By the time you read this, it is possible the Philadelphia 76ers might’ve won a game.
It’s also possible you might look out the window and see pigs flying first-class on a Virgin Atlantic flight.
Sure, I could’ve written this week about the wondrous Golden State Warriors. And, yes, I know this crazy, spiraling world of ours could use some holiday cheer, so I promise I will celebrate the Warriors next week. But right now, let’s commiserate over the woeful 76ers because, well, misery loves company.
(Warning: What follows includes dark, depressing language and graphic, gruesome detail perhaps not suitable for all audiences. Reader discretion advised.)
In 2013-14, the 76ers began 3-0 and started struggling after that before losing a record-tying 26 straight games en route to a 19-63 mark.
In 2014-15, the 76ers began the season with 17 consecutive defeats and ended the season with 10 consecutive defeats en route to an 18-64 record.
And then things got worse.
The 76ers have started this season 0-18, running their overall losing streak to a record-breaking 28 games.
All in all, according to various data mining firms that track such activity, this appears to be the longest stretch of large-scale, post-Industrial Revolution failure since J. Edgar Hoover took over the FBI.
These 76ers might eclipse the team’s historic 9-73 season in 1972-73.
Here are some key, telling numbers on this season’s 76ers:
—- 30th (last) in the league in points per game, 91.2.
—- 30th in point differential, minus 12.3.
—- 27th in field goal percentage, 41.6.
—- 30th in turnovers per game, 17.5.
Unofficially, the 76ers also have the NBA’s poorest on-time arrival rate on road flights, but, in their defense, they usually fly Spirit Airlines.
So who’s running this show?
The general manager is Sam Hinkie, the head coach is Brett Brown.
(FYI: It does not appear the team has an owner at this time.)
To be polite – and Couch Slouch is nothing if not polite this time of year – Hinkie apparently is in rebuilding mode. “Sacrifice today for tomorrow” is his unspoken motto; of course, on his calendar, tomorrow is 2030.
It is my understanding the 76ers have two-thirds of the first-round picks in the next NBA draft.
No player on the 76ers roster is over the age of 24, with the exception of much-traveled 32-year-old Carl Landry, who hasn’t played this season due to a wrist injury. This gives the team a young, cheap work force; in fact, I believe ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has a higher annual salary than any 76er other than Landry’s $6.5 million.
(I would call Stephen A. to confirm this, but during the busy holiday season it’s hard to carve out a four-hour window to hear his answer.)
Brown took over as coach for the 2013-14 season, and now has a career record of 37-144. That is not a typo: 37-144. Those are Willy Loman numbers.
To be polite again, Brown is in charge of a work-in-progress that I would liken to a high-rise construction site on a toxic landfill with a faulty steel frame and several inexperienced crane operators.
Plus, I’m terribly sympathetic to Brown. He spent 11 seasons working with Gregg Popovich in San Antonio before coming to Philadelphia; going from the Spurs to the 76ers is like going from “The Godfather” to “Gigli.”
Among the players starting for the 76ers: Nerlens Noel, Jeramis Grant, T.J. McConnell, Isaiah Canaan, JaKarr Sampson and Nik Stauskus, none of whom are household names even in their own households. The only everyday starter, well-known former Duke star Jahlil Okafor, is considering returning to Duke to resume his basketball studies.
In retrospect, these 76ers were pronounced dead at the scene opening night this season on Oct. 25.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Bring Back Dr. J Fund c/o Wells Fargo Center.
Ask The Slouch
Q. It appears the Philadelphia 76ers have mastered the art of sabotaging themselves on purpose to garner high draft picks, then wasting them on talent that can’t live up to its potential. Did they borrow the idea from one of your ex-wives? (Jeff Davenport; Indianapolis)
A. In your attempt to flatten me, I believe you have flattered me – after all, based on your interpretation, I was once a high draft pick!
Q. They still get it wrong with replay, so aren’t we better off just getting it wrong without replay? (Josh Lawrence; Pittsburgh)
A. I first said it in 1986 (yes, 1986): Replay-as-an-officiating-tool is going down a rabbit hole from which there is no return.
Q. Gregg Popovich has been named coach of the U.S. men’s basketball national team following the 2016 Olympics. Do you think he will be able to make the adjustment to coaching American players? (Deepak Sachdeva; McLean, Va.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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