Somewhere, Semih Erden and Christian Eyenga are smiling just a little wider.
The Memphis Grizzlies torched the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night, 103-77, extending Philly’s consecutive-loss streak to a franchise record-tying 20, per the NBA Guru Twitter account:
But as indicated by this tweet from ESPN Stats & Info, it’s the way in which the Sixers are losing that has many wondering whether we might be witnessing one of the worst teams in NBA history:
Via @EliasSports, the 76ers have lost 20 consecutive games, all by 5 or more points (longest streak of its kind in NBA history)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 16, 2014
With seven more losses (the games cited in the first tweet above), the Sixers will set the league record for most consecutive losses in a single season.
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that Philly head coach Brett Brown has declared that a win—any win—would, at this point, be an upset. According to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia's Dei Lynam:
Brett Brown "This is not slit your wrist time." #SixersTalk— Dei Lynam (@dlynamCSN) March 15, 2014
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
It’s a sad state of affairs indeed for the Sixers. Until you remember they’re sitting on a whole war chest of 2014 draft picks—one first-rounder and four second-rounders, to be exact.
If they have any hope of staving off infamy, the Sixers might have to wait until March 29, when they take on the Detroit Pistons in Philadelphia. Should they lose every game between now and then, they’ll tie Cleveland’s mark of 26.
It seems impossible to think it was these same Sixers (well, minus about nine different players) that upended the Miami Heat on opening night behind a near-quadruple-double from rookie Michael Carter-Williams (22 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds and nine steals—nine).
Whether you want to call it tanking or something more diplomatic—“strategic long-term growth initiative,” perhaps—Philly looks like it knows exactly what it’s doing. But if the Sixers can achieve their high-lottery hopes without rewriting the meaning of NBA infamy, they should, like, try and stuff.
Novel concept, we know.