The record, embarrassing enough in its own right, has to feel even worse when the 76ers look at the team that they "bested" to earn the mark.
The not-so-legendary 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers were tanking long before it was cool, finishing with a 9-73 record, despite having no shot to draft still-unborn future superstars Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. The Sixers started that season with 15 straight losses and ended it on a 13-game losing run, with streaks of 14 and 20 games in between.
This year's Sixers won't match the team record of 73 losses, but the ongoing 21-game losing streak perhaps gives them some claim to the "worst team in franchise history" throne.
Incredibly, the Sixers have held a fourth-quarter lead for a total of just 20 seconds during the streak, per NBA.com's John Schuhmann. Between that not-so-impressive statistic and the fact that they've been outscored by 17.7 points per game during the stretch of futility, the 76ers are leaving little doubt that they're deserving of a 21-game losing streak.
Whether the streak translates into the No. 1 overall pick remains to be seen, but the Sixers don't figure to let up anytime soon. They play the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, then again on Saturday, with a game against the New York Knicks sandwiched in between. After that are road games in San Antonio and Houston, followed by a more manageable schedule to finish the season.
Fittingly enough, the difficult upcoming five-game stretch will leave the 76ers at 26 consecutive losses should they drop all five games. If that happens, Philadelphia will match the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA record for consecutive losses.
Of course, with Andrew Wiggins and Co. on the way and Nerlens Noel working toward full health, it's all part of general manager Sam Hinkie's long-term plan.