It’s been a while. A long while. But, after seeing the Sixers face the Nuggets and Heat, I now am confident in saying this. Sixers will win their division. It’s obvious the other 4 teams are not playing well. But, the Sixers can most certainly hang with the best teams in the league. I should clear up that Heat game. Sixers are a better team than last year. They can easily beat last year’s version of themselves. And that version gave the Heat a nice challenge in the playoffs last year. On Saturday, they hung on with the Heat before finally getting blown away. But, I’m not convinced that the Sixers don’t stand a chance. They probably couldn’t take the Heat in another 7 game series but don’t expect the Heat to beat the Sixers like that again.
So, Sixers still have their holes, as I had pointed out before. Yet, like I said before, Sixers still have a chance on their division championship. But, let’s make sure we understand why winning the division is somewhat important. According to NBA rules (if you click link, look at notes after standings), the top 4 teams in each conference consists of the three leaders of their own division, and then out of the remaining 12 teams, the team with the best record is also in there. This insures you receive some sort of reward for winning your division. Let the NBA explain if my explanation doesn’t work for you:
Teams 1 to 4 in each conference are the three division winners and the team with the next best regular-season record, with the seeding of these four teams determined by regular-season record. The playoffs seedings of Teams 5 to 8 are based upon regular-season record.
There are positives and negatives about this system but I’m not getting into that. If the Sixers win their division, they are automatically in the top 4 spot. That means that they go against non-elite teams. So Sixers have a chance to move to second round. Let’s look at the standings now. Sixers are in fourth with the Heat, Bulls, and Magic ahead of them. The bottom four are Pacers, Hawks, Celtics, and Cavaliers!? Sixers would go against the 5th seed which would be Pacers. Surely we can see Sixers take them in a 7 game series. Sixers could take any of the other teams below them in the standings. So yes if Sixers win the division, it’s going to be good for them in their playoff run.
So, why am I convinced that Sixers will win? I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees it. Nets and Raptors won’t even make the playoffs. Knicks can shoot all they want but it’s obvious something isn’t working. We can say defense. We can say ISO plays of Carmelo Anthony. But, I’m very sure Sixers can beat them. Still fuming over their last meeting. And Celtics? Eh…they may make playoffs but seems like injuries and perhaps even age has caught up to them. Sixers’ style of play would involve Celtics to move around a lot. Celtics are still a good team and would give the Sixers the only challenge for the title. Evan then, if Sixers play hard every night like they have been all season, Sixers won’t have to worry about anybody catching up to them. They could sit in fourth for the rest of the season and advance to the next round.
Let’s take it a step forward. Out of the top three teams, can the Sixers somehow steal? Probably not. Most likely scenario would have to be…I just can’t tell. Heat have star power which seems to be too much for Sixers’ D. Magic have Dwight Howard, who would eat the Sixers alive inside. Bulls? Noah and Boozer actually wouldn’t be so bad for Sixers’ bigs. And D-Rose would probably kill Holiday. If Holiday can somewhat slow down Rose, Sixers have even better chance. Call me crazy but Sixers’ best chance out of those three would be Bulls. I know, I know.
So what do you all think? Sixers win division? Make it to second round? Perhaps steal a visit to conference finals? No matter what, go Sixers!