What a season this has been for the Philadelphia 76ers. After a disappointing 2012 – 2013 season when the team expected the former All – Star center Andrew Bynum to make the difference and put the team into a championship route and after the Sixers saw another All – Star, Andre Iguodala, departing for Golden State, the team started off the season really well. With no true star in its arsenal but with a bunch of young and promising players on-board the Sixers entered the season going 5-5. Although they seemed to be one of the big surprises of the season, mainly thanks to the heroics from Michael Carter – Williams early on, very soon the Sixers melted down.
Playing without their rookie center, Nerlens Noel, who is still out of action, the Sixers started losing one game after another. Big margin losses but also close games came down to form one of the longest losing streaks in the history of the league. After the most recent blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the Philadelphia 76ers are now one loss away from tying the NBA’s worst 26 – game losing streak, currently held by the 2010 – 2011 Cleveland Cavaliers. With the next game scheduled for Thursday, March 27, against the red hot Houston Rockets, Philadelphia will most probably see its historic losing streak getting extended. Fans of the team simply wonder when this torture will end. Is the team able to even get a victory in the 11 games remaining till the end of the season? It’s notable, that the Sixers will play just four more games at home and five out of their remaining games will come against over .500 opponents. The best chance to end this streak for Philly will come this Saturday, when they will take on the Detroit Pistons at home. Nonetheless, it’s notable that the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t really taken advantage of the support of their fans, as they have just eight victories this season when playing at home in comparison to the seven victories when on the road.
Taking a look back at when this 25 – game losing streak started, on January 31, in a game against the Atlanta Hawks, we can say that the Sixers had several chances to put an end to it. In several of their 25 lost games the deficit was in single – digits and in fact, some of them were really close games. In total, Philadelphia has fallen to 20 opposing teams during this streak by an average of 16.9 points, while it’s allowing 111 points scored. The Sixers have the worst defense in the league this season, allowing 110.0 points.
Of course, the Philadelphia 76ers have no real interest in doing any better this season. Very soon after the 2013 – 2014 campaign, Philly abandoned the playoff chase and the team’s main focus at the moment is a rebuild and getting prepared for the 2014 – 2015 season. However, this doesn’t mean that the Sixers won’t try to at least win one game and put an end to this historic losing streak. No team is eager in setting new negative records and this year’s Sixers are no exception. As the Head Coach of the team, Brett Brown, stated, the team will try to get a win over the next few games. However, the team’s emerging leader, Michael Carter – Williams sounded a little less worried about the streak, saying:
“We’re not really worried about the streak. We want to go out there and win a ballgame, but we have to keep getting better and hopefully a win will come.”
It’s notable that although Philly has lost 25 games in a row, they still haven’t reached the bottom of the Eastern Conference, which is steadily occupied by the Milwaukee Bucks. In fact, the Sixers will most probably avoid the last seed and that’s mainly thanks to two factors, their good course early in the season and also the big struggles the Bucks are experiencing this season.
If we break down some of the games of this extended losing streak, we’ll pinpoint the weaknesses of the 76ers this season, which of course, got even bigger after the team traded away two of its most important players, the leading scorer Evan Turner and its starting center Spencer Hawes.
The main flaw of this year’s Philadelphia 76ers team is defense. It took the Philadelphia 76ers 13 games to allow less than 100 points from their opponents and that’s a clear indicator of where the team should focus in order to get better. Of course, we can’t really expect any change till the end of the regular season. During the summer, the team will have the needed time to cook up a plan for the near future, target the free – agents it wants to go after and start working its way towards a better future. Of course, Philly will most probably get a high draft pick, which could help the franchise change its course sooner than later.
This extended losing streak will most probably go even longer after tomorrow’s game against the Rockets. The 76ers will need much luck to beat James Harden and Co. and up to now in the season, luck hasn’t been on their side. However, no matter how long this losing streak gets, Philadelphia should keep in mind that it has one target, to make a strong comeback quickly and be ready next season. That’s where all the efforts of the team should be focused on. Of course, no one is saying that the team should abandon the fight for the remainder of the current season. But other than the stop of a negative record, the Sixers have nothing to gain from a strong push this season. Instead, all their focus should be on making the playoffs next season, something that should not considered as an unrealistic target for Philly.
Ron Leyba is the content manager of Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – premier source of fantasy basketball updates, rankings and rumors. For more of his fantasy basketball updates, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ account.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks