B/R's Offseason Prediction: 40-42
Current Pace: 41-41
New Projection: 45-37
Processors everywhere are being treated to a huge dose of "Oh, not again" as the Philadelphia Sixers slog through this season's most harrowing stretch.
Robert Covington is coping with back pain after diving into the stands during a Dec. 9 loss to the Cavaliers, while Joel Embiid is—gulp—dealing with back tightness. Oh, and for those who haven't given up on checking, No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz remains at least a few weeks away from returning to action.
This flurry of bad news coincides with a four-game losing streak, and a stretch of six letdowns in eight tries. People in Philly are officially on the lookout for a descending sky, moral decay, inbound second-round picks and other apocalyptic harbingers. (And FYI: Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz's season-ending ACL injury isn't helping matters.)
Hang tough, Philly. It gets better from here.
Three of the Sixers' most recent six losses have come without Embiid, their most valuable player. That they gave the Cavaliers a scare without him—in Cleveland, no less—suffices as a moral victory. And their relatively competitive loss to the Pelicans on Sunday came on the second night of a road back-to-back, without Covington and Embiid, who own the team's top two net ratings.
Make no mistake: These recent run-ins with injuries stink.
The Sixers aren't built to withstand a lengthy absence from two of their three best players. Newly acquired Trevor Booker doesn't bridge the talent gap of a frontcourt without Embiid, and neither Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot nor Dario Saric comes close to supplanting Covington's three-point shooting and defensive tenacity. But nothing emanating out of Philly suggests the Sixers are screwed for the long haul.
JJ Redick and Rookie of the Year runaway/Hall of Fame-bound Ben Simmons have almost played opponents to a statistical stalemate without Covington and Embiid, so they can navigate short-term hardship. And assuming everyone gets healthy, the Sixers have the point differential of a championship contender when these four share the court—all while playing through the league's second-toughest schedule to date.
Panicking over an onrush of bad luck in Philly is so 2014. Those days are gone. The Sixers will resume chasing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs once they're whole.
Source : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2748335-every-nba-teams-updated-win-loss-prediction