THE FINAL 31

On Wednesday night in Minnesota, the Sixers will start the final stretch of the 2012-13 season.  To say that this year has been a disappointment so far is an understatement.  During the Bynum-less first 51 games of this season, Collins & Co. have racked up only 22 wins and at times have been simply unwatchable. 

They currently sit in 9th place, four games back of the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the 8th and final spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.  Not helping matters is the fact that the Bucks are 3-0 vs. the Sixers this season.  Simply put,  a push to the playoffs is going to take a monumental effort. 

But in the NBA nothing is impossible.  The Sixers have 31 games remaining, which if they can get everybody healthy should be plenty of time to right the ship and make the playoffs.

However, if everyone doesn’t get healthy these last 31 games could be difficult to witness.  

After the jump four Philadunkia scribes will give you their thoughts on what will happen with the Sixers over the final 31 games of the 2012-13 season.

 

Jeff McMenamin:  The Sixers will go as far the rest of the season as Andrew Bynum takes them.  If he fails to make a return then the Sixers will struggle mightily the rest of the way.  Realistically he and Thad should make their return to the lineup by February 26th.  With Bynum in the lineup I think the Sixers can perform among the best in the East the rest of the way.  If all goes to plan I see the Sixers getting as high as the 5th seed in the East and realistically going 20-11 to finish the season.  No. 33 is one BIG “if” however. 

Steve Toll:  As I stated to begin the year this would be a season of resounding disappointment.   A mistake filled summer firmly entrenched the team in mediocrity, at best, for years to come.   As we head to the final 31 games of the year that statement rings true as ever.   A false hope, Andrew Bynum, on the sidelines keeping some pipe dream of glory alive and well.  The 76ers in a best case scenario will win 30% of its games without Bynum or Thad, 40% without Bynum and 55% with everyone healthy.  Regardless of Bynum resigning the team is capped out with no draft picks and no young cheap talent available going forward, apologies to Arnett Moultrie and whatever D-League player is snatched from the 2013 Lottery.  After a year when the 76ers underperformed by at minimum 6 wins, fans can take solace in the fact that this year’s team has over performed by at minimum 5 games. 12-19 to end the year; final record of 34-48.

C. Smith:  The Sixers have 31 games remaining after the ASG and I don’t see good things ahead.  I’ll start by predicting that for some unforeseen Bynum does not make his debut in February.  In fact I bet he never suits up this year for the 7-6.  In addition I see a slow return to 100% for Thad.  Hammies can be tricky like that.  I also don’t think that Jrue can continue to haul 35+ minutes a night without some drop off in play.  Those items combined with a brutal schedule down the stretch – only 12 home games; 6 sets of back-to-back games remaining; including a four games in 5 nights stretch during early March – means that the Sixers will not finish on a high note.  I predict a 13-18 run down the home stretch for a 35-47 overall record that will leave them on the outside looking in at the playoffs.           

Jake Fischer:  As the Philadelpiha 76ers prepare for the final stretch of this uneventful 2012-2013 season, many things can and will happen of their final 31 games.  It seems unlikely the organization will make a deal to impact just this season, but they have not ruled out making a trade for the future, per Tony DiLeo.  With that, everyone outside Jrue and Thad being dealt is highly plausible-even the 7-1 injured center who-shall-not-be-named.  Regardless, by the way the management has handled his situation, I no longer believe Andrew Bynum will play this season and for that, this team will struggle.  Playing 82 games without the main piece both your offense and defense was designed upon just doesn’t work.  Especially when you have a coach like Doug Collins who can’t make adjustments. Sorry to be so cynical, Sixers fans.  Expected Record: 14-17…Final Season Record: 36-46…No Playoffs 

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