... the Philadelphia 76ers.
This morning I woke up and the 76ers, who aren't really an NBA team but play one on TV, were 1-27 and apparently headed not just for permanent residence in the NBA cellar but for the lower regions of the Earth as a whole. You could call them the worst team in NBA history, but that would be acknowledging them as an actual NBA team, which they're not.
Who they are is barely a D-League team, and not even a good D-League team. They're the Rockford Lightning from the old CBA if the Lightning had been really terrible, which they usually weren't. They're the Dallas Chaparrals of the infant ABA, who've been dead almost 43 years and thus are the perfect representation of a team that plays dead every single night.
Here's the thing, though: As bad as the 76ers are -- willfully bad, and we'll get to that in a minute -- their general manager is a genius.
His name is Sam Hinkie, and he's the architect of what he calls the Process, and it's utterly brilliant. Hinkie, you see, has made putridity a strategy. The strategy is to deliberately lose as many games as possible for several years in a row in order to compile enough lottery picks to eventually be un-putrid. It is, you see, a Process.
Most of us, of course, see the Process as being indistinguishable from just being a horridly run organization. But that's the genius of it. You can apparently be a horridly run organization if you can sell it as part of some grand over-arching plan.
Why no one thought of this before is Hinkie's triumph, of course. I mean, how many college football coaches might have clung to their jobs longer if they'd sold their yearly failures as a Process? Yeah, Fubar Tech hasn't won a game in three years, and we lost 76-0 to Ohio State again. But it's all part of the Process. 1-11, here we come!
Or, 1-81, perhaps.