04/01/12 9:00 pm EST
The win over Atlanta on Saturday night brought the 76ers record to 29-23, which currently has them sitting in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division — one game behind the Boston Celtics. The 7-6 are 4-4 in their last eight games and they have not won two in a row since early March. Collins & Co. are 9-14 since Valentine’s Day and 9-9 since the All-Star break.
To say that the Sixers have been hard to figure out of late is an understatement. But here at Philadunkia.com we’re going to give it the old college try and attempt to predict what kind of results this roller coaster team will produce over the last fourteen games of the season.
If you have been watching the Sixers over the last two months, you realize that this is no easy task.
After the jump, here we go…
The 2012 76ers are one of the flat weirdest teams in NBA history. They’re on pace to commit the fewest turnovers per game ever. If they continue as they have, they’ll attempt the fewest free throws per game in 60 years. They’re 3-14 in games decided by seven points or fewer and 26-8 in everything else. According to John Hollinger, every team in NBA history with a scoring margin of over +5 ppg has won at least 60 percent of their games. The Sixers have a scoring margin of +6.4 ppg and a .560 winning percentage.
So my prediction? I have none. There’s no way to predict what’s going to happen with this team because there’s never really been a team like this. They have no point of comparison, no analog. They could miss the playoffs. They could make the Eastern Conference finals. Anything and everything is in play.
My instinct though is this: Spencer Hawes will continue to round into form, Iguodala’s knee will heal, Collins will figure out a way to intelligently, consistently deploy both Turner and Holiday—look for more Jrue at the 2—and the 7-6 will take advantage of the weak slate of teams they close with to finish 11-4.
And they’ll lose to the Pacers 4-2 in the first round.
It’s time to mail it in. The Sixers are the team who I thought they were after all to start the season. I predicted the Sixers to go 36-30, good enough for the sixth spot in the East and it looks right now as if that’s exactly where the Sixers will end up. The team currently stands at 29-23 and sit one game behind the Boston Celtics are atop the Atlantic Division. The Knicks who were a team in turmoil to start the season have also played their way back into relevance as they hold the eighth playoff spot in the East at 27-26. These are not good signs for the Sixers.
Teams have exploited the Sixers lack of a post presence as they’ve gone 9-9 since the ASB. Seven of the nine losses were against teams who held winning records, while five of the nine wins came against teams with losing records. Not exactly good numbers for a team who expects to win a playoff series. I expect the Celtics to win the division again, the Sixers to drop to the sixth or seventh seed in the East by seasons end, and for the team to be competitive in the playoffs but ultimately fall in the first round again.
I don’t know how many more times I have to say that the Sixers need a true big man. Their best bet is to tank the rest of the year to get a shot at either Jared Sullinger or John Henson in the draft. If they don’t tank then enjoy watching the team choke in big moments, consistently lack consistency, not figure out playing time, get overpowered offensively and defensively in the paint, give owner Josh Harris a full head of gray hair, sit productive players such as Nik Vucevic and Lavoy Allen for a slow/ineffective Spencer Hawes, and come draft day take another unpolished shooting guard or big man who will prove to be nothing more than a role player in the NBA. The love affair with this team is over. It was good while it lasted.