Mar 03 2014

Will the Sixers Lose Out? Don’t Bet On It.

Count Brett Brown among those thinking about the potential season-ending 36-game losing streak.

After Saturday’s 122-103 loss to the Washington Wizards, when asked if he’s spoken with the players about the possibility of losing out, Brown responded, “All the time and I tell them that.”

While losing out is mathematically possible—the Sixers won’t be favored in another game this season, per TeamRankings.com—the likelihood of that happening is infinitesimal.

Based on TeamRankings’ projections, the odds of the Sixers losing their final 22 games are just over 1.1 percent.
(See here for the math.)

Between tanking opponents and contenders resting their stars, the Sixers will have plenty of chances to end the streak. Their best shot, according to the projections, comes this Saturday at home against Utah, where they have a 39.2 percent chance of winning. Other potential wins include their April 14 home tilt against Boston (36.9 percent chance of winning), the March 29 home matchup against Detroit (34.1 percent) and the March 21 home game against New York (32.0 percent).

The schedule, however,  isn’t doing the Sixers any favors. Road tilts against Indiana, Chicago, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston, Toronto, Memphis and Miami are all likely losses (even with the Heat on cruise control). The Sixers will have less than a 10 percent chance of winning each of those games, per TeamRankings.com.

Overall, TeamRankings.com projects the Sixers to finish with a final record of 18.8-63.2 (in other words, 19-63). Even in the worst-case scenario (the so-called “Melt Down”), the squad scrapes out two more wins over the final 22 games to finish at 17-65.

Losing 14 straight and getting smoked three times in the same week by fellow bottom-feeders admittedly sucks, even if it’s the best thing for the team’s draft positioning. Still, despite what our eyes might otherwise be telling us, the Sixers may have a few more wins in them. It just might not feel like that at the moment.

  • Bobby Holman

    Do you think that the sixer’s should be major players in free agency this season, or wait until 2015 when they have a better idea of the talent they already have assembled on this roster?

    I personally think that adding Greg Monroe to our lineup would be a major upgrade, he is a true post playmaker and an offensive weapon clearly out of place in Detroit. We all know Nerlens Noel will be a very good Post Defender/Rim Protector, and will probably generate some steals based on his long arms, but what we have no clue on is how he will develop offensively. If he can become a slightly more offensively talented Larry Sanders (Last Year’s Version) and rack up a stat line of 11-14 points 10-12 rebounds and 2+ blocks a night I will be satisfied, especially if we have an offensive power forward like Monroe next to him who is very solid defensively in his own right.

    Also what do you think about Lance Stephenson? He seems like the do it all player that would be a perfect compliment to our growing team, I would love to see what he could do offensively when he wasn’t the third option on the team. I know both he and Monroe are restricted free agents, but we have an absurd amount of cap space and could make an offer to at least one of them that would be too high for either the Pacers or Pistons to match.

And finally, what do you think we should do with Thad? He doesn’t deserve to be in the position he is in, he has been loyal to the sixers and must be miserable wasting his prime years on a rebuilding franchise. Do you think that if we end up with a top 3 pick, and hopefully the pelicans pick, (if they don’t keep losing so much that they end up getting a top 5 pick somehow). Let’s say they end up with the 9th Pick in the Draft, do you think Hinkie could package that 9th pick on top of Thad to a team and move up again into the top 5? (Maybe Boston who plays Sullinger at the 5 more often than not, or the rebuilding Lakers who aren’t likely to renew Pau’s contract, or we could take that contract off their hands as well to make the trade more appealing).
    I know that this draft is being touted among the best ever, and that the drop-off after the top 6 or 7 players is significant, but could you see Hinkie trying to acquire two of the top 5 players in the draft? Say Wiggins and Parker or Wiggins and Exum/Randle (I honestly would love to see MCW and Exum in the same backcourt, it would give the team extreme versatility in how to run its offense.)

    I know that all of this is hypothetical and would be doubtful at best to happen but could you see any of the above scenarios unfolding in the offseason? Hinkie has been full of surprises and thats the only reason I could see any of the draft scenarios unfolding.

    Thanks from a Loyal and Longtime Sixers Fan!

    • Bryan Toporek

      I’m all for waiting and striking in 2015, personally. The Sixers owe their 2015 first-rounder to Boston if they make the playoffs next season, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Hinkie waited until 2015-16 to have the team make a big push. I think next year is all about integrating Noel and the (presumed) two 2014 lottery picks.

      Monroe is a RFA, so unless the Sixers offer him a max contract (or close to it), Detroit will likely match. Zach Lowe has also harped on Monroe’s issues on defense repeatedly (see one example here: http://www.pistonpowered.com/2013/07/zach-lowe-analyzes-greg-monroes-offense-brandon-knights-defense/), which would concern me if he’s getting a max contract. I agree that he’d likely fit well alongside Noel, but I don’t think the Sixers can get him at the right price.

      Unfortunately, I also don’t think there’s a rat’s chance in hell Stephenson ends up on the Sixers. He’s the kind of guy who needs to be around veteran leadership (like David West) to keep him in check when he starts to get a little out of control. I also think, ideally, he’s best suited as a third option offensively — someone who can get easy buckets while the top two options are drawing primary attention from defenders. He’s a bulldog defensively, though. I do love that part of his game. I just can’t imagine him leaving a team that’s on the precipice of a title for a rebuilding project.

      I’d be shocked if Hinkie doesn’t move Thad on the day of the draft. I don’t know if he’ll be able to package Thad with the Pelicans’ pick to move up significantly, but honestly, the Sixers might be better suited trading Thad for an extra future first instead. The difference between picks 5-6 and 9-10 might not be all that great this year, depending on how the draft plays out. If there’s a player the Sixers fall in love with, I could see doing it, but otherwise, I’d advocate trading him for a 2015 or 2016 first-rounder.

  • hk99

    I’m more concerned with New Orleans losing out than the Sixers losing out. They are on an 8-game bender and are only 2 wins ahead of the 4 teams that separate them from the 5th spot.

    • Bryan Toporek

      Yeah, I’m about ready to sound the alarm on New Orleans, especially now that Jrue is done for the year. Doesn’t sound like Ryan Anderson is coming back any time soon, too.

      • hk99

        That was a huge win for the Pels last night. Their next 6 and 10 of their next 11 are at home, so here’s hoping they can win 5 or so of those 11 and put some space between themselves and a few of the 20 and 21 win teams.

        • robbybonfire23

          If Embiid and Wiggins are both available when Hinkie is drafting, we are going to find out a lot about him and about this team’s future, and whether it even has one of substance. And Jabari Parker would be no better than a “safety first” compromise selection, in that case.

          What scares me is Hinkie taking Wiggins “Because we already have Noel,” even if he likes Embiid more, which, if he doesn’t, sinks the Titanic all over again. Embiid and Noel in our front court would be “lights out” for 76ers opponents, at both ends of the court.

          • Wesley Share

            Yeah, all indications are that if Wiggins is there, Hinkie’s taking him. Passing on Embiid – who I believe to be the #1 prospect in this draft overall – would probably have something to do with fit, and it would make sense to an extent. Embiid and Noel both can’t score from outside five feet, and MCW needs room for driving lanes – plus the offense itself needs to have enough spacing to be fluid. Remember how that Asik-Dwight front court worked out early this year?

            I love Embiid and if they take him, I’d likely be convinced that they can make it work somehow. But if they don’t I’d assume it at least partially has to do with fit.

          • Kevin

            Everything I’ve read also says that Wiggins is still the clear no.1 on the 76ers draft board….Now, of course that is all reporting from “insiders” and doesn’t necessarily have to be factual, but odds are that it is.

            I personally like the Idea of having Noel/Embiid in the frontcourt together despite the failures in Houston. I think those 2 players will develop their game enough that they won’t both need to be within 5 feet of the rim at all times and that is why I feel as though it would be successful. The Clippers could be used as this type of example, even with Blake Griffin not being a great shooter, or good for that matter (35% from 10-16 ft according to basketball-reference.com).

            However, I also am not against drafting an Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Both players, talent wise, are better than anyone on the current roster. Potential is an evil word, but both have a ton, and have been victims of hype as much as anything else. Either way, like every prospect in every draft (exception to an elite few), they have their pluses and minuses. It’s all about Hinkie and the 76ers determining who they can get the most out of.

            That being said, while it is still a long way away and many more of these will appear, ESPN’s Chad Ford’s latest mock draft has the 76ers selecting Wiggins and than Noah Vonleh. Thoughts everyone?

          • Bryan Toporek

            I would run naked through the streets on draft night if Chad Ford’s latest draft came true & we landed both Wiggins and Vonleh. If I made a Big Board right now, I think Vonleh would be either No. 5 or No. 6, behind only Embiid, Wiggins, Parker, Exum and maybe Julius Randle.

            A starting 5 of MCW, Wiggins, Thad Young, Vonleh and Noel would be Sam Hinkie’s way of telling the rest of the league to suck it for all the histrionics about how bad the team is this year.

          • robbybonfire23

            Why not just take the best player available in the draft and live with that? Then you can trade, say, Noel, for the SG, PF, or PG you determine you really need? If Embiid is an upgrade over Noel, and is available on the board, this team needs to acknowledge that reality.

            Man, the more I follow Andre Drummond in the box scores the more I think Detroit just needs to surround him with a couple more upgrade players and they join the NBA elite-status teams. Wish we could acquire him, some how. He is just shooting lights out, though quietly because of modest game by game scoring total numbers.

          • Bryan Toporek

            I’m right with you, Robby. Take the BPA and trade Noel if you have to. I don’t see Wiggins as a worst-case scenario — I think him being in the NBA will light a fire under his ass, a la Andre Drummond, but I’d take Embiid first.

            Drummond is a freaking bear. Still can’t believe he fell as far as he did in that draft. And I’m still mad the Sixers didn’t trade up to get him on draft night.

          • robbybonfire23

            Drummond gets so little publicity. I know Detroit is not much of a team, but too much, players are identified with the fortunes of the team they play for. We could obtain him if Wiggins were available and we are next up to draft.

          • Bryan Toporek

            David Thorpe actually had a really good piece about him the other day: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10531188/sophomore-20-andre-drummond-closing-superstar-status-pistons

            Basically said that free-throw shooting is all that’s holding Drummond back from being a bona fide star. (He also called for Drummond to incorporate more shot fakes into his low-post arsenal.) I do wonder if Hinkie’s going to use the Sixers’ own pick as draft-day trade bait, especially if it’s a top-two pick. I wouldn’t put it past him, I’ll say that much.

          • robbybonfire23

            Interesting parallel with Wilt’s NBA career FT percentage of .511. Yet, he still managed to average 30 points per game for his career. Funny thing about Wilt, he was over .600 one season, early in his career, and just lost focus on something, after that, at the line. Might have cost the 76ers a title, especially in 1965 and 1968, two seasons some proficiency there would have turned the championship tide in our favor.