Photo credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I am truly, truly surprised it took this long for someone to write the are the Sixers too bad? article. I figured it would’ve come in mid-December, but the Sixers’ shocking start pushed things back a bit. They show promise! Good young talent! A future MVP! It wasn’t until last month sometime, once the Eagles were finished, that we realized how hilariously awful the Sixers are. It’s as bad, maybe worse than we thought it would be. It’s brilliant, expert tanking, and we should all admire the Sixers’ dedication to the craft.

But Tom Ziller of SB Nation wonders if maybe the Sixers are too bad for their own good:

The Sixers roster is, at this point, Thaddeus YoungMichael Carter-Williams, the inactive Nerlens Noel and a dozen fringe NBA players. Henry SimsElliot Williams andHollis Thompson are the Sixers’ top bench weapons. This team is constructed so unlike any other NBA team that it wouldn’t be a total shock if Philadelphia, defeated in 11 straight,  ended the season on a 36-game losing streak. What team could this squad legitimately challenge barring injuries or a bucketful of fluke performances? The 2012 Bobcats — the worst team by winning percentage in NBA history — could probably handle these Sixers.

However, there’s no way that Adam Silver and the owners will intervene ahead of the 2014 NBA Draft. So long as the Sixers actually field a team of players with a pulse for the rest of the season and don’t conspire with players or the coach to lose on purpose, no punishment will be forthcoming. In fact, even if the league did punish the Sixers for malfeasance, it wouldn’t likely cost them a top-5 pick. (They are basically guaranteed a top-5 pick at this point. If they somehow finish with a better record than the Bucks, they can pick no lower than No. 5.) The worst thing the league could do would be to damage Philadelphia’s odds of picking No. 1 overall, and that’d be such a major penalty that it’s basically inconceivable so long as the Sixers lose by the book and not by outright, game-to-game tanking.

Translation: The Sixers are so unabashedly awful that they’re undoing could be that they’re too good at being bad. Willa Ford had this problem. I don’t think that will happen – that the league will take action – because the Sixers will never admit that they’re purposely losing games, even if Sam Hinkie has hijacked the Xbox of life and is sabotaging his real-world NBA team to see how far he can push the game before it crashes. Trade your all-star guard for draft picks? Check. Sit out that draft pick all year? Check. Trade your center for more draft picks? Check. Trade Evan Turner for a starter and then buyout the starter to circumvent trade restrictions all while launching a marketing campaign which essentially tells people that you are burning down the franchise and ruining the integrity of the game so you have a 25% chance of drafting a kid who’s shooting 35% in the Big 12 this winter? DOES NOT COMPUTE.

Actually, it computes just fine. Sam Hinkie has a calculator and he knows how to fuck his current team with it. Keep doing what you’re doing, Sixers. I’ll stand in the corner and watch, like Stanley Tucci in Sex and the Other Man:

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