Everyone hates math.
But maybe not in this case.
FiveThirtyEight has done its homework and believes LeBron James should sign with the Sixers.
The Sixers offer the best blend of championship-winning ability and legacy-building — the two criteria used in the study — that could entice James.
FiveThirtyEight projects James' four best fits as Philly, Houston, San Antonio and Cleveland, in that order.
Interestingly, the Lakers, who have been the favorites for some time, are a "fine option ... but not the best" for James, sandwiched in between the Pelicans and Jazz. Ouch.
The Rockets (76 percent) give James the best shot at winning a title in the next four years, but fall down the list of best options because of a low legacy score of 4.9 out of 10. The low score comes from the view that choosing an established star-studded team would be "taking the easy way out." Think Kevin Durant.
Finally, the Sixers take the top spot for the best blend of both worlds, giving James a 57-percent chance to win a title in the next four years, paired with a 7.0 legacy score. Here's FiveThirtyEight's argument in favor of the Sixers:
The Sixers have an unmatched base of budding talent in center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons. ... The Sixers also have a strong narrative argument to present The King. Philly ranks among the league’s most historic franchises, having won the third-most games of any NBA club ever (trailing only the Celtics and Lakers). Yet LeBron would be no bandwagon-jumper if he signed there — the team hasn’t won an NBA title since 1983, when another former MVP (Moses Malone) joined forces with Julius Erving and company to win a championship. According to our straw poll, Philadelphia had the fourth-best legacy-building potential for LeBron of any team in the league, in addition to the third-best championship potential. For our money, that’s a difficult combo to beat.
Sounds great, right? Of course, the disclaimer here is that this is a scientific study on where James should sign, not where he will sign. The Sixers may be the best fit on paper but that's far from any indication on what's going through James' head.