NBA infamy is hovering over the 76ers like a buzzard eying a dead carcass.
A loss to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center will mark their 27th straight loss. That would give them the record for consecutive losses by a U.S. professional team.
Based on this season’s previous matchups with Detroit (26-45), a loss appears unavoidable for the Sixers (15-57).
Just don’t tell that to Thaddeus Young.
“I always felt like we can go into any game and beat anybody on any given night,” the Sixers power forward said. “So every game is a must-win for me personally, for the team. ... And we all talk about having the same goals as going out there and try to win a game.”
But their goals have been nothing more than wishful thinking since besting the Boston Celtics on Jan. 29.
Instead, they equaled the futility run established by Louisville of the American Association baseball league in 1889. The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers matched that losing streak over the 1976 and 1977 seasons. The Cleveland Cavaliers tied that record and set an NBA mark with 26 straight losses during the 2010-11 season.
Now, they’ll face a Pistons team that swept this season’s previous three meetings by an average of 14 points.
Detroit is averaging 114 points, shooting 44 percent and blocking 9.67 shots against the Sixers. The Pistons are also out-rebounding them by 16.7 boards.
A lot of that has to do with the Sixers inability to stop the Detroit’s towering front court of 6-foot-11 center Andre Drummond, 6-11 power forward Greg Monroe and 6-9 small forward Josh Smith.
Drummond averages 21.3 points, 15 rebounds, 4.33 blocks and 2.33 steals in three meetings. The second-year product, out of Connecticut, had career highs of 31 points and six steals in a 115-100 victory over the Sixers on Dec. 1. He posted a career-high six blocks in 114-104 win against the Sixers on Jan. 10.
Those performances came against NBA veterans Young Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and Daniel Orton. Hawes (Cleveland) and Allen (Indiana Pacers) have since been traded, while Orton was waived.
On Saturday, newcomers Henry Sims (Cavs), Jarvis Varnado (NBA Development League) and Byron Mullens (Los Angeles Clippers) will help Young in the front count. The Sixers are evaluating all three players to see if they fit into the team’s future plans. There are also sacrificing wins to secure a top pick in June’s NBA draft.
“We’re on a different path,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said of the losing streak. “We see the whole thing through a different lens.”