Around the NBA: The Philadelphia 76ers are the true masters of tanking

No cheating: can you name any of the 76ers in this picture? - Scott Halleran

The Philadelphia 76ers have lost 26 straight games, yet they still don't have the worst record in the league.

Hello Bright Side of the Sun. I'm Jacob. Some of you blog veterans may remember when I used to write for this site back in the day. Well, I'm back!

Things have died down a bit in my life with a couple of the closer-to-home basketball seasons coming to a close, so I'm going to make an effort to dive back into the Bright Side. I haven't been able to read or comment much, but I have manged to keep up with the Suns and I'm definitely in playoff beard mode.

I watched Wednesday's game against the Wizards, and all I can say is that it is good to have Eric Bledsoe back out there next to Goran Dragic. A couple of weeks ago playoff dreams appeared to be nothing but a pipedream after falling out of the top eight, but now the boys are right back in the fight and all the way back to seventh place after dispatching the New York Knicks.

However, this column isn't about the Suns, or the playoffs. In fact, it's meant to make you feel good about getting to watch this Suns team this season even if they miss out on the postseason. Because at least we're not Philadelphia fans.

On Thursday night, the 76ers made history by losing their 26th straight game. Twenty-six. In a row. Consecutively. That is impressive. Philadelphia shocked people by coming out of the gates and winning despite running out the worst on-paper roster in the league. However, that didn't last long and - unlike with the Suns - we were all right about the 76ers.

Just look at this:

26ers_medium

So. much. blood.

Philadelphia is 1-29 in their last 30 games. Let's break that down by the numbers so we can truly appreciate how awful the '6ers have been.

During that stretch, Philadelphia is -455. That is -15.2 PER GAME. 20 of the 30 losses were by double digits. Cut it off at 20 and it includes eight games. Raise the bar to 30, and we are left with three. Take one more step up to 40, and we have two.

Yes, the 76ers lost back-to-back games by 43 and 45 points, in case you had forgotten.

During that middle of that stretch, they lost 10 consecutive games by double digits.

Their only win? A one-point game against the 23-48 Boston Celtics.

Tanking is perhaps an overused term, but in this case that is exactly what the 76ers are doing. 22 different players have suited up for Philadelphia this season including: Lorenzo Brown, Brandon Davies, Dewayne Dedmon, James Nunnally, Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson, Jarvis Varnado, Casper Ware and Elliot Williams (all first or second year players who you've probably never heard of unless you're a big college basketball fan) and James Anderson, Darius Johnson-Odom, Eric Maynor, Darius Morris and Daniel Orton (drafted guys who haven't worked out). That doesn't even include Jason Richardson and Nerlens Noel, neither of which have actually suited up this year.

Oh, and perhaps the most damning piece of evidence is that they picked up Byron Mullens.

Their roster is a revolving door of D-League players and draft busts. I'm all for giving these guys a shot in the NBA - and some of them could very well turn out to be good finds - but this is ridiculous. Look at their recent box scores; there are only two real NBA players in their rotation (Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young - side note: I feel so bad for Thad, he deserves better).

The 76ers don't even have to bother with holding out star players with "injuries" because they don't have anybody worth sitting down. They are truly the masters of tanking.

Four months ago, many believed the Suns were on the same level as the 76ers, which is just insane in hindsight.

However, even as embarrassing as the 76ers have been, they're STILL not the worst team in the NBA. No, that distinction belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks, who were originally built to compete for a playoff spot this season (ha).

The 76ers are 15-57, yet the Bucks still have a one game lead at 14-58 in the race for the worst record. They've suffered a ton of injuries, and the roster isn't exactly loaded with talent, but I'm still not quite sure how they've managed to be this bad.

Philadelphia and Milwaukee are the two worst teams in the league, and it's not even remotely close. Milwaukee has the lead for now, but while Philadelphia has lost 26 straight, the Bucks have hit a hot streak and have picked up five wins in their last 20 games. The fight for the worst record should be just as vicious - albeit a bit more pathetic - as the race for the final playoff spots in the West.

Thankfully, Suns fans will be keeping their eyes on the latter. Praise Ryan McDonough, praise Jeff Hornacek and praise Goran Dragic and company for spurring this rise from the ashes that Phoenixes are known for. Because as much fun as it is dreaming about getting Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid in a Suns uniform, it is infinitely more fun rooting for the guys already sporting the purple and orange as they win games and look good in the process.

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