Last night's Nuggets/Sixers debacle was one of my favorite losses of all time. The Sixers played inspired basketball in the final moments to pull off an improbable tank job the likes of which we've nev-- okay we've seen it before but last night was pretty awesome. Thaddeus Young leaving Corey Brewer wide open for three, Evan Turner toilet-bowling out two foul shots, Damien Wilkins fouling Corey Brewer on a three, then Wilkins taking the best contested 22-footer I've ever seen -- blocked by two people. The boys stepped up their game.
After the fact, most Sixers fans were celebrating this hilarious loss (up 5 with 14 seconds left!) because these days, most of us Daven at the Synagogue of Lucy the Giant Tanking Octopus. Obviously, not everyone feels this way. The idea of rooting for losses is second nature to me because the Sixers have been bad or mediocre for so long that bottoming out is my Insectopia. It's certainly not that I like losing (as my parents/friends/walls can attest), but I can readily acknowledge that in the NBA, the best way to get better is to get bad first.
John Finger disagrees.
I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the idea of tanking. Hate it. I hate racism, injustice and losing. Hate. Only losers like losing. #rantTalk— John R. Finger (@jrfingerCSN) March 22, 2013
If you're a casual fan going to a basketball game and you want to see YOUR TEAM win, I get how tanking doesn't have much appeal. You're not in it for the long haul, you just want the Good Guys to win tonight because that's how you see it.
But John writes for the Sixers. He's clearly invested in this franchise. The Sixers are 16 games under .500 with 14 to play. They are not making the playoffs. Doug Collins said last night that they are not making the playoffs. Losing games does nothing but get them a higher chance at a better draft pick. Winning games costs them ping pong balls. This team is not on its way up. They're not the Cavs. Or the Thunder in Durant's first year. They have limited assets. Most of this roster should not be back next season. The coach should not be back next season. "Losing culture" carrying over between different regimes does not exist.
So if you're still in the winning games camp, then you're not thinking about the future. You don't care about what's good for the franchise. It's like saying you hate outside shooting on a team that has a ton of three-point specialists. You have your own personal beliefs or preferences and it's clouding what's best for the team. No one likes losing (though I do enjoy being called a loser). But in the NBA, that's how you get better. Hate on the NBA's system for rewarding shitty teams. But the teams that are focusing on development over a few meaningless wins are playing the system right.
There are 14 games left. The Sixers are slotted for the 10th pick. They are 4 games away from the 3rd pick. 8.5 games away from the 8th seed. What should they do?