In 2006, a London-based Noisecore band called Down I Go released an album detailing some of the more significant disasters in modern human history. This Is Disastercore, was a solid release at the time but if it was being made this year, the current Philadelphia 76ers season would warrant serious consideration for inclusion.
Twenty-five defeats in 25 games is such a horror story statistic that it looks like a mistake. A statistical miscalculation. A typing error. Anyone reading this of course will know that it’s anything but deceptive. The 25 losses have been hard-earned and true. Months of gutting an average roster has lead to the Sixers living in a wasteland of talentless despair. Those games have been washed away in a sea of turnovers and airballed 3s, potential wins that exist only as a memory.
The streak, somehow, still leaves the Sixers two games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. Both are chasing the coveted 25 percent chance of the No. 1 pick to draft the next franchise cornerstone. That last place spot will have to be wrenched from Milwaukee’s cold, dead hands. To lose 25 in a row and still not be in last place is difficult to fathom. However, this depressing Sixers team is slowly turning the screw on the helpless Bucks who have irresponsibly won four of their last 20, as if they have no idea that the race of disarmament is in full swing.
For as much as the streak may objectively help in the acquisition of high draft picks, a run this demoralizing and repulsive surely bears no positive value in the development of young players. It’s taken the Cleveland Cavaliers years of overhauling in the post-LeBron James era to recover from being so drastically awful. At 29-44, this is their most successful season in four years. The Bobcats too, have only recently begun to foster a hospitable learning environment after their seven-win disaster in 2011-12. A new coach and an expensive Al Jefferson will lead them into the playoffs but they are still a sub-.500 team despite high picks and a weak conference.
Acquiring and developing superstars is clearly the simplest path to contention and sacrificing short-term competitiveness in truth, is worth a chance at a star. However, how many losses is too many? At what point is the team too bad? Too often the performance is lacking any semblance of coherent style. A plan may be in place, but it is difficult to judge those devising the plan if those executing it are borderline professionals.
Few high draft picks come into the league so good that they will thrive regardless of situation. As most fans are aware, not every No. 1 pick is made equally. Andrew Wiggins may be a future all-star, but unless he is a transcendent future Hall of Famer he will struggle to pick up the pieces of the torn up roster he could find himself on.
The team will get better. Nerlens Noel will return, Michael Carter-Williams will improve, but a core so young will be fragile, raw and quite probably out of their depth. Professional sports is a cruel and unforgiving place. Tales of misfortune and disaster are fresh in the memory of every sports fan. But this disaster was no accident, it was calculated and man-made. And for better or for worse, the Sixers will have to live with the consequences.
Tags: Philadelphia 76ers