In an “advanced model simulation” run by a data scientist backed fantasy sports website, the Philadelphia 76ers were given little-to-no shot at winning this year’s NBA Finals.
As of this past Thursday, the NBA season is set to return this summer. Targeting a return to play in late July, 22 NBA teams will first play out eight regular season games before beginning the 2020 playoffs. Considering the Sixers are currently nine games ahead of the 8th seed Orlando magic, they have officially clinched a playoff spot.
Prior to the 2019-20 season beginning, the Sixers were actually regarded as one of the top favorites to win the NBA Finals. According to “Basketball Reference’s” preseason betting odds, the Sixers were the fifth best team in basketball.
A few months later and the Sixers aren’t even the fifth best team in their own conference. Rival teams like Miami, Boston, and Indiana have all leapfrogged the Sixers in terms of championship potential in the eyes of the sports betting world.
It should come as no surprise that opinion of Philly has soured, the 2019-20 Sixers have been a bit of a disaster. The Al Horford signing has turned into quite the failure, injuries have consistently kept the team’s best players out of action (Embiid, Simmons, Richardson), and a majority of their veteran additions haven’t panned out (Burke, Neto, O’Quinn, Scott).
With many fans calling for a top 1-2 seed this year, the Sixers have unquestionably underachieved.
When it comes to the specific percentages that “SportsLine” laid out, there’s some key talking points to pay attention to. For starters, their simulation had Indiana and Philadelphia nearly identical in terms of success. Currently, the Sixers and the Pacers are tied for the 5th seed. Whoever ends up with the higher spot may very well be the more successful team in this year’s postseason.
Secondly, the model has Miami with a 0.4% chance of winning the Finals. A potential first-round matchup for the Sixers, this could be an opponent the Sixers would prefer early in the playoffs.
The Sixers obviously didn’t live up to the hype they gathered over the summer. However, maybe a switch in tone towards an “underdog” mindset may aid them come August.
Mandatory Credit – © Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
David is a 20 year old college student at the University of Maryland. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan who started covering the teams back in late May of 2019. After just a few months of writing for fun on a personal blog, he now reports on the 76ers for PhillySportsNetwork.com and the Phillies for Fansided.com.