COMMENTARY | After their first 11 games of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers are in first place in the Atlantic division with a 5-6 record. That's far from gaining the most ping pong balls in order to land the No. 1 draft pick.
A lot of talk has gone on about whether the Philadelphia 76ers should tank this season in order to gain the most opportunities for the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, which would most likely be the much-hyped Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins looks like a special talent, but Philadelphia shouldn't try to tank for Wiggins.
No guarantees in NBA draft
The entire purpose of the lottery is to stop tanking.
No team with the worst record has earned the top pick since the Orlando Magic in 2004. Since the weighted lottery started in 1990, only three teams with the worst record have earned the top pick.
Why go through the embarrassment of purposely losing games to not come away with the desired prize? Remember the egg on the face of the Boston Celtics in 1997 when they wound up with the third overall pick and missed out on Tim Duncan?
Also, Wiggins hasn't officially declared for the draft and there is the tiniest chance he stays in school. Or that No. 1 picks since 1990 include Greg Oden, Andrea Bargnani, Andrew Bogut, Michael Olowokandi and Joe Smith.
Depth in the draft
Many say that this is one of the deepest drafts in recent history. Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Dante Exum have all been labeled as can't-miss guys and many were fawning over Marcus Smart last year.
Even if Philadelphia doesn't land the top pick, there are still other impact players available.
How else can they tank?
The team traded its lone All-Star. Only four players on the 15-man roster have over three years of NBA experience. They already shut down prized rookie Nerlens Noel for the entire season.
Other than purposely missing shots and purposely turning the ball over, what else is left?
Trading Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, and/or Spencer Hawes? While the team might win a few more games with those guys on the roster, Turner and Hawes are on expiring contracts. If they aren't part of the team's future plans, why not try and get some value in exchange for them?
When a team is rebuilding, it brings in young guys who haven't gotten an opportunity in the league in order to see if they can be credible NBA players.
One can't expect young players like Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson and Tony Wroten to be OK with purposely losing games. This is their opportunity to show they can play in the NBA. They're going to do what they can to prove that.
The same can be said for first-year coach Brett Brown. This is his first, and maybe last, chance to prove he can lead an NBA team.
Just not good enough
The saying is that the cream rises to the crop. The 76ers just aren't good enough to compete for the entire season.
Defensively, they are 21st in the league in opponent shooting percentage. They've also given up the most point per game in the league, a whopping 111.1 points per game.
The Sixers are also tied for 26th in the league in turnovers per game.
When you don't play defense and you turn the ball over, you won't win many games over the course of an 82-game season. This team doesn't have to try to lose games; it will lose just because it isn't as good.
Phil Shore lives in New Jersey and is the creator and editor of Shore Thing Sports blog. He's been published in The Boston Globe, Philly.com, FoxSoccer.com, LaxMagazine.com and New England Lacrosse Journal.
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