Is It Realistic To Think The Sixers Can Win The Finals?

It’s safe to say the Sixers have defied all odds this season. The were supposed to be a back-of-the-pack 7th or 8th seed in the East. As their ceiling. Yet here they are, one of 5 50-win teams in the NBA. Coming into this season, making the finals was on approximately zero people’s radar. Now, as we surge into the playoffs as the hottest team in the NBA, is it realistic to think that we could make the finals? Or could they…could they win it?

First let’s consider the odds and the field.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 11.30.08 AMThe Sixers currently have the 5th best odds to win the finals. Somewhat remarkably, when the season started the Sixers had the 8th best odds to win the finals, but that might have played on a bullish core’s gambling proclivity.

If the season finishes on our current trajectory, we should wind up as the third seed. This is increasingly important because, if we wind up escaping a likely first round matchup with Miami, we would see the recently-depleted Celtics in the second round. Neither series is a lock, but the Celtics look like an increasingly favorable match-up.

This would –again hypothetically– take us to the conference finals. If the other side of the East goes chalk, we would face the winner of the Raptors and Cavs. While the Raptors are the top seed and perennially disrespected, the Cavs still ring as the scariest possible match-up. Despite us eeking out a win against the Cavs this weekend, a 7-game series would be tough. If the Raptors find a way to beat Cleveland, however, the Sixers chances look a lot more promising.

Even if they do wind up facing the Cavs in the ECF, I still like their chances.

Mainly because of this guy.

God damn. Whether you get your rocks off claiming Ben Simmons isn’t a real rookie or not, what he’s doing is incredible. The Sixers are currently on a franchise record single-season winning streak at 14 games. And they are doing a big chunk of it without Embiid.


Why do I think it’s possible for the Sixers to beat LeBron? Pace. It’s that simple. The Sixers, led by Simmons, have managed to keep up an incredible pace. Off of a steal, long rebound, or even a made bucket, Simmons has the ability to push the pace in ways that few other teams are equipped to counter.

The Cavs, meanwhile, have one of the worst transition defenses in the league. Anyone who has ever seen LeBron stay at the offensive end of the court to yell at a ref about a call he thought he deserved knows this. His chase down blocks are merely powdered sugar on a shit sandwich when considering his transition defense, which is one of the weakest parts of his exceedingly complete game.

The Sixers in transition have been just too much.

The implications of the Sixers potentially beating LeBron in the ECF are far and wide. Would he join a team that just beat him, a la Durant? What if it goes the other way? Would he join a team that he had just beated? That potential series opens a choose-your-own-adventure novel worth of scenarios this off season.

A lot of things will have to happen for the Sixers to make the finals. It will take some luck and the Sixers will have to ride their currently hot hand. Little things, like J.J. Reddick curling around screens for an unstoppable jumper, Ersan Ilyasova taking countless charges and Marco Belinelli draining off balance prayers, have to keep happening.They will have to keep up their unbelievable unselfishness, which is highlighted by the longest streak of 28 or more assists per game in NBA history.


But if these little things do keep happening, the two most likely opponents from the West are the stalwart Rockets and the terrifying Warriors.

The Rockets give me the same feeling the Raptors do. They have two extraordinary guards that probably should scare me more than they do.The Rockets are also way more than just Chris Paul and James Harden. Eric Gordon is instant offense and Ryan Anderson is a deadly deep threat. But the stupid shit that Gerald Green seems to keep on doing, coupled with the fact that Paul and Harden always seem to fuck things up in the playoffs, make it seem like a situationally winnable match up.

The Warriors on the other hand are a completely different story. They’re horrifying. In good conscience, I can not make a case for the Sixers to beat the Warriors. No amount of mental gymnastics can allow me to convince myself that we can keep up. They have too much fire power. They are too deep. They play defense. They can heat up so fucking fast that a 30-point lead will evaporate before we know what just happened. This exact thing happened when the Sixers played the Warriors earlier this season. Steph Curry will be back and rested. It’s just not happening.

Not this year anyway.

But that shouldn’t damper the Sixers season, nor should it act as any type of cloud cover on the sunniest stretch in Philly sports history.