Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for PGD Global)
As we begin to hear rumblings of a potential NBA return to action, I can’t help but think where the Sixers could end up if and when play resumes. Last time we had actual basketball the Sixers defeated the Detriot Pistons 124-106 at home. Joel Embiid scored 30 points plus 14 rebounds while Al Horford added 20 points and 10 rebounds all with Ben Simmons seemingly out for the season. Fast forward to today and the Sixers are fully healthy with some cobb webs to shake off. How could it all shake out?
Finishing the Regular Season
The Sixers currently have a 39-26 record with 17 games left to play in the season. The most probable scenario is to play the games with no fan regardless of the selected destination. They are 29-2 with the home crowd but just 10-24 with the road crowd. Can they get to 50 wins with no crowd? They would need to go 11-6 down the stretch with a fairly easy schedule. What about the seeding?
Currently, the Sixers are 6th in the Eastern Conference due to a lost tiebreaker with the Indiana Pacers. They lead the season series 2-1 but just so happens to be next on the schedule. The Sixers first game back would have major potential tiebreaker implications. If the Sixers win, the season series moves to 2-2 and the next tiebreaker is division record which the Sixers have by 3 games (Sixers 11-4, Pacers 8-7). The Sixers trail the 3rd seeded Celtics by 4.5 games who they hold the tiebreaker over. They have an 8.5 to 9 game lead on the 7th (Nets) and 8th (Magic) seeds so very unlikely they drop lower than sixth.
Skip to the Playoffs or Tournament
Let’s say the NBA decides to skip right to the playoffs and cancel the end of the regular season. Using the current playoff format the Philadelphia 76ers would face-off against the Boston Celtics in a 7 game series. Here is the thing though, the seeding doesn’t matter as far as the home court goes because there are no fans. The Sixers lead the season series 3-1 but are coming off an embarrassing blowout in their last match-up.
The NBA is also rumored to shake things up with a 1 through 16 seeded Tournament mixing the East & Western conferences. Per ESPN, the Sixers rank 12th in the current standings so they would again face the 5th seed Boston Celtics in Round 1. So no impact for the first round but It would be interesting to see a second-round matchup against the Lakers or Clippers pending what the other teams do in their series.
Cancel the Season
We all hope this doesn’t happen but Adam Silver has clearly stated his decision will be based on data. The focus would shift to the NBA draft currently set for Thursday, June 25th. The date will most likely be pushed back with the postponement of the 2020 NBA Draft combine.
The Sixers would lose their first-round pick via Tobias Harris trade but gain the Top 20 protected Oklahoma City Thunder pick conveying at number 22. The Sixers also have 4 picks in the 2nd round to play with as well to make for an interesting draft.
Would Elton Brand be able to fire Brett Brown considering the roster provided was built for the playoffs?
“I’ve said it many times: That’s what we were built for. So I want to see that.”Elton Brand – 76ers General Manager
Time will tell.
Co-Host & Writer for Edge of Philly Sports
Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @fredhugo_
Follow me on Facebook: Fred Hugo