The Philadelphia 76ers aren’t even bad. No, bad would be too much of an understatement. They are beyond bad, beyond awful, beyond atrocious. The irony of this all is this is exactly what they want to be.

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The Sixers have all but publicly said that they are trying to lose as many games as possible in order to secure the top pick draft after their last roster (headlined by Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young) seemed to max out as nothing more than a playoff team. There’s an old saying in the NBA that you never want to be a team that’s in the middle, meaning you’re not good enough to compete for a championship but you’re not bad enough to get meaningful draft picks. The Sixers were stuck in this predicament in the summer of 2012 so they chose to simply clean house and embark on what is rumored to be a 3-4 year plan of horridness that included cleaning out literally any player that wasn’t young or made to much money. Every relevant player from their past roster is gone and so too is a lot of respect from many fans around the league. Simply put: this shouldn’t be happening.

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The team has been flat out embarrassing these past two seasons that’s been headlined by a 26 game losing streak last year and already a 53 point humiliating blowout on Thursday night to the Mavs. Now given, the team actually has collected some decent assets including last year’s rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams, and this year’s number 3 overall pick Joel Embiid. They’ve also managed to draft former Kentucky star Nerlens Noel and European phenom Dario Saric but only Noel and Carter-Williams will play this season as Embiid will sit out with injury and Saric is playing out a contract in Europe.
Currently sitting at 0-9, the Sixers might legitimately not win 10 games this season so long as they keep rolling out starting lineups of Tony Wroten, Hollis Thompson, Jeremai Grant, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Henry Sims (this actually happened this season). So now we take a look at the broad picture of the Sixers’ plan and it’s clear they might just be the first of many after them that will attempt to rebuild like this. Will a league that has up to 8 teams a year intentionally trying to lose benefit at all, even in the long run? From a fan perspective losing can be such a turnoff and here’s the biggest unknown… what if the Sixers are simply drafting average players? What if these high draft picks simply flame out and don’t produce? Then not only would that season tanking for that pick be lost but so too likely would be the team’s executives. Therefore, the NBA lottery really needs to change, and maybe not totally revamped (such as the wheel proposal I brought up in a previous article) but amendments have to be made nonetheless. Starting with teams such as the Sixers. There should be certain guidelines in place that penalizes a team for not making the playoffs for say 4 seasons in a row, that team would have their draft pick lowered or taken away all together. Something such as this would push teams to be competitive during each era and not throw away seasons. This would also help free agents as they would have more suitors and teams would be able to have better players to market their fans to.
The NBA proposed a change to their lottery system this summer with a framework that included penalizes, however it was shot down immediately by the Players Union. However, that doesn’t mean that in the next lockout (likely coming in 2016) this subject won’t be a big divider between the two sides. Until at least then the current flawed lottery system will continue to stay and teams such as the Sixers will continue to be happy with losing games by 53 points. The lottery indeed needs major fixing, it is now time for the NBA and the players to do something, hopefully for the better.