For the past three years, the Sixers' roster has been filled by a revolving door of developing players. Many were here today, gone tomorrow - or in the NBA sense, gone after a season or a 10-day contract. But as the 2015-16 season comes to an end, so does that chapter of rebuilding.
"We went through those three years of pain and losing," Brett Brown said Thursday at his end of the season press conference. "I think what you're going to hear more coming out of everybody's mouths is, ‘How do you re-establish winning?'"
The Sixers' roster is wide open. They could land up to four first-round draft picks and have around $60 million in salary cap space to spend this summer.
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Bryan Colangelo is now at the helm as president of basketball operations, and head coach Brett Brown is eager to get started structuring the team for victory. Brown said the two have been talking "non-stop" since Colangelo was hired last weekend.
The Sixers concluded their 10-72 season Wednesday night in Chicago. Following their season finale in Chicago, Brown and Colangelo met with the basketball operations staff Thursday morning in Philadelphia.
"There is more of a real discussion and shared interest with ownership, with Bryan, where we're talking now about we've put the past three years behind us and this is what we get out of it, the resources. I like using it better than assets," Brown said.
Brown referred to the past three seasons as "phase one" and moving forward as "phase two." Unlike the past three seasons in which the team consisted of young players, some who entered the league before they turned 20 years old and others like Joel Embiid who has yet to play, Brown would like to build around a more even combination of youth and experience.
He emphasized that a team cannot "develop" a roster to be successful. The Sixers have valuable trade bait in place that they could use to improve the roster through deals with other teams. Those trade options will be considered as the Sixers approach draft night with an arsenal of picks at their disposal.
As the team moves forward, Brown places a high value on the culture of the roster. Chemistry and character come into play along with talent.
"It's just my road map on how I see a person," Brown said. "Is he incredibly competitive and is he reliable in knowing what you get day to day? I think that if you can take those two basic qualities and have that as a foundation for the types of people that you bring in, you're well on your way to growing a culture, a culture of winning."
Out of the five positions, Brown views point guard as the the most important on the court. It is also a role that was filled by a litany of players to start the season. Ultimately, the Sixers made a trade with the Pelicans to re-acquire Ish Smith and appointed him the starting floor leader. He is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Asked to create an offseason "shopping list," Brown has numerous wishes in addition to the one spot.
"It's the things of a purposefully balanced team," he said. "It's a team that can sprinkle in veterans. It's a team that ultimately wants to have as many two-way players as we can have. It's a team that plays defense first and we'll figure out how to score second. It's a team that on a nightly basis, the city walks in and is completely proud of the way that they play."
While it is hard to fully envision the upcoming team because questions still have to be answered about the draft picks and incoming players via free agency and trade, Brown is encouraged about what the group can look like after re-shaping the roster this offseason.
"You'd be lying if you didn't step back as the head coach of the program saying, 'Well, this is pretty damn exciting. This is exciting," he said. "This is a little bit different than it has been."