When the Pacers beat the Sixers on Monday night, the story was not about Indiana increasing its lead on the Heat to 3 1/2 games. No, the conversation centered strictly on the Sixers losing their 21st consecutive game, a record high for the franchise.
The Sixers have 15 more opportunities to snap their losing streak and until they do, the conversation will continue to grow, much to the chagrin of coach Brett Brown and his players.
"It could have been more palatable if you had sprinkled those 15 wins a little differently and didn’t get on a streak," Brown said. “We still don’t have the worst record, but the streak has caught people’s attention and that is fair enough."
The questions keep coming. Did you know it would be this bad? How do you feel about being a part of 21 straight losses? Will you win again?
"To say I knew we were going to break a record, that was always in the possible forecast,” Brown said. “For people to think stuff like this wouldn’t happen I say, 'Really?'
“We started the season at X and then on trade deadline night we went to Y. We acquired draft picks, we acquired future young talent, but we took a further step toward the direction of a rebuild. We are trying to get youth and confirm that we are developing. So to find ourselves at this stage and for it to be a shock to others is surprising to me.”
Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen, the veterans dealt at the trade deadline, have NBA talent. The players that have taken those vacated roster spots are not of equal talent -- not by a long shot.
Still, Brown tries mightily to explain the process of looking for “keepers” as this rebuild moves forward.
But there is a counter argument -- this team is in the midst of the sixth-longest losing streak in the history of the NBA and they have 15 wins total. How many keepers can truly be in the Sixers' mix right now?
“I have said for awhile now that we will be ruthless and aggressive with who we think are keepers and people who are capable of playing NBA basketball at a high level moving forward,” Brown said. “Some of that is projection but that is what they pay us to do: try and find talent and develop it.”
Brown believes in the process, only he needs time to prove it works.