This tactic, said one Eastern Conference executive, is having "a negative effect on the integrity of the NBA." He believes the proposed new format, which could come to a league vote in the fall, would go a long way in preventing teams from duplicating what the Sixers are doing.
Under the current format, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of receiving the top pick in the draft lottery. The squad with the second-worst record has a 19.9 percent chance, while the third-worst team has a 15.6 chance of getting the No. 1 pick. The odds keep shrinking until the lottery team with the best record has a 0.5 percent chance of moving up to No. 1.
Several aspects of the proposed format have yet to be finalized. But it would balance out the odds so all 14 lottery teams would have a chance to win the top pick.
The proposal would give at least the teams with the four worst records an equal 11 percent chance of winning the top pick. The next team would receive a 10 percent chance. The lottery team with the best record would have a 2 percent chance of finishing first.
The NBA Board of Governors could vote to pass the proposal during its preseason meeting in October. If it passes, the Sixers would not benefit from another season of tanking.
The Sixers believe they are just taking advantage of a system that has been in place, and they're not the first team to do so.
However, a league source said that teams believe the Sixers made a mockery of the rules by fielding a roster full of NBA Development League talent.
Last season, the Sixers ranked next to last in the NBA to the Milwaukee Bucks in overall attendance (15,655) and home attendance (13,869).
The Sixers finished 19-63 two seasons removed from being one win away from reaching the Eastern Conference finals.
There was a 13-game road losing streak. There were the back-to-back road losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors by a combined 88 points. And who can forget the 26-game losing streak that matched the record for consecutive losses by a U.S. pro sports team?
And there were the 28 players on the roster at one time or another. Six of those players were on 10-day contracts. Two others - Danny Granger and Earl Clark - never played a game. The final roster had eight players with at least one stint in the D-League during their careers.
Much of the same is expected for next season.
The Sixers have not made any free-agent acquisitions and are $30 million under the salary cap. They also acquired two first-rounders in center Joel Embiid and forward Dario Saric who might not see the court next season.
Embiid could miss the entire season with a fractured right foot. Saric signed a three-year contract last month to play in the Turkish League. The standout forward is expected to spend at least two years overseas.
The Sixers also have tried to trade power forward Thaddeus Young, arguably their best player.
So although the pieces seem to be in place for another dismal season, the Sixers might not benefit from it come draft night.