Before a single roster move has been made this off-season is already shaping up as an extremely positive one for Sixers fans.

So, where does it rank among other off-seasons in recent franchise history?

We rank Sixers off-seasons from 2016 to 2020 starting with the worst. In-season roster moves will not be taken into account.

5) The 2018 Offseason

Surprisingly not 2019!

  • Notable additions: Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, Zaire Smith, Landry Shamet, Shake Milton
  • Notable exits: Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, Richaun Holmes
  • Notable re-signings: J.J. Redick
Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE /Getty Images

Marred in controversy, Philadelphia’s summer started with team GM Bryan Colangelo leaving amid the burner account saga and didn’t improve much from there.

The team had multiple first-round draft picks and enough cap space for a max contract at their disposal to improve a roster that made the second round of the playoffs in 2017-18. Unfortunately with no General Manager the decision making fell to Head Coach Brett Brown, a man with no experience in the role. Brown vowed to go star hunting and ended up with Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala.

The assets the team acquired during the 2018 off-season did eventually allow them to trade for Tobias Harris but his status as a star is still questionable at best despite being paid like one.

The Sixers didn’t get worse as a result of the 2018 and they did acquire valuable trade pieces but considering they openly stated they were star hunting and had the assets and cap space to achieve that goal it’s hard to say it wasn’t a huge disappointment when they failed.

4) The 2019 Off-Season

  • Notable additions: Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Matisse Thybulle
  • Notable exits: J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler
  • Notable re-signings: Tobias Harris

The most positive thing one could say about the Sixers’ 2019 off-season is that it provided several learning opportunities for the franchise going forward. Hopefully they learnt a few lessons; not to overpay for non-superstars (Tobias Harris), not to overpay for ageing stars (Al Horford), not to let superstars leave for cents on the dollar (Jimmy Butler) and not to undervalue elite shooting (J.J. Redick).

On paper, each move individually can be justified, but that’s not how team building works. The parts assembled by the Sixers’ front office were a terrible fit and it showed with poor performances on the court.

The 2019 off-season wasn’t a complete disaster though, after drafting Landry Shamet and Shake Milton with a late first-round and a second-round pick in 2018 the Sixers again found value deeper in the draft selecting Matisse Thybulle with pick 20. Thybulle looks to be on track to be a starter for the Sixers in the not too distant future and could even find himself on an All-Defensive team at some point in his career.

3) The 2016 Offseason

  • Notable additions: Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless
  • Notable exits: Elton Brand, Ish Smith, Christian Wood
  • Notable re-signings: none
Photo: Amanda Westcott/NBAE/Getty Images

Any time a team can add a future All-NBA talent in an off-season the year must be considered a success. Ben Simmons missed his first year through injury but has gone from strength to strength since and is now a superstar of the league.

Dario Saric was a starter on a playoff team for the Sixers and eventually was included in a trade to bring Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia. Saric was an underrated playmaker, decent enough shooter and good fit alongside Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Jerryd Bayless never got a chance to make an impact as a floor spacer for the team, unfortunately plagued by injury during his time in Philadelphia.

There were no glaring mistakes made by the Sixers during the summer of 2016, although if the front office could’ve known the player Christian Wood would become they probably would have elected to keep him around.

2) The 2020 Offseason

  • Notable additions: Daryl Morey, Doc Rivers, Dave Joerger
  • Notable exits: Brett Brown
  • Notable re-signings: none (as of Nov. 6)

If 2018’s mantra was star hunting then 2020’s was to focus on basketball minds. In 2020 the Sixers have found more success in landing their targets than they were in 2018, bringing in Daryl Morey, Prosper Karangwa and Peter Dinwiddie to the front office along with Doc Rivers, Sam Cassell, Dave Joerger and Dan Burke on the coaching staff.

The Sixers have learned from their past mistakes. Rather than being stuck in situations where one person is making roster decisions they now have multiple experienced voices working collaboratively in regards to player personnel.

Elton Brand led the coaching search and brought in Doc Rivers, a proven winner and culture changer. Brand was also mature enough to realise his shortcomings in the past and actively pined for Josh Harris to hire Daryl Morey as Head of Basketball Operations.

The Sixers are yet to make any roster moves this off-season but if their collaborative approach leads to putting a better fitting team together then this could be remembered as one of the most pivotal periods in the franchise’s recent history.

1) The 2017 Offseason

  • Notable additions: J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson, Markelle Fultz
  • Notable exits: future first-round pick (from Sacramento Kings)
  • Notable re-signings: none

The summer that made the Sixers contenders.

Photo: Curt Gies

Philadelphia traded up in the 2017 draft to pick Markelle Fultz. In hindsight the trade looks awful but at the time Fultz was the consensus number 1 pick. Fultz’s skill set seemed to mesh perfectly with the Sixers star duo of Embiid and Simmons. It looked as though he was going to be the team’s third star and make the tanking of “The Process” all worthwhile. What followed was perhaps the most bizarre series of events in team history. Even though now the trade and pick look like poor decisions, 90 times out of 100 the Markelle Fultz story works out much better in Philadelphia.

Despite their number one pick providing essentially nothing for the team in his rookie year the Sixers went from the lottery to the playoffs thanks in large part to their free-agent signings. The team signed J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson, two veteran players from winning teams. Redick and Johnson were key in changing the losing culture in Philadelphia which culminated in a 16 game winning streak to end the season, all of which coming without the team’s star player on the court.

Redick was also the perfect fit in the team’s offense, his shooting becoming a crucial part of the league’s best 5 man lineup. When Redick shared the floor with Embiid, Simmons, Saric and Robert Covington the Sixers had a net rating of +20.5. Redick also formed an almost unstoppable two-man game with Joel Embiid running hand-offs and screens until either Embiid had a shot at the basket or Redick had an open three, which became almost as automatic as Embiid in the key.

The 2017 off-season was so successful because the Sixers had a plan, they knew what type of players the team needed and they went out and got them. Even when one didn’t pan out the team still succeeded because the other pieces fit so well together.

The current day front office would do well to remember the plan from 2017 when deciding on which roster moves to make before the upcoming season.

Featured Image: Eric Hartline/ USA TODAY Sports
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