The Philadelphia 76ers had very high hopes for this season. At the very least, the Sixers expected to finish above .500, just as they did last year. But the Sixers had a winning record in a lockout shortened season last year, whereas finishing above .500 in a full 82-game schedule remains all too elusive in Philadelphia.
With their 101-72 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on March 20, the Sixers dropped to 26-41 overall. Unless they impersonate the Miami Heat or Denver Nuggets and win 15 straight games, the Sixers will finish with another losing record. This is nothing new in Philadelphia when there isn’t a lockout to make things easier.
The last time the Sixers had a real winning record was in the 2004-05 season, when they finished 43-39. Since then, Philadelphia has done no better than a .500 record in 2008-09 and 2010-11, at least in a non-lockout year. Even when the Sixers finished 35-31 in 2011-12, they slumped enough at the end of the regular season that they could have gone below .500 with 16 more games.
Philadelphia didn’t wait as long to go below .500 this time around. In fact, this stands to be one of the Sixers’ worst full seasons since 2004-05. They won’t sink as far as 27-55, like they did in 2009-10, but they may be lucky to match their 35 wins in 2006-07.
When the summer started, the Sixers were confident that they could take the next step. However, Philadelphia can’t be a real contender until it reaches the bare minimum of over 41 wins in one season. Most franchises have done this at least once in the last eight years, but the Sixers are not that lucky.
For all of their wins in the playoffs last year, the biggest win in recent Sixers history will be when they win their 42’nd game in some future regular season. Unfortunately, that milestone and that regular season looks pretty far away at the moment.