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At what point do fans of lottery team root for upset win?

Mar 14, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Jrue Holiday AP

It happens every year after the All-Star break (if not earlier in some places) — fans of struggling teams start to root for their team to lose. They want a top draft spot and the best way to get that is to hope for better lottery odds. Fans root for their team to lose so they can rack up more Ping-Pong balls.

But at what point should a fans flip off that switch?

The lottery bound Philadelphia 76ers were leading the Miami Heat last night late when team CEO Adam Aron sent off this tweet (thanks to for the heads up):

So where is that line? Yes, the Sixers went on to lose, but as a Philly fan you can’t root for it at that point, can you?

Personally, I could never root for my team to lose. I may not be as disappointed with the outcome if it helped on the draft board, but I couldn’t imagine myself ever rooting for a team I cared about to lose.

And especially not if you’re close to doing something like breaking the Heat’s streak. That win is a far better sports experience than another Ping-Pong ball.

  1. goraidersgospurs - Mar 14, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    thats a fine coming, oh I forgot it was not POP that said it!!!

  2. RavenzGunnerz - Mar 14, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Hopefully the new CBA fix this super teams desease that has taken over the NBA. Maybe then, I might be able to sit down and watch the Wiz or the 76ers.

    • Kurt Helin - Mar 14, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      Yea, I wish it was like the 1980s when… oh, there were a couple superteams. Or the 1990s when the NBA was at its ratings peak and…. there was one superteam. Or the 1960s when…. you get the idea. Parity doesn’t sell in the NBA. The superpower can be in Cleveland or Washington or wherever, but that’s how it works.

    • kavika6 - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:59 AM

      San Antonio will defy the “super team” concept again this year with their fifth championship. They’re a perfect example of how a team built from scratch can dominate.

  3. thesportsguru7 - Mar 14, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    The Sixers need a lot more than 1 ping pong ball to turn this team into a contender, so of course you gotta cheer for your team to break that streak!

  4. RavenzGunnerz - Mar 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Is it me or does PFT and PBT have better writers than ESPN?

    • pglive21 - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      It’s probably just you. PBT is frequently littered with basic errors and Florio is a windbag.

  5. secularhaze - Mar 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    pretty much all season i’ve been rooting for the suns to lose and the rare times we do get a W…its rather upsetting. sounds terrible, but for months now, the only thing those W’s are doing are hurting us in the long run. we’ll be stuck with another mediocre pick this year.

    • kavika6 - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:01 AM

      Can you really admit that you weren’t happy when the Suns beat their former rivals the Spurs this year in San Antonio?

  6. mrlaloosh - Mar 14, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    They play professional ping-pong in Philadelphia? Maybe they win a championship in that! DREAM TEAM!

  7. dko83 - Mar 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I really hate this about pro sports. There should never be a scenario when a team is incentivized to lose. That world is underlined so it might not be a word but I feel like it is, don’t care. The whole ping pong balls, suck for Luck stuff, I just hate it. Try to win every game. System is broken. Do I have a fix? No. I wish there was a fix though.

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Incentivized: To give incentives to. Yes, it’s a word, but most computer dictionary/spell-checkers are pretty limited. Right click on it, add it to your computer’s dictionary and good on ya for using it.

  8. djjackson81 - Mar 14, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I know Phoenix fans are rooting for Lakers loses for LA’s lottery pick owed to them from LA if they miss playoffs

  9. savvybynature - Mar 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Another reason for a shorter season. Less tanking that affects playoff seeding at the end of seasons.

  10. mrpowers88 - Mar 14, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Is it ok for a CEO/Co-Owner to tweet something like this? I doubt Stern is fine with it

    • kavika6 - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:03 AM

      It’s OK if your name is not Popovich.

  11. chichi78 - Mar 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    I would argue it is an easy fix. Here are 2 options:

    1) Get rid of the weighted ping pong ball system and every NON-PLAYOFF team gets one ping pong ball.


    2) Keep the weighted ping pong ball system, just make it so the non-playoff team with the best record gets the most ping pong balls. So the team with the best record NOT to make the playoffs gets the best odds to get the top pick.

    With either option, the league will have a hell of a lot more 30 win teams at least you have to figure.

  12. imthewiz77 - Mar 14, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    I’m a sixers fan, and you can’t cheer for your team to lose although it is the best outcome. I also pay attention to those other bottom dwellers and hope they win

  13. 1509lucky - Mar 14, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    First of all,do away with the lottery. Everyone knows its rigged. Second,The Sixers are CURSED! Not bad enough to get a Franchise player the lottery and not good enough to go to the next level with a big name Free Agent signing.

    • albertmn - Mar 15, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      If you are discussing the NBA lottery and cursed, I say the conversation starts and ends with the Timberwolves. The Wolves have NEVER improved their position through the lottery, often missing the great players by a spot or two (Laettner instead of Shaq or Mourning, Derrick Williams instead of Kyrie Irving, dropping to 5th and 6th in 2009 when they would have been 2nd and 5th by record and missing a chance at Harden, to name a few).

  14. mcsuave - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    At9 this point, it doesn’t pay to lose. All you would get are a chance at Pingpong Balls.

  15. ramblingalb - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Those who foolishly think the lottery is somehow rigged, don’t forget the Bucks have won it twice. There’s no reason to think for a second it’s not just math.

    And by the way, no true fan ever wants their team to lose. Casual, fair weather fans, who barely pay attention might.

  16. Chris Fiorentino - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    I’m a Sixers fan and was rooting for them to beat the Heat no question about it. Ping pong balls didn’t even enter my mind, and frankly, it annoys me that the owner of my team even had them on his mind when he tweeted that lame attempt at humor during the game.

  17. xxakshunxx - Mar 15, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Not rooting for them to lose, but they NEED to lose.. Their next draft pick is lottery protected so if they make the playoffs they would miss out in the draft

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