With 40 games remaining in Tank 2.0, it become obvious that the 76ers are not going to experience any Detroit Pistons-like push (9-3 in their last 12) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. A roster that was built to lose, and has done so nicely, is now missing its key 6th man (Tony Wroten) for an undetermined amount of time. Additionally, the starting power forward (Luc) will allegedly miss his third straight game tonight with a bruised knee. Finally, the Sixers starting center (Noel) suddenly contracted a respiratory illness, could not play against the lowly New York Knicks on Wednesday and is questionable for tonight.
Still, the Sixers have collected 8 wins so far this season (4-6 in last 10 games) which is more victories than this scribe and most of the online “experts” dreamed Brett Brown’s team would haul in prior to the 2015 All-Star break. However, with key players missing and a brutal upcoming schedule that features games — vs. TOR; @MEM; @ NOP; vs. DET; @ ATL; @ CLE and @ DEN — , it bears exploring just how bad the odds makers think this team might be.
As it stands, the 76ers have the worst NBA Championship futures in the League, listed at +100,000 here at TopBet sportsbook. That +100,000 ties them as the biggest long-shots with the Timberwolves and Knicks, two teams they have better records than — by 1 game each.
The Knicks have now won 2 straight games and could be looking at another victory tonight with a game against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden on the slate. That contest is followed by another 50/50 game for the Knickerbockers when they travel to Charlotte for a game against the Hornets. In the very near future, we could be looking at a 4-game winning streak for the Knicks which would certainly help the 76ers tanking efforts.
In Minnesota, the rising star that is Andrew Wiggins (19.6 ppg. over his last 5 games) and the improving overall health of the TWolves roster could possibly push the team to a couple of surprising wins in the second half of the season. It’s likely that the Wolves deal former 76er Thad Young before the trade deadline and that could have a negative impact on their win total, but I think they have enough young talent to compensate for the loss of Thad.
The drive to the bottom of the standings has been more competitive of late, but with aforementioned Knicks as well as the T-Wolves seemingly on the rise, and Sam Hinkie likely to trade a key member of the current roster for a future asset, I would say the 76ers are a solid bet to finish with the worst record in the Association for 2014-15. We’ll keep you posted on what Vegas thinks.
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