Jimmy O’Toole, Jed
Recently, all eyes have been focused on NCAA March Madness hoops, including the NBA’s Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers, who have been skipping practice to watch the games.
Head Coach Brett Brown told reporters Saturday night after an unexpected victory, “I felt that the players have been working really hard recently. In fact, we might not even catch the Sunday night flight to Atlanta.”
Brown, whose Sixers have the second-worst record in the NBA, was actually angry that the tanking Pistons managed to snap their record-tying 26-game losing streak.
“We were headed for an NBA record for most consecutive losses, a spot in the Naismith Hall of Fame and sole possession of the highest chances for the number-one lottery spot in the draft, but then the Pistons managed to steal the loss from us,” said Brown.
Okay, we joke. But Brown has actually watched more tape on Duke’s Star Forward Jabari Parker than he has on all his Sixers players combined.
The Sixers (at 16-57) are actually in the midst of one of the worst seasons in NBA history. And the NBA encourages this by promising the worst four teams one of the top four picks in the draft and lottery-ball chance of earning the number-one pick overall. Ultimately, it pays dividends to really stink if your team is unable to reach the playoffs.
ESPN columnist and Grantland Editor Bill Simmons wrote that the Sixers “haven’t been tanking games as much as obliterating any chance of winning them.”
“They’re doing it because the NBA gives every team the same loophole,” he continued.
“If you want to throw away a season, depress your fans and disgrace the league for a 25 percent chance at the number-one pick and a 100 percent chance at a top-four pick … knock yourself out!”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver never earned a degree in economics, apparently: His league continually rewards losers!
Sadly, NBA owners haven’t much economic sense, either. After turning in one of the most egregious seasons in NBA history, the Sixers actually raised their season-ticket prices for the up-coming season — all that after forcing fans to watch Rookie-of-the-Year Candidate Michael Carter-Williams play for his life surrounded by two guys in wheelchairs, Tony Wroten and Byron Mullens.
Mullens recently gained 25 pounds and could not fit into his jersey before the Pistons game last Friday. In an effort to save face, the Sixers listed him as injured (with a bruised ego).
To stop teams from deliberately tossing away games for lottery picks, the coaches of the four worst teams by record should have to show up dressed in whatever way their fans choose. This, at least, would provide the fans with some legitimate entertainment. While the basketball team might be unwatchable, Brett Brown dressed as the Hulk would be pretty funny.
Better yet, the NBA should make team executives of the four worst teams sit courtside and watch the band of paraplegics their front office trots out to play on a nightly basis. They should at least feel their season-ticket holders’ anguish at paying to see an overweight Byron Mullens squeezed into a skin-tight, sleeveless shirt for 82 games a year…