We concluded they are not, in fact, the worst team in 20 years.
But they’re climbing up the charts—with a bullet.
In fact, things have gotten so bad for the Sixers—who have lost 19 games in a row—that head coach Brett Brown told CSN's Dei Lynam that any win would, at this point, call for confetti and court-rushes:
Any win the Sixers get at this stage would definitely be an upset Brett Brown said with his team on a 19 game losing streak. SixersTalk— Dei Lynam (@dlynamCSN) March 15, 2014
Before you accuse Mr. Brown of hyperbole, consider that, over its final 17 games, Philly will play only six games against teams currently below .500 in the standings: the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics (twice) and Charlotte Bobcats (also twice).
The Sixers would have to drop their next eight tilts to break the NBA record for consecutive losses in a season, set by the Cleveland Cavaliers during their first year post-LeBron James back in 2010-11.
So no, Brown's comments aren’t that crazy. But nor does he believe it’s time to panic:
Brett Brown "This is not slit your wrist time." #SixersTalk— Dei Lynam (@dlynamCSN) March 15, 2014
That’s a pretty intense choice of words there, coach.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what Brown’s getting at here: With a slew of draft picks to their credit, the Sixers are sitting pretty for what hopes to be one of the deeper drafts in recent memory.
Brown has the backing of a Josh Harris-led ownership group that is willing to brush aside today’s lopsided losses, like Sunday’s lashing from the Clippers, to visualize tomorrow’s victories. He has the support of general manager Sam Hinkie, in whom Brown has a level of faith that would make Bible Belt natives blush with envy.
Philly’s best shot at stopping its streak could come on March 29, when the Sixers play host to the disappointing Detroit Pistons. Should Brown and his troops lose every game between now and then, they’d enter the contest tied with the Cavs for seasonal futility.
The Sixers might be fielding one of the worst teams in recent memory, but if losing one more game isn’t going to impact their lottery odds to any significant degree, it at least behooves them to eke out one more W before they hit 27.
Otherwise, this author may have to revisit that column.