Just over a month ago, I sat down and explored which scenario the Philadelphia 76ers would likely want to see more. A first round matchup with the Jimmy Butler led Miami Heat, or a first round matchup against their longtime rival up in Boston. While I eventually settled in on the Heat (you can check out that story: here), the NBA season currently being up in the air has changed a lot about how people are viewing the postseason.
While fans aren’t necessarily thrilled about the potential of an abbreviated playoff bracket, fewer postseason games is something the Sixers organization would absolutely love to see. If early round series’ are shortened to three games as opposed to seven, it may not even matter who the Sixers get matched up with.
It’s no secret, the Sixers have really struggled to stay healthy this season.
Joel Embiid missed an extended period of time with a torn ligament in his hand, Josh Richardson has had repeated hamstring issues, Shake Milton sprained his knee earlier in the season, Al Horford looks fatigued and worn down, and of course Ben Simmons was nursing a nerve injury in has back before the league-wide suspension of games.
With such a loaded eastern conference this year, the idea that the Sixers could have had to play multiple seven games series sounded like a complete nightmare. A shortened playoff bracket equals less games, which ultimately means less time that the banged up Sixers have to stay healthy.
Lack of Consistency
On top of their repeated injury problems, the other major issue that has plagued this Sixers team is their lack of overall consistency. One night they blow out a legit contender by 20+, the next night they’re losing to the Atlanta Hawks.
As mentioned before, there was an extremely high chance that a lot of the early rounds in the eastern conference would be pushing to seven games. Pretty much all of the first six seeds have a legit claim to being called finals contenders.
With a potentially shortened series in place, the Sixers would now just be required to win two or three games, as opposed to four. The team would need just a few games of Al Horford not being terrible, or just a few games of Tobias Harris catching fire from three.
While this speaks more to the fact that teams will have not played with each other for a few months, this extended break away from team-oriented basketball also favors the Sixers.
While this isn’t necessarily a compliment, the Sixers never really flashed any true chemistry during the regular season to begin with. Lineups and rotations changed on a daily basis and a majority of the offense came from individually-based efforts.
While teams like Boston and Toronto relied heavily on their play calling and on-court chemistry, the Sixers more or less were just a group of guys playing pickup. Despite the long layoff from practices and scrimmages, don’t be surprised when the 76ers still look like the same team.
Ultimately, nothing has been decided quite yet in terms of the remainder of the 2019-20 season. While nobody ever wants *less* basketball, a shortened playoff series here or there should legitimately improve the Sixers’ chances at making a run in the postseason.
Check out some of the recent entires in our other Sixers-related series running at the moment:
“Season in Review”: https://phillysportsnetwork.com/2020/04/06/season-in-review-kyle-oquinn/
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports