Experts Agree: The Sixers Are Gonna Be the Absolute Worst Next Season

Experts Agree: The Sixers Are Gonna Be the Absolute Worst Next Season

Well, we traded our only reliable offensive creator, we drafted a guy who might not play at all next year, and we still don't have coach. Aside from that, things are looking bright for the Philadelphia 76ers--seriously, we got all them prospects and draft picks and cap space and whatnot--but obviously, winning games next year does not appear to be a top priority. Indeed, a whole lot of people think that they just might end up winning fewer games than any other team next season.

This includes Bill Simmons of Grantland, who today evaluated the Sixers as the best bet (+120) to win the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes (a.k.a. "Riggin' for Wiggins") in next year's draft lottery. Simbo writes:

Philly (+120): They're cruising a few million under the league's salary floor,11 with no real interest in signing anyone else. (They didn't even halfheartedly pursue Pekovic.) They haven't hired a coach yet. Their offense revolves around Evan Turner and Thad Young. They're bringing in two lottery picks from the worst draft in 13 years — one (Noel) is recovering from major knee surgery, the other (Michael Carter-Williams) can't shoot and might not even be a point guard. And their organization seems totally fine with sucking as flagrantly as possible. This is gonna be tough to beat, folks.

You know what the last piece of the Riggin' for Wiggins puzzle is for the Sixers? I have four words for you: that's right, "Head coach Allen Iverson."

Very original on that last point, Bill.

Simmons isn't the only one who seems to think the Sixers are headed for the cellar in '13-'14. The SB Nation NBA blogger community recently assembled their aggregate Power Rankings going into the next season, with the Heat a unanimous choice for #1, and the Sixers a not-quite-unanimous-but-pretty-close choice for #30. (The average ranking among the 22 bloggers was a 29.7, and no one had them listed higher than 27.) Jason Patt, who assembled the rankings, sympathizes:

And finally, those poor Sixers. It's going to be a rough go for them next year, although that's pretty much the plan. If the Basketball Gods have any mercy, Philadelphia wins the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes in exchange for dealing with the Bynum nightmare.

That would be a start, sure. In the meantime, though, get ready for more L's than a full Tetris screen next season. You heard it everywhere first.

Watch: The Phillies pulled off the old double steal

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Watch: The Phillies pulled off the old double steal

The Philadelphia Phillies are attempting to salvage something this afternoon in Detroit this as they take on the Tigers. The Fightins got on the board early and hold a 2-0 lead midway through the second.

After a Peter Bourjos single scored Ryan Howard, Odubel Herrera came up to bat and didn't even have to move to get another run in.

The Phillies pulled off a double steal with Bourjos taking second which allowed Andres Blanco to come home easily.

With the Phils showing such little pop at the plate this season, a little hustle and ingenuity is needed.

Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

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Today's lineup: Phillies try to salvage game against struggling Anibal Sanchez

Justin Verlander mowed down the Phillies last night in a 3-1 Tigers victory, but the Phils have a chance to strike back this afternoon against a struggling pitcher who hasn't had much career success against them.

Anibal Sanchez will take the hill for the Tigers and oppose Aaron Nola in today's series finale (1:10 p.m. on CSN). To say Sanchez hasn't had a great start to his season would be an understatement. He's 3-5 with a 6.32 ERA and opponents are batting .270 against him.

In his career against the Phillies, Sanchez is just 4-8 with a 4.94 ERA. Granted, most of those numbers came in the early part of his career with the Florida Marlins, when he regularly faced powerful Phillies lineups. As one might expect, Ryan Howard, who is again in the lineup today as the designated hitter and batting fifth, has seen Sanchez plenty of times. His 42 at-bats against Sanchez are tied for third-most against the 32-year-old righty. Howard's done OK against Sanchez — 9 for 31 (.290 average) with two homers and four RBI. Maybe some familiarity will finally lead to a breakout game for Howard. But, if his massive slump is any indication, maybe not.

For as poor as Sanchez's start to the season has been, Aaron Nola's first six weeks of 2016 have been at the other end of the spectrum.

Today's Phillies starter is 3-3 with a 2.85 ERA. But he's been better than those numbers show.

His .900 WHIP is third in the NL, as is his 5.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 6.45 hits allowed per nine innings is fourth in the NL, as is his 1.65 walks per nine innings. His 64 strikeouts rank eighth in the NL. Imagine if he got more than the 2.89 runs of support he's been getting in his starts.

As for the rest of the Phillies' lineup today, the only changes see Andres Blanco getting the start for Cesar Hernandez, batting seventh and Cameron Rupp behind the plate, batting sixth.

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera CF
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Maikel Franco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Ryan Howard DH
6. Cameron Rupp C
7. Andres Blanco 2B
8. Tyler Goeddell LF
9. Peter Bourjos 1B

Tigers
1. Cameron Maybin CF
2. J.D. Martinez RF
3. Miguel Cabrera DH
4. Victor Martinez 1B
5. Nick Castellanos 3B
6. Steven Moya LF
7. James McCann C
8. Mike Aviles 2B
9. Jose Iglesias SS

Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

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Watch: Miguel Cabrera gives Jeremy Hellickson thumbs up for fooling him on nasty pitch

The Phillies once again couldn't find much offense and fell to the Tigers in Detroit last night by a final of 3-1.

But at least the pitching showed something.

There was a fun moment between Jeremy Hellickson and Miguel Cabrera after Hellickson threw quite a nice pitch that fooled Miggy.

Here's how Jim Salisbury described the fun battle:

Hellickson served up a down-the-middle fastball to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and Cabrera swatted it for an RBI double. He has four RBIs in the first two games against the Phillies.
 
In the third inning, Hellickson struck Cabrera out on a nasty changeup for the third out. The pitch was so good that Cabrera flashed Hellickson a thumbs-up before spiking his helmet to the ground.
 
Hellickson’s changeup has been very good lately.
 
“I really feel comfortable with it right now and I’m throwing it for a lot of strikes,” he said.

And here's the thumbs up: