Philadelphia 76ers Process Could Reach Completion in Postseason

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The NBA is notorious for having teams that overtly engage in obvious tanking, and perhaps no franchise embodied that narrative quite like the Philadelphia 76ers. “Trust the process” we were told, and eventually all those years in the dregs, where the team was intentionally throwing games away in the cause of adding draft lottery balls to stockpile better draft picks paid off.

After being really bad for a very long time in the early parts of the 2010s, the 76ers have finished in the top three in the Atlantic Division and reached the playoffs four straight years. “Motown Philly back again” as the 76ers are once again the top seed in the NBA’s Eastern conference for the first time in 20 years!

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You can find out which way BetQL’s model is picking for tonight’s NBA playoff play-in games. which actually feature the defending champions. Yes, if the Los Angeles Lakers win tonight, and get in as the #7 or #8 seed, they’ll look poised to make some noise. Could they be the first seed that low to reach the NBA finals in more than two decades? (The Knicks went as an #8 seed in 1999). The NBA postseason is always very much “chalk” as the last time a seed lower than #3 (the #6 seed Houston Rockets) won it all was 1995.

That’s good news for Philly, who like the Lakers are a traditional power in NBA history. They have won the title three times, their conference five times and their division on 12 occasions. Although they were a bit of a joke for much of the past decade, they’re a formidable force right now, and a +700 bed to win it all seems like a good bet, or at least a very fair price. In the east, they look like the smartest choice to represent the conference in the finals.

Not making at least the ECF will be seen as a massive let-down in the city of brotherly love.

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It will all be about how they rebound metaphorically (rebounding, literally will be important too) from last year’s 4 game sweep in the first round, at the hands of the Boston Celtics. Since then the club changed their VP of basketball operations (Daryl Morey), head coach (Doc Rivers) and two members of their starting five (Danny Green and Seth Curry). Between Doc and Joel Embiid they have good leadership to guide them through the postseason where the stakes are high and the pressure is felt.

The 76ers are a defense first kind of team, as they’re number two in the league in that department while only #13 on the opposite end of the floor. The 76ers rank second in defensive efficiency (107.0) behind the Lakers (106.8), and all five guys know how to get after it on the defensive end.

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The key will be their offense, which can sometimes go dormant in lapses, too often in crunch time. Their three point shooting runs hot and cold, and that leads to some scoring droughts. If they can avoid getting too cold for too long, they should be fine, and who knows maybe it will be time to party like it’s 1983 in the end.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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