NBA execs on Sixers: So what?

Despite flurry of early wins, nothing should stop Philadelphia from tanking

Updated: November 8, 2013, 8:54 AM ET
By Chris Broussard | ESPN Insider

Sam HinkieDavid Dow/Getty ImagesFellow execs say Sixers GM Sam Hinkie still is focused on that top draft pick in 2014.

The worst-kept secret in the NBA is that the Philadelphia 76ers want to be horrible this season. With an eye on a top-three pick in the 2014 draft, they have decided to sit blue chip prospect Nerlens Noel for the entire season as he recovers from a knee injury, and rookie general manager Sam Hinkie has assembled a roster (particularly on the bench) that wouldn't scare most CBA squads.

All of which begs the question -- is the Sixers brass happy with its surprising start?

With stunning victories over Chicago and two-time defending champion Miami, Philadelphia was the toast of the league during the opening week. No one -- at least no one not wearing a Sixers uniform -- expected this to continue. I expected Philadelphia to come crashing back to earth very soon, and sure enough, they've dropped their past two games heading into their Friday matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers -- the team that had the No. 1 pick last year. They could very well be on their way to the terrible record many foresaw.

Then again, no one saw them dominating the league for even a week. That leads us to our latest Insider topic: What would you do -- or how would you be feeling -- if you're Hinkie.

Would you be worried about your team actually making the playoffs? Would you begin trading your productive veterans so as not to kill your plan of stinking it up this season? Would you start to wonder if you actually have a nucleus you can build around in the future?

To answer this riddle, I contacted four Eastern Conference executives from other teams. Here's how they said they would be viewing the situation if they were in Hinkie's shoes.