Monday, March 24, 2014

Consensus NBA Power Rankings, Week 22

As Yogi Berra once said, it's been "deja vu all over again" for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Losing to the Bulls on Saturday, the 76ers extended their franchise-worst losing streak to 24 games. The previous club record was set more than 40 years ago when the Sixers lost 20 consecutive games in the 1972-73 season.

Not only are the Sixers tied with the Cavs for the second-longest losing streak in NBA history, but the 2010-11 LeBron James-less Cavs squad set the NBA record of 26 straight losses.

Up next for the Sixers are two difficult road matchups against the Spurs (on Monday) and Rockets (on Thursday). If (or should I say when?) the Sixers lose those two games, they will tie the record.

After that point, they have a couple of winnable (or at least, less difficult) games against the Pistons, Hawks, Bobcats and Celtics. All four of those teams have losing records.

As the Sixers continue to tank lose, the obvious goal is to accumulate more ping-pong balls for the lottery and the opportunity to get a stud like Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker in June's NBA Draft. And since they traded Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans last year, the Sixers have two first-rounders in such a highly-touted draft class this year.

[Related: 2014 NBA Mock Draft - 2014 NBA Mock Draft Database]

With the opportunity to rebuild their roster with a couple of lottery picks this year, the Sixers actually have had success with their two lottery picks last year.

Point guard Michael Carter-Williams could possibly win the NBA Rookie of the Year award this year. And while Nerlens Noel has yet to play this season as he recovers from his torn ACL injury, coach Brett Brown has lofty expectations for Noel as he recently compared him to Chicago's Joakim Noah.

“Every time I see Joakim, I hope I’m seeing what we get in Nerlens,” Brown said (via CSN Chicago). “He’s one of the prime examples that I point to as we try to groom a young player.”

Of course, he's not Noah yet, but as a Sixers fan, I'd be thrilled to see Noel develop into a player that is close to what Noah brings to the Bulls.

- Check out our 2013-14 NBA Power Rankings for Week 22

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