Remembering back to last season, the Philadelphia 76ers rolled out a starting lineup of a jump shot-less Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and Markelle Fultz. After a couple of big trades, general manager Elton Brand made a splash for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Odds for the Sixers to win the East skyrocketed. However, Kahwi Leonard and his laugh ended the Sixers season in an ECF game 7 buzzer-beater.
Since then, fans have watched Jimmy Butler shipped off to the Miami Heat in a trade-and-sign, Tobias Harris earn a max contract to stay in Philly, and the team sign Embiid’s Achilles heel, lockdown C/PF Al Horford to a 4-year/ $109 million contract. Along with the team keeping the Mike Scott Hive together and countless Simmons’ jump shot videos dropping on Twitter, Sixers nation is exploding with anticipation for the upcoming season.
Who Is This Team?
Despite averaging a whopping 115.2 points per game, good enough for fourth-best in the NBA, the Sixers managed to lack on the defensive end. Analyitcally speaking, the Sixers also let up an 11th worst 112.5 points per game last season. Knowing this, aggressive general manager Elton Brand wanted to bolster the team’s backcourt. After acquiring Al Horford and Josh Richardson, the Sixers not only display size, however, one of the best defenses in the league.
The team now starts a starting five of:
- Joel Embiid (2018-2019 104.8 def. rating)
- Ben Simmons (2018-2019 108.9 def. rating)
- Al Horford (2018-2019 106.4 def. rating)
- Josh Richardson (2018-2019 105.6 def. rating)
- Tobias Harris (2018-2019 110.5 def. rating)
The defense will be the strength of this team, but the Sixers and coach Brett Brown will look to continue their top offense as well. With adding Richardson and keeping Tobias, as well as Simmons looking to heave up some three’s, the Sixers look to spread out the court and dominate the East.
For the Betting Crew:
As someone who loves futures bets, let’s just run over what Vegas expects out of the team this year:
- The 4th best odds to bring a parade to Broad St. at 8-1 odds.
- The 2nd best odds to win the East, at 3-2 odds.
- Best odds to win the division, at 4-9 odds.
- Embiid holds the 7th best MVP odds, at 12-1.
- According to five-thirty-eight, the team holds a 98% chance to make the playoffs, and a 10% chance to win the title.
Offense wins games, but “defense wins championships” as the great Bear Bryant would say. With the lockdown presence of Horford, Richardson, Simmons, Harris, and Embiid starting games, then names such as rookie Matisse Thybulle, Zahire Smith, and fan-favorite Mike Scott bringing more defense and energy to the second unit, Sixers fans should anticipate plenty of cheers, fun, and most importantly, wins.
With about a week until the regular season, leave your predictions below in the comments. Assuming there is a couple of key role players sitting as buyouts at the deadline, Sixers will defeat the Clippers in six in the NBA finals. Just Trust the Process.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports