I think that’s a pretty safe assumption considering the plan that was put in place this offseason by Sam Hinkie. When you decide to sacrifice an entire season in order to try to improve your team through the draft, blowout loses are going to happen, it’s unavoidable.
But I don’t think even the most ardent tanking fan thought it would get this bad.
First the Sixers headed into Lob City for a game with the Los Angeles Clippers and were shown just how far they have to go to become a respectable franchise again. At the end of the first quarter they were down by 31 and when the game went to halftime the deficit was 39. At one point the Sixers were down by an astounding 56 points on their way to a 123-78 loss that showed everyone just how bad the 76ers really are.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Blake Griffin used the game as a chance to put on a show that made it seem more like a Globetrotters/Generals game than an NBA contest.
But before the Sixers could try to put that loss behind them and move on, the very next night they had to go up against the Golden State Warriors, another team big on offense.
And they got obliterated yet again, this time by 43 points, 123-80 and had the dubious distinction of being only the second team in NBA history to lose by 40 plus points on back-to-back nights.
The other team? The 1993-94 Philadelphia 76ers.
So yes, this was a pair of games that showed everyone just how terrible this Sixers team is. There was no hiding, no escaping the truth that the team that won their first three games this season was nowhere to be found and had left the building long ago. All the losing, all the frustration, all the trade talk is clearly starting to show and wear down this young team, despite Coach Brown’s best efforts to keep a positive attitude.
But ironically, these two blowouts could give him one of his best teachable moments all season.
The Sixers have to look at the Clippers and Warriors as the teams they want to be someday, the end goal that will make all this heartache and disappointment worth it. They have to look at the show Griffin put on and think to themselves that they should want to do the exact same thing when a bad team comes into the Wells Fargo Center. They have to realize that this is how they should want to play, always to win and with no quarter given.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole unwritten “mercy rule” in sports that if you’re winning big, you should let up and not try to embarrass the other team. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re up by 50 points, try to score another 50 and do your best to keep the other team from even getting close. That is the mentality this Sixers team needs to learn to have and getting their collective butts handed to them two nights in a row is a great place for their education to start.
There is no doubt that this season’s Sixers team is a terrible, inexperienced squad that will probably limp to the end of the year with about 20 or so wins. More humiliating defeats are more than likely on the way and it’s not going to get any easier.
The upside? Coach brown is making sure his team is learning from all this, and they will take that knowledge with them into next season and the season after that. The lessons learned from the 2013-14 season will help shape the future of this franchise as much as next year’s draft, if not more so.
And that will make all this worth it.