guard management took over, before his handiwork led to a promising, young team helmed by Cameroonian budding star Joel Embiid. Thanks to about 175 interviews, Weitzman expertly captures the human frailty behind Hinkie’s plan: the difficulty Embiid had getting into shape; Markelle Fultz, a high draft pick, can’t shoot a basketball or get away from his controlling mother. Weitzman wildly entertains in this backroom NBA history. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/21/2020
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-3119-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-5387-4973-9
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