SIXERS OWNER Josh Harris recently deemed his team's 19-63 season a "huge success."

A lot of fans called it "tanking."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver prefers to call it "rebuilding."

"I don't think rebuilding should be a dirty word," he said yesterday at the Associated Press Sports Editors commissioners meetings in New York. "I think it's necessary in any business. I think bad teams have to make their own strategic decisions. That's not something we're looking to legislate from the league. The jury's out from a strategic standpoint on whether [tanking] is the right way to build a championship team in the first place."

As for Harris' "success" comment?

"My reaction to what Josh said is to put it into context. I think what Josh was saying was in the context of building a championship team and championship organization in Philadelphia. He saw it as a success in a continuum. But, what I also heard him say was that those losses were incredibly difficult for him to stomach . . . I saw 'success' being said in a broader context of what he was trying to achieve over time in Philadelphia."

Tanking? Rebuilding?

To-mato? Ta-mato?

"Even if you get the first pick in the draft, there's no history of any team - well maybe with Magic [Johnson] - but virtually no history that you can turn around a team with one, or even two draft picks," Silver said. "And, it's incredibly difficult to build a championship team in this league whether you do it through free agency, or through the draft.

Or through tanking?

"I would just say again the jury is out of that strategy," Silver said. "And I think that makes for good copy, as well. I'm intrigued. I read both sides of it in terms of 'Is that the right way to build a team? . . . Can you rebuild a team in 2 years, in 3 years? What's the track record of teams trying to do that?' "