Philadelphia 76ers’ outlook if the season ended today

Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The 2019-20 NBA season is in limbo. Where do the Philadelphia 76ers stand?

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated the NBA will suspend play for at least 30 days due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in America. Given the virus’ classification as a global pandemic, however, there is a chance the league’s absence extends beyond Silver’s one-month prognostication.

Whether it’s one month or several, the NBA will need to evaluate the future of this season. While Mark Cuban said games could extend into July, maybe even August, it’s clear no one has a clear grasp on the situation.

If the postponement drags on, the NBA will need to deal with a serious shift in timeline continuity. I would expect the NBA to finish the season by all means necessary, but pushing back the start to next season, for example, could have a cascading effect. It could permanently shift the NBA’s schedule for 2020-21, and maybe even beyond.

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One potential solution is to skip the remainder of the regular season and jump straight to the postseason. While some teams have played more games than others, desperate times call for desperate measures. The league, in a month or two, could simply reset, use the current standings, and start playoff basketball.

At this point, the NBA has given no indication of a plan or a potential plan to skip the rest of the regular season. Such a plan feels logical, however, and the salary cap ramifications would be minimal, all things considered.

So, given the remote possibility of such an outcome, it’s worth a brief look at the current state of the Philadelphia 76ers.

2020 NBA Draft…

The Sixers’ own first-round pick — which currently sits in the No. 20 spot — belongs to the Brooklyn Nets. The Sixers do, however, own the Oklahoma City Thunder’s top-20 protected first-round pick. At this juncture, OKC’s picks lands either 21st or 22nd.

So, after signifiant dread over the Sixers’ diminishing draft capital last summer, and much to do about the “fake” OKC pick, it might actually convey as a first-round selection for Philadelphia. The Sixers need cheap, young talent to fill out a cash-strapped roster, so this is an important development.

What the 2020 class lacks in top-end talent, it makes up for in depth. The Sixers, if the OKC pick stays put, could have the chance to add a legitimate difference maker on the perimeter — hopefully in the same vein as Matisse Thybulle, who was the 20th pick in 2019.


The Sixers are sixth in the Eastern Conference, far from where we expected them to be coming into the season. Al Horford has face-planted in year one of a four-year deal, injuries have plagued the roster, and Brett Brown’s seat is hotter than ever. Overall, a rough go-around for Philadelphia.

Right now, the Boston Celtics possess the No. 3 seed, which makes for a cruel twist of fate. While the Sixers pummeled Boston early in the season, the Celtics have since ascended to a higher level of basketball. Horford’s demise, aligned with Jayson Tatum‘s rise to stardom, could spell an ironic early exit for the Sixers.

It’s not impossible for Philadelphia to make a run, oust a smaller, less physical Celtics team, and put some of the pieces together for a postseason run. Especially after a strange four-plus week hiatus that could throw contenders out of wack.

For now, however, it’s safe to say the Celtics would be heavy favorites — and deservingly so.

The summer…

The Sixers won’t have much cap space this summer. The main priority will compiling a well-rounded supporting cast behind Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris. Oh, and trading Al Horford.

While no reports have explicitly stated the Sixers’ interest in trading Horford, it seems only logical to explore options this summer. Horford has struggled in every capacity, and he has not clear fit on the roster as long as Embiid and Simmons are in South Philly.

The Sixers will not get a strong positive return for Horford. He might require legitimate assets to move — such as a 2020 first-round pick from OKC. Still, it could be worth the added flexibility and cleaner fit. Addition by subtraction is a real possibility.

Next. What's next amid COVID-19 outbreak?. dark

At this point, the future of the 2019-20 season is uncertain. Stay safe, folks.