2018 Philadelphia 76ers Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
Are the Sixers one of three, or a clear third? That is the question that they have to answer this year. There is no question that they have talent, and after winning a playoff series last year they have a foundation of success to build on - finally. But Boston and Toronto are both going to be very good in the East, and both are in the mix to win the Conference - and lose the Finals to Golden State. Philadelphia has the potential to be shoulder-to-shoulder with those two. But there are a lot of questions with this team, and it is also possible that they are not yet ready to make that step and that they will just be the best of the rest - Milwaukee's biggest challenger.
One of the defining factors in the season is going to be Markelle Fultz. His was one of the oddest rookie seasons for a top pick in history. He had a mystery shoulder injury early on, and then it seemed like he had the shooting yips. No one knew what was going on. Eventually he came back, and he wasn't all that bad - even better than that in a couple of spots. But can he take a step forward and start to live up to his high ceiling? Or will his mental woes send him on the fast track to Anthony Bennett territory? If he can be the player that he was at Washington then he adds a massive element to an already-talented team.
Beyond that, the biggest factor here for this team is the development of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Both look to be on true superstar track - they can both be Top 10 players soon and for a long time. But development is never linear. They could both take another huge step forward, but injuries or other issues could limit them as well. This team goes as far as those two will take them, so this is a serious area to watch.
2018 Philadelphia 76ers Additions and Departures
The team's draft this year featured drama that highlighted the harsh realities of pro sports. The team selected Mikal Bridges, the two-time national champ at Villanova. Bridges' mother is a senior manager in the extended Sixers organization, and that story was a feel-good one - he and she were ecstatic. But before the draft broadcast went off the air, he had been traded to Phoenix for the draft rights to Zhaire Smith, selected 16th, and Miami's 2021 first-round pick. Smith immediately fit in perfectly as a Philly draft pick - he broke his foot this summer and will likely miss at least half of the season. They also landed Landry Shamet with a late first-round pick and Shake Milton as a result of a number of second-round pick trades, but neither is likely to be a big factor early on.
Wilson Chandler highlights the veteran additions. He can score reasonably well as he showed with Denver last year, but his strengths here are his defensive play and his leadership, and that makes him a strong new piece. They also added big man Mike Muscala as a reward for playing a small part in making it possible for Oklahoma City to get rid of Carmelo Anthony. He's not a difference-maker, but he is still a valuable depth piece. Those two veterans have to step up, though, because the team said goodbye to two important pieces. Ersan Ilyasova has returned to Milwaukee where he began his career and is a very nice addition for a team that could threaten the Sixers, and Marco Belinelli has gone to San Antonio. Neither loss is ideal, but at least the team did find a way to bring back J.J. Redick for at least one more year.
There was plenty of offseason drama coming from the front office this offseason. The net result is that Elton Brand is the new GM, and the net result of that is that I feel really old - it feels like only yesterday that he was the top overall pick by the Bulls in 1999. He's a smart guy who knows the organization well and will be a great choice as long as he doesn't do anything stupid - the framework is here.
2018 Philadelphia 76ers Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +1600
Eastern Conference title odds : +375
Joel Embiid MVP Odds : +1600
Ben Simmons MVP Odds : +2800
Zhaire Smith ROY Odds: +6600
Season win total: 54.5
The Sixers were 53-37-2 ATS on the season, including the playoffs, which made them the third-most-profitable team in the league. They went "over" the total 45 times and "under" 46, so the team wasn't nearly as profitable on the totals.
2018 Philadelphia 76ers Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
It's time for a bold prediction. Not only is this team going to go over their win total, but they are going to win the East. I respect Boston and Toronto, but the upside of the core here is ridiculous. I think Fultz will find a way to be functional, and that will make things very tough for everyone playing against them. The Sixers are your Eastern Conference champs in 2019 - book it.
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