OKC Thunder: 3 keys versus 76ers and facing Joel Embiid

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OKC Thunder

OKC Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers 3 Keys: Joel Embiid (21) and guard Ben Simmons (25) celebrate: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

While the OKC Thunder are doing what they need to by losing games in order to improve their draft position it’s never fun to witness constant losing.

With five losses in a row, four by blowouts, it’s a reminder of how hard this process can be on both the team and the fan base. Certainly, the fact the team overachieved early in the season made things more palatable.

Yet, the reality is this current trend could potentially be what Thunder Nation could experience for years on end if they are to capitalize on the hoard of draft picks Sam Presti amassed.

Three keys to OKC Thunder sweeping the Philadelphia 76ers:

Entering the match the Thunder are on a current five-game losing streak. It’s the first time this season OKC has lost more than three games in a row. The most recent loss occurred versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. All five matches were lost by double digits with four of the five by 24 or more points.

The 76ers are 7-4 through their last 11 matches but enter this contest having played Friday night in a losing effort to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Suffice to say these two teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Intentions dive into three keys to the match…

Tanking is a ‘Process’

If there is a fan base that can relate, it’s the team who invented ‘the process’ and who’ll be in town tonight — the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly endured that process for five seasons beginning in 2012-13 and lasting through to the 2016-17 season. They collected 34, 19, 18, 10, and 28 wins out of 82 games through those years.

To put that level of tanking in perspective the Thunder have won 20 games this season through 52 games or a 38.6 win percentage. Only one of the 76ers seasons had that high of a win percentage with the worst being 12.1 percent or three times worse than OKC has performed in this campaign.

Considering, how debilitating losses are and the recent Thunder losing streak it’s a tough pill to swallow that in order to net those great draft picks the Thunder would conceivably have to perform three times worse than they have this season!

Let’s hope the draft picks produce a faster ascent than what the 76ers went through in order to get Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and other talents as they worked back to prominence.

Philly began the season strong and held the top ladder rung in the East for most of the season. They navigated COVID-19 and injuries and although they’ve dropped to second in the East, they are just one game back of the Brooklyn Nets.

Three teams in the East have separated themselves from the pace, the Nets, 76ers, and Bucks. The big question facing all the teams in the East is whether the Nets’ three superstars and additions of both Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge will derail their title chase simply because Brooklyn loaded up on stars and got the benefit of adding two former All-Stars on veteran minimum contracts.

As Thunder Nation is learning quickly not being in the playoff picture isn’t nearly as fun as the past 12 seasons. Imagine going through four more years of this plus another three to reach the apex only to have the Lakers or another Western team amass a superstar-laden squad.

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