When the 76ers decided to rebuild through the draft, everyone knew they would slip significantly.
It was just a question of how far the tanking Sixers would fall.
The answer is that the Sixers, two years removed from the postseason, are on par with one of the most infamous teams in sports history when it comes to consecutive losses. They suffered a 103-77 setback to the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It was their 20th consecutive defeat, tying the franchise record set by the 1972-73 squad that finished 9-73.
The 77 points represented their lowest scoring output of the season.
"We are not worried about that," reserve point guard Tony Wroten said of what the losing streak signifies. "Every time we step on the floor, we are trying to win the game. It's tough we are losing consecutive [games]. But it's about the NBA, you play another day."
A loss Monday night at Indiana would give this season's Sixers (15-51) sole possession of the franchise record. They are also closing in on the NBA record for consecutive losses (26) set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.
Openly tanking is one thing. Being linked to the 1972-73 Sixers and 2010-11 Cavs is different, right?
"To suggest things where it's, 'Oh my God, you don't want your name associated with it or these players,' not for me," said rookie head coach Brett Brown. "It's not something that influences how I do my job."
Dealing with losses on a daily basis can be draining, however, especially for Brown, who won four championship rings as an assistant for the Spurs. Ten of the Sixers' last 11 losses were by double digits. They have been defeated in 30 of their last 33 games.
Brown is not concerned.
"This is not slit-your-wrist time," he said. "This is not even close to that. This is about building a program and understanding the short-term pain for long-term gain."
The Grizzlies (39-27) took advantage of the present-day Sixers, who are the youngest squad in the history of the NBA. This team also has eight players with stints in the NBA Development League.
Memphis opened the third quarter with a 17-6 run to take a commanding 62-42 lead with 6 minutes, 46 seconds left in the quarter.
Point guard Mike Conley led Memphis with 19 points.
Rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams had game highs of 23 points and eight assists in a losing effort. Power forward Thaddeus Young added 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals, and 3 assists. The duo combined to shoot 18 for 35, while the rest of the team was 13 for 48.
Sixers shooting guard James Anderson left the game with a right-thigh bruise with 7:14 left and didn't return. Brown doesn't expect Anderson to travel with the team for Monday's game at Indiana.
The Sixers appear destined to break the Cavaliers' losing streak with games coming up against the Pacers, Chicago (Wednesday), New York (Friday), Chicago (Saturday), San Antonio (March 24), Houston (March 27), and Detroit (March 29).
"I've been asked by so many different people 'Why would you take the job? You are going to screw up your coaching . . . record,' " Brown said. "As if I cared about that. I knew what I was getting into."
Moultrie demoted. Arnett Moultrie was officially assigned to the Delaware 87ers on Saturday. This is the power forward/center's second assignment to the Sixers' D-League affiliate.