The post-Lebron Cleveland Cavaliers have the dubious distinction of losing 26 straight games in 2011. The Sixers next contest is tonight on the road against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are on a 4-game winning streak and have something to play for. Kevin McHale and company are just one game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the third seed in the Western Conference. Houston is also 28-7 at home – it’s not looking good for Philly.
That being said, the future is bright for the Sixers and their fan base. The 15-56 team is on pace to have the second most lottery balls in the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery. If this was last year, that wouldn’t mean much but the 2014 draft could be chocked full of franchise-changing talent.
Even if the Sixers don’t win the Lottery they are sure to draft a top-tier talent. Philadelphia also owns New Orleans’ draft pick from the Jrue Holiday trade.
In addition to being armed with two lottery picks and a couple of second rounders the Sixers will have approximately $30 million to spend on free agents. Players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have early termination options in their contracts and aren’t likely to join the Sixers even if they choose to opt out. More reasonable options like Cleveland’s Luol Deng and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry will be there for the taking.
Philadelphia does not have to hit a home run in free agency. With two first round draft picks and pieces like Rookie of the Year favorite Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel in place, it’s probably best to build around the 76ers’ young talent with solid role players at a bargain rate.
Philly could fill their roster with 1-year rentals and go all-out in 2015 with a free agent class that includes Kevin Love, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Rajon Rondo, Brook Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Marc Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Either way, the Philadelphia 76ers are in better shape than their 25-game losing streak would indicate. The long term outlook for the Sixers is much brighter than the rest of the Eastern Conference’s lottery teams, which makes them a playoff team in a few years and possibly a contender down the line. It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia, but pretty soon it will be.