History Tonight as Rockets Look to Hand 76ers Their 26th Straight Loss
Far less of a formality is the Sixers becoming good at basketball again, even if they do wind up with the first pick in the 2014 draft.
The record they're about to break for consecutive losses belongs to the 2010-2011 post-LeBron Cleveland Cavaliers. That team wound up with the first and fourth picks in the 2011 draft, and it's inarguable that they got the first pick right, drafting this season's All Star Game MVP Kyrie Irving. (With the benefit of hindsight, they'd probably go with Klay Thompson or Kahwi Leonard with the fourth pick instead of Tristan Thompson. Or maybe Chandler Parsons, who everybody missed on that year.)
So the Cavs got easily the best player in that post apocalyptic 2011 draft, which in theory, the Sixers are trying to in 2014, right? Yet since 2011, the Cavs have gone on to pick fourth (Dion Waiters) and first overall again (Anthony Bennett, yuck) the next two drafts (i.e. they continued to suck), and still sit at 10th place in the worst Eastern Conference of my lifetime.
My point is tanking holds no guarantees, even when it actually works.
(One sidebar: The pick that the Cavs used on Irving in 2011 was actually acquired in a trade with the Clippers along with Baron Davis for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. Kind of an underrated dipshit Clippers move that gets forgotten because they're now good. The fourth pick was the Cavs' selection. So, in theory, the tanking itself didn't even work for the Cavs, they just happened to fleece the Clippers for the pick that became Irving. And even when that pick did work, well.....)
The road back to relevance, short of stumbling into LeBron James, is a long one with many painful potholes. Tonight the beatings continue for the Philadelphia 76ers.