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.

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

CSN, TCN to air 25 of Union's 34 games in 2017

Twenty-five of the Union’s 34 games in 2017 will be featured on CSN and TCN, as Jim Curtin’s club vies for a second straight playoff berth.

Twenty matches will air on TCN, while five can be seen on CSN. The nine others will be appear across 6ABC, ESPN and FOX Sports 1.

The Union’s season opener on March 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps will broadcast on TCN and the team’s home opener on March 11 against Toronto FC will air on CSN. The next three games — March 18 at Orlando City SC, April 1 at D.C. United and April 8 vs. the Portland Timbers — will be shown on TCN.

The Union are coming off an 11-14-9 season and their second-ever trip to the MLS playoffs in which they suffered a first-round exit to Toronto FC.

For the Union’s full 2017 schedule, click here.

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

Best of NHL: Toews nets hat trick in Blackhawks' win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.

Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.

Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.

Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it (see full recap).

Islanders open 9-game road trip with win
DETROIT -- Calvin de Haan was credited with a go-ahead goal that caromed off an opponent late in the second period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 Tuesday night.

De Haan's shot from above the left circle was stopped by Petr Mrazek, but the rebound went off Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet and the back of the goaltender's left leg and into the net. John Tavares scored early in the third period to give the Islanders a two-goal lead and they coasted to the victory.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for New York.

Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit and Mrazek finished with 19 saves.

The Islanders, in contention for a wild-card spot, began a stretch of nine straight road games by winning for the third time in four games and improved to 8-13-4 away from home (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins take care of Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Scott Wilson also scored to help the reigning Stanley Cup champions bounce back from their only loss since the All-Star break. Pittsburgh moved three points behind East-leading Washington and is 7-1-3 since the break.

Jeff Skinner scored for the last-place Hurricanes, who have their second five-game losing streak in the past five weeks. They have been outscored 19-4 during the current slide.

Matt Murray made 29 saves for the Penguins while Cam Ward stopped 19 shots for Carolina (see full recap).