The Process Has Worked? 76ers Favored to Make Playoffs

markelle fultz

Matthew Jordan

Monday, July 10, 2017 12:39 PM GMT

Monday, Jul. 10, 2017 12:39 PM GMT

The Philadelphia 76ers have had one of the worst three-year stretches of any team in NBA history. But it could all start to pay dividends in 2017-18 as they are favored at 5Dimes to reach the playoffs.

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Trust The Process!

Somewhere, Sam Hinkie is smiling. Of course, Hinkie is the former general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. Hinkie infamously started the “Process” by putting Philly into tank mode starting in 2013-14 when the team won just 19 games. The Sixers then won 18 the next season and only 10 in 2015-16. Hinkie was forced out/resigned in April of last year. You could see that coming because in December 2015, Philadelphia hired veteran executive Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations in a move that altered the decision-making structure of the organization. Hinkie’s replacement? Jerry’s son Bryan, a former Raptors president and GM.

Why has no team hired Hinkie yet? His “Process” looks ready to bear fruit. Perhaps no team has a better collection of young talent than the 76ers with 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid, 2014 No. 12 overall pick Dario Saric (selected by Orlando but sent to Philly in a draft trade), 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and this year’s top overall selection, Markelle Fultz.

For a few years, the 76ers couldn’t lure any key free agents even if they wanted to (they mostly didn’t as losing was the priority). Now it’s almost a destination franchise with the Sixers signing former Clippers guard J.J. Redick and ex-Celtics big man Amir Johnson. Redick was the big get, averaging 15.8 points and 44.0 percent shooting on 3-pointers for the Clippers over the past four seasons. He and Johnson bring veteran stability and leadership to this young team.

So could the 76ers reach the playoffs this season? 5Dimes oddsmakers think so as they are -300 to do so and +240 to miss out. On paper, this team does look like a playoff club in the weak East. Then again, Embiid has yet to prove he can stay healthy. He missed his first two seasons completely and played in just 31 games last season. Simmons and Fultz have yet to play a regular-season game. Fultz is already hurt. He severely sprained his left ankle Saturday in the Las Vegas Summer League and won’t play again in that. At least X-rays were negative. Fultz, who signed his contract earlier in the day, had eight points in 15 minutes against the Warriors before leaving. Last summer, Simmons suffered a broken right foot in training camp and missed his entire rookie campaign.

5Dimes also offers a prop on what Fultz will do this season: ‘over/under’ 2.5 assists per game and 12.5 points, with the ‘over’ a heavy favorite in both. He averaged 23.2 points last season on a bad University of Washington team, No. 1 nationally among freshmen, and added 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game, the only Division I player to reach those stats.

One would think that Fultz would top those points. Simmons can’t shoot at all but will handle the ball most of the time as a point forward. So it might be tough for Fultz to top those assists even though it’s such a low total. Fultz is +500 at BetOnline to win Rookie of the Year, behind Simmons (+300) and the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball (+300).

As for the playoffs? If the 76ers were in the deeper West, I’d be skeptical. But the Eastern Conference is much weaker now than it was just a month ago. The Bulls are in full rebuild mode after trading Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. Ditto Indiana after sending Paul George to Oklahoma City. Atlanta has lost Paul Millsap and traded Dwight Howard. The Knicks, Magic and Nets are all messes. Frankly, it might only take 36 wins or so to be the East’s No. 8 seed. If all the key Sixers stay healthy, they should at least get that many. They are given a win total of 40.5 at SBR’s top sportsbooks.

Free NBA Pick: Yes On PlayoffsBest Line Offered: 5Dimes
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