USA Today predicts 76ers will break NBA futility record
USA Today began rolling out their 'NBA Watchability Rankings' for 2014-15 this week, and it's safe to say that they don't have very high expectations for the Sixers this season.
The publication ranked Philadelphia's franchise as the 30th, or least watchable team in the league for the upcoming season, citing their roster rebuild as the primary reason:
"The 76ers have dismantled their roster at a perhaps unprecedented rate, and while the future might be bright, the present has them 30th."
Not only were the Sixers listed as least watchable, the publication also predicts that the Sixers will set the NBA's all-time futility mark, breaking their own 9-73 mark set in the 1972-73 season. They're predicted to finish 8-74, a single game worse than their early '70's counterparts.
There were similar sentiments about last year's Sixers squad before the season's start, and they had their fair share of struggles, including a 26-game losing streak. However, a surprising start to the season, and the promising play of rookie Michael Carter-Williams helped the team to a 19-63 record, and allowed them to avoid the history books (Although the 26-game losing streak did tie an NBA record). USA Today feels that the Sixers as currently constructed have a much more solid shot at the futility mark:
"This roster is capable of challenging the futility record even more so than last year's team that lost 26 consecutive games. It's going to be ugly for most of the year. By the end, the 76ers could have the subplot of chasing the franchise's own NBA futility mark."
Last season the Sixers had veterans Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young to help them pull out some wins over the course of the season. In the absence of such experienced players, and with a roster that could be characterized cleanly as 'inexperienced', the Sixers are certainly in for a struggle.
On the other hand, reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams appears poised for a strong sophomore season, and the debut of Nerlens Noel, along with the development of some perimeter players like Hollis Thompson and K.J. McDaniels, offers some slight hope for the season. Still, regardless of how well the young players play, the season is going to be a struggle for the Sixers. The franchise will continue to develop for the future, but in the meantime, there will again be a lot of losses.