The one thing the New York Knicks are in competition for is the fourth place in the NBA Draft Lottery, with the Philadelphia 76ers.The race for ping pong balls is in full gear.
The Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers currently hold the fourth spot in the draft lottery while the New York Knicks are only a game back.
This is the last of three articles looking at the last remaining games of these three bottom-dwelling teams. The Orlando Magic predictions and the New York Knicks predictions have been posted. Without further ado, the last team:
Philadelphia 76ers (26-44)
March has not been too kind to Philadelphia. On March 1st, the Sixers shut down their young star Joel Embiid. The Sixers only have four wins in March, however, they are winners of three of their last five, including a double-overtime loss to the Magic. Things might be looking up for the Sixers as their season comes to a close.
March 22 @ Oklahoma City Thunder
The first of five-straight road games for Philly. The last time these two met was game one of 82. The Sixers held a six-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Thunder responded with a 34 point fourth quarter to come back and win in Philly. Joel Embiid chipped in 20 points and seven rebounds with two blocks. With no Embiid and the Thunder playing at home (26-10), the Sixers fall in OKC.
March 24 @ Chicago Bulls
The Bulls roster has undergone a great deal of change this season with the trade of Derrick Rose for Robin Lopez and the signing of Dwyane Wade. While Lopez is surely a better player at his position than Rose and Wade is still a reliable scorer, the Bulls have regressed because they lack three-point shooting, currently second-worst in the NBA. The Bulls do score a ton of points in the paint, which is a disaster for the Sixers, who struggle to defend the paint without Embiid.
March 26 @ Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia does not defend mid-range jump shots very well. They allow the tenth highest mid-range field goal percentage in the NBA. Indiana’s Paul George these jumpers at a rate of 46.1 percent. For comparison, Golden State’s Kevin Durant 46.8 percent on the same shot and the Clipper’s 47.1 percent. In short, another bad matchup for Philly.
March 28 @ Brooklyn Nets
The Sixers are 2-0 against the Nets this season. Jeremy Lin missed the second game of the series. With Lin healthy and Embiid out, Lin could have a nice day at the rim.
March 29 @ Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have beaten the Sixers three times by an average of 23 points per game.
March 31 @ Cleveland Cavaliers
This is the second game of a back-to-back for the Cavaliers. It is likely that the Cavs rest starters for this game. LeBron loves his rest, after all. Even so, Kyrie is more than enough to beat this Sixers squad.
April 2 @ Toronto Raptors
Another series in which the Sixers have been dominated by the opposing team. The Sixers have taken one game out of the three played so far, however, the loss of Embiid, as stated before, is just too much to overcome. Even in a game in which Embiid played, the Raptors still won by 27 points.
April 4 vs Brooklyn Nets
The Sixers will take one of the final two games against the Nets. Winning at home seems about right.
April 6 vs Chicago Bulls
The Bulls could be completely out of the playoff race by this point. But five out of their seven games prior to this game will be against teams with a record under .500. With the way Butler has played since the Wade injury (29.3 points per game), the Bulls could make one last run at a playoff spot.
April 8 vs Milwaukee Bucks
This is one of the rare series where the Sixers have come out victorious on more than one occasion. The Bucks have already dropped two games against the Sixers this season. One of those games did not feature Joel Embiid. Nerlens Noel, now a Maverick, stepped up big during this game, with 16 points and 13 rebounds. With Embiid and Noel gone, it will be hard for the Sixers to deal with the Bucks size. Nearly half of Milwaukee’s points come in the paint (47 percent). Philly simply does not have enough size inside to deal with the Bucks.
April 10 vs Indiana Pacers
Indiana took one game earlier in these predictions through Paul George’s mid-range game. They will be able to duplicate this performance at home.
April 12 @ New York Knicks
What. A. Matchup. Both teams come into this game with the same record. This game determines who will be fourth in the NBA Draft Lottery. The Sixers have no shame when it comes to throwing games in the name of the tank. The Knicks have no shame when it comes to winning games they really should not. Sixers loss (or win, I guess).
2017 NBA Draft Lottery:
- 4. Sixers: Predicted Win/Loss: 28-54
- 5. Knicks: Predicted Win/Loss: 29-53
- 6. Magic: Predicted Win/Loss: 30-52