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Last year's ranking: 94
Title track: 67
Fan relations: 89
Stadium experience: 94
Bang for the buck: 103
The Sixers have redefined bottoming out. In the summer of 2013, Philadelphia traded starting point guard Jrue Holiday for a first-round pick and the injured Nerlens Noel, whose rookie season never happened. Fine with Philly. That helped it win just 19 games in 2013-14, leading to the selection of Joel Embiid, the uber-talented center whose fractured foot caused him to drop in the draft. Embiid may not play next season. The Sixers seem fine with that too. All of this has happened under the direction of smart-guy exec Sam Hinkie, a Daryl Morey protégé whose number crunching is being trusted by the organization.
But simple math tells the story. Despite an on-court season that, ahem, tanked, Philly improved its standing in five categories. The Sixers had a 49-spot jump in coaching (ex-Gregg Popovich lieutenant Brett Brown was received well) and a 37-spot leap in title track. The optimism is rooted in what could be. The Sixers currently have an astounding $32 million in cap space. And in addition to the banged-up Embiid, the Sixers picked up talented point-forward prospect Dario Saric, who starred for Croatia in the FIBA World Cup but will be stashed in Europe for at least two seasons.
So what's happening now? Philadelphia announced that it will break ground in October on a state-of-the-art practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, making the move from its current location at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. [Editor's note: That's not a joke.]