The most recent NBA power rankings have the Sixers dropping further or remaining in the lower third of the NBA.
Recent news of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ injury situations have the experts assuming the season is a lost cause and the team is focused on this June’s draft.
A trade of Nerlens Noel confirms the Sixers are banking on building around Embiid and wanted to get a return on Noel instead of letting him walk at the end of the season.
The Sixers split their only two games of the week: A 120-112 win against the Wizards Friday night and a buzzer-beater 110-109 loss to the Knicks Saturday night.
Against the Wizards, Robert Covington recorded a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds – both team leaders. The Sixers had seven players in double-digit points including Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson both pouring in 20. The Sixers did not give up the lead after the beginning of the second quarter.
Carmelo Anthony drained a game-winning shot on Saturday for the Knicks. Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 28 points while Saric added 19 and Covington tallied 20.
• Tonight, the Sixers face the Warriors in Philadelphia (7 p.m./CSN)
• Wednesday against the Heat in Miami (7:30 p.m./CSN)
• Friday they face the Knicks at home (7 p.m./CSN)
• Saturday they stay at the Wells Fargo Center for the Pistons (6 p.m./CSN)
What the experts say
John Schuhmann of NBA.com was gracious only dropping the Sixers from 21 to 22 this past week. Maybe he trusts the process.
He makes a good point about Okafor's situation after the Noel trade:
“The Sixers have been at their worst offensively with Okafor on the floor, but he scored 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting on Saturday, getting two huge, final-minute buckets in the post before Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winner. He may not be the better fit, but he has two more years on his rookie deal.”
Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report dropped the Sixers to 24 on his list, three spots lower than last week.
He took a look into Embiid’s efficiently in the post and found some interesting numbers from Chris Herring of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight:
“The 7-footer has really been in a giving mood near the basket, where he's coughed the ball up on nearly 22 percent of his post-up looks, the highest turnover rate among NBA players with at least 100 plays, according to Synergy. And his turnover rate jumps up to a whopping 32 percent when teams aggressively send a second defender to double Embiid in the post."
Hughes ended his piece by saying the Sixers look to be on a downturn for the rest of the season.
Jeremy Wood of Sports Illustrated moved the Sixers one spot from last week which leaves them at 26 on his list.
He questions “trusting the process” stating that there are many questions surrounding Bryan Colangelo and the front office after the Noel trade.
“It’s a longer-term question, but there will be short-term clues.”
Couldn’t have said it any better.
Finally, Matt Moore of CBS Sports drops the Sixers from 22 to 26 this week. Moore is starting to see a repetitive story with the Sixers and it’s struggles.
“Usually if a team loses both its top picks in a rebuilding year, you feel awful for them and their fans. With the Sixers, you're left just feeling like this is the status quo, forever.”