[Photo: Sports Illustrated]
Twenty. 20. Two Zero. The Philadelphia 76ers have lost twenty straight games. Usually that’s a bad milestone to hit, a symbol of a team’s hopelessness. But for the case of the 2013-2014 Sixers, it is an accomplishment indicating that they are nearing a goal. This team is anything but hopeless once the season is over. When the final seconds run out out on the season for the Sixers, fans can be relieved for then the real Sixers season begins. Those twenty straight losses and counting will put the 76ers in a great, or perhaps even the best possible spot once the lottery comes around. So yes, those losses are essentially wins, because the bigger the loss column gets this season, the bigger the win column will get next season.
As the season progresses, many will ask and have asked if tanking is worth it. They have good points: a season of misery that teaches young players bad habits, no guarantee of the top pick, and others. But this Sixers team seems poised to rise. The current young core now of Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel are two great young players to build around, and perhaps the best combination of players from the 2013 draft to build around. Thaddeus Young is another quality player who can either be part of the new team or be used as an asset to acquire another young player or picks. Along with the current players the team has now, the Sixers also have three first round picks for the upcoming draft. With such a deep draft, those three picks could turn into starters or rotational players who can contribute immediately. Imagine the possible combinations the Sixers could draft to match up with MCW and Noel.
But its understandable to feel disappointed with the team after months of losing, and to start questioning whether tanking was the right option. In short, yes tanking feels awful in the moment, but with the season nearing its close, lets not forget that this was the goal and both the team and fans will be reaping the benefits this fall and for many seasons to come.