76ers

Oddsmakers send stern warning, make significant shift in Sixers' playoff odds

Oddsmakers send stern warning, make significant shift in Sixers' playoff odds

It’s not quite yet time to panic, but oddsmakers have sent a very stern message to the Sixers after their Game 1 loss on Saturday. 

Entering the series opener, the Sixers were overwhelming -700 favorites on DraftKings to win the series. That means if you bet $700 on the Sixers to advance, and they did, your total take would be $800.

Oh, how things have changed.

After their 111-102 loss at the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers are still favored, but DrafKings have moved the three-seed to -182 to win the series. That means if you made the same $700 bet today, instead of taking home $800 on a series win, you’d be bringing $1,084.62 home.

The Sixers' odds to win the NBA Championship have also moved significantly from 16/1 before the playoffs started to 23/1 following Game 1.

The Sixers were seven-point favorites to win Game 1, which moved to 7.5 once Joel Embiid was confirmed to be in the starting lineup. Interestingly enough, even after a lackluster performance, the Sixers are back at -7.5 for Monday’s second game of the series.

Obviously, the books still like the Sixers to advance to the second round, but they need to bake in some liability should the Nets take both games in Philadelphia, which they’re giving them a 3/1 chance to do. Each team now has three home games remaining in the seven-game series, and it looks like the Sixers will still be favored to win all of them, even if it’s just slightly, when they hit the road up north.

Taking a look ahead, if the Nets win Game 2 in Philly, they’ll hold a 2-0 advantage with three home games left. The odds would shift significantly and the Nets would be favored to win the series. If the Sixers win, and are full value for the W, they will jump back up to being fairly significant favorites to win the series, probably closer to -450 or so.

While the size of the jump from -700 to -182 surprised me, the fact that the Sixers are back at -7.5 for the second game should instill some confidence that everyone is expecting the team to rebound. 

However, if things don’t change on Monday, look out.

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Joel Embiid snubbed for All-NBA, receives Second Team nod

Joel Embiid snubbed for All-NBA, receives Second Team nod

Another day and another silver medal for Joel Embiid.

The Sixers' All-Star center on Thursday was named Second Team All-NBA a day after getting the same distinction on the All-Defensive team.

The Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic took home First Team honors. Jokic had a terrific season and was a huge part in Denver capturing the West’s second seed, but there’s no way he should have been voted ahead of Embiid. 

Unlike the defensive team, Embiid did receive a respectable 40 first-place votes, but by any metric you measure, Embiid had a better season than Jokic.

Embiid averaged more points (27.5 to 20.1), rebounds (13.6 to 10.8) and blocks (1.9 to 0.7) a game. The only other players to achieve Embiid's numbers since blocks became an official stat are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob McAdoo and Shaquille O'Neal — all Hall of Famers. But beyond that, Embiid impacts the game on both ends. Jokic’s defense is probably a little underrated, but it’s nowhere near the level of Embiid. Embiid affects more shots at the rim than any player in the NBA, including reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. 

There was an argument made that Embiid needs to play in more games to receive higher accolades. That’s absurd. Gobert played in 56 games last season when he captured DPOY. If you’re going by team record, should Jokic’s three more regular-season wins really count for anything?

It’s fair to note how arbitrary these awards are. Dwyane Wade received a vote for the Second Team while rookie Marvin Bagley received a vote for the Third Team for some insane reason. (On a side note, Ben Simmons did receive seven Third Team votes.)

Still, if you’re the Sixers, you hope it just adds fuel to Embiid’s fire. With criticism about his health, his poor performance in the second round, the Game 7 loss and now not earning First Team All-NBA or All-Defense, there’s plenty there.

If Embiid isn’t motivated this offseason, he may never be motivated.

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Sixers mailbag: Suitors for Tobias Harris? Ben Simmons for LeBron James?

Sixers mailbag: Suitors for Tobias Harris? Ben Simmons for LeBron James?

We asked for your questions regarding how the season ended, free agency and the draft.

And you didn’t disappoint, Sixers fans.

So many questions came in that we had to split it up into two mailbags.

Here’s part one, touching on Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beater.

According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Harris will have plenty of suitors this offseason. Sixers fans really soured on Harris in a hurry. The emotions from the Toronto series are still raw and that 7-of-23 performance in a pivotal Game 4 is still fresh in everyone’s mind, but cut Harris a little slack.

This was just his second time in the postseason — the other time being when the Pistons were swept in 2015-16 — and he was actually excellent in the final three games of the Brooklyn series. Who outside of Jimmy Butler was consistently good in the second round? Harris had an All-Star caliber season, is just 26 and has improved every season of his career. I’m not saying the Sixers absolutely need to max him, but if they don’t, somebody will.

Speaking of “fixated,” there have been multiple people in my mentions about Walker. I guess because he dropped 60 on the Sixers this season everyone thinks he’s a world-beater. I like Walker a lot. He can go off any given night and would offer a strong complement to Ben Simmons.

But the reality is Walker is 6-foot-3, is not a good defender and is already 29 years old. At the same age, Butler is unequivocally the better option. He may not be a perfect fit on the floor, but he offers much more as a defender and is the kind of leader the Sixers have needed.

Any time you’re talking about the greatest player maybe ever, you have to consider it. The biggest concern for me would be that James doesn’t want to be here. He had his chance and chose L.A. for a reason. His family is happy there and he has aspirations for life after basketball. Also, it would seem like part of the Sixers’ appeal to James would be playing with Simmons.

James will turn 35 this season and is signed for two more years and then has a player option. Simmons will turn 23 this summer and is eligible to sign his rookie max extension which would keep him here for the next six seasons. I get being all-in for a championship, but you have to balance that with the future at least a little bit.

Sixers fans won’t like my answer, but I think the team’s fate is the same even if gets to OT. Joel Embiid had already played 45 minutes at that point and you would need him for every second of that overtime given how poorly they performed with him on the bench. 

Could Butler have worked his magic and gone off in OT? Maybe, but the Raptors seemed to have all the momentum down the stretch.

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