February 22, 2023
After about a week of rest, the Sixers will return from the All-Star break against the Grizzlies Thursday with one goal in mind: not losing in the second round.
It's been 22 years since a 76ers squad has made it past the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs — Allen Iverson's Finals team in 2001. Since then, the pre-and post-process Sixers have been unable to win more than one round of games in the postseason.
The Sixers appear to be in a decent spot with 25 games to go, holding onto the 3-seed and trailing the second-seeded Bucks by half a game. Philly has the sixth-best NBA title odds via DraftKings (+1200), and the third-best in the east, trailing Milwaukee and Boston.
Our Sixers beat writer Kyle Neubeck already looked at how midseason power rankings are respecting the Sixers. How are statistical projections crediting them with NBA title chances?
Here's a table and some thoughts on three leading outlets that've used analytics to make predictions:
|Outlet||NBA Finals||NBA Title|
|ESPN BPI||7.6% (5th in east)||3.1% (7th)|
|FiveThirtyEight||14% (3rd in east)||7% (5th)|
|Basketball Reference||13.9% (3rd in east)||7.3% (5th)|
• ESPN continues to horribly disrespect the Sixers. It has them seventh in NBA title odds behind teams like the Nuggets, Knicks and Cavs. They are, in fact, only given a 20.4% chance of making it to the Eastern Conference Finals by the worldwide leader.
• FiveThirtyEight seems a bit more objective, placing Philly much more realistically behind the Bucks and Celtics by way of conference title chances. Their projected final record of 51-31 would put them in the 3-seed.
• Basketball Reference has very similar analytics to FiveThirtyEight, predicting that the Sixers will get the 3-seed with 52 wins. Interestingly, they give Philly a 36.4% chance of the 3 seed and 42.4% chance of the 4 seed.
One more website that is worth taking note of — tankathon.com— which says that the Sixers have the toughest schedule of any NBA team left this year. Two games apiece against the Celtics and Bucks will do that, and Philadelphia also has Denver, Cleveland and Memphis to go on their slate.
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