In the lead up to the Sixers’ most winnable game of the season (since the last two), there’s an extra storyline: If the Sixers lose to Thad Young’s Timberwolves tonight, their 0-18 record will tie the worst start in NBA history …
Sorry, I got that thousand-yard stare Brett Brown is doing up top again.
Tonight’s game is a big one. Not only would it (begin to) silence all of the Sixers hate-watching from non-fans, but it would allow the team to move forward with the plan as scheduled — evaluating and re-evaluating the players on the roster for long-term viability — without having to worry about the national eye on them. But that national eye is especially strong right now, as the bad-start record is almost set. So, what are these national outlets saying? Nothing nice. A few of them are being pretty balanced though.
The Washington Post talked to Brett Brown, who said of his team:
“They are 20 years old and I need to help grow them. And as the media swells and records start to tumble and streaks are imminent or around the corner, then I’ve got to wrap my arms around our guys, coach them hard, tell them the truth but also make sure they don’t feel anything else but strong. And I want a confidence that they feel that they can go out and perform and ultimately win.”
WaPo also points out Brown would become “the fifth coach who failed to win at least 20 of his first 100 games,” mentioning that the two of those other four who were allowed to stick around — Atlanta’s Mike Woodson and Cleveland’s Bill Fitch — were able to turn their squads into playoff teams.
The New York Post calls the Sixers pathetic when talking about them possibly tying the hometown Nets’ record, but then Nets president Rod Thorn admits there is a bright side:
“It’s tough because everything you have ever done was predicated on trying to win. Every player you put out there goes out trying to win. And all you do is lose. It’s tough on everybody: players, coaches, executives …
You have to look at the little things. You play your young players, hope they improve. See guys taking advantage of a chance and maybe coming along.”
The Sixers may be the worst team in NBA history, but they also may not be the worst team in the NBA right now. The T’wolves are 4-12 but 2-10 since point guard Ricky Rubio went down with an ankle injury. They also are without shooting guard Kevin Martin and center Nikola Pekovic, meaning three of their four best players are down.
The article closes out, “if the 76ers are going to win a game, this probably is the one.” Maybe? Possibly? Hopefully? There’s always the Pistons on Saturday too. After that, who knows.