The Philadelphia 76ers are 0-14 with a historically bad offense — potentially the worst in NBA history — and a bottom 10 defense. Some people are already asking if this is the worst team in NBA history and, while it’s early, watching them you have to think it’s possible. You don’t look down their schedule and think “there’s a win.”
It’s not a good look for the league. Even Sixers fans who intellectually understand the naked “being bad to get good talent” system the Sixers are employing are frustrated. The Sixers level of tanking is on its way to being a national story.
So, Commissioner Adam Silver what is the league going to do about it? That’s what Frank Isola, Knicks reporter for the New York Daily News and radio host on Sirius XM’s NBA Radio, asked the Commissioner on Wednesday — would the league step in and do anything about the Sixers?
“Would the league step in and do what?” Silver responded. “I think ultimately management/ownership of teams make decisions on how to structure a roster and to plan for the future and this is a decision they made and they’re going to have to live with it. There’s no magic bullet from the league office.”
He’s right. The die is cast for this season, it’s not like the league can make the Raptors give Philly Kyle Lowry. The owners could have voted this past summer to flatten out the lottery odds and made tanking (and sorry Sixers, it is tanking) a less attractive option. They didn’t. So the Sixers are going to be bad, get their picks and we’ll see around 2018 or so if the strategy worked.
A couple other topics Silver was asked about:
• Silver was in Milwaukee Tuesday and when asked about the progress toward a new stadium he said, “They’re on track.” There is going to be opposition to the plan but…
“There are always going to be people who question, and understandably, why taxpayers should be participating in a new arena but as I explained to the community there, the last thing this ownership group is looking for is a handout, this is kind of an ideal public/private partnership that ultimately this community needs a new area that will be the anchor of a larger downtown development.”
• Tom Ziller has been writing some interesting stuff about this over at SB Nation: Should the NBA do away with conferences and just invite the 16 best teams to the playoffs? It’s not simple, right now the NBA plays an unbalanced schedule (Western Conference teams play other Western teams more than Eastern teams) but, as always, Silver said he’d be open to discussing it.
“I’m not saying that’s a bad idea. I’m only saying that if we’re going to look at it it is a lot more complicated than just saying, ‘Alright, let’s take the existing schedule, get to the end of the season and seed them one through 16. It is an interesting idea. Incidentally, Frank, as I travel around the league it is an idea that I’ve heard from lots of people which means it is something fans are focused on. And so it is something that our competition committee should take a fresh look at.”