2015-2016 NBA Betting Preview: The 76ers: Back in the Tank

Posted by Daniel Strum on Thursday,October 22, 2015 4:57, EDT in

If you’re a Philadelphia 76ers NBA betting fan, you really might think taking a year off before you purchase another year’s worth of season tickets. Why? Because the team is going to pay attention to developing players rather than trying to win. It’s true that the last three drafts have each brought the team a big man from the top six prospects in Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor, but Embiid is about to miss his second consecutive season getting better from foot injuries.

2015-2016 NBA Betting Preview: The 76ers: Back in the Tank



This means that Sixers coach Brett Brown gets to spend his season figuring out how to blend playing time for an all-defense big man (Noel) with an all-offense big man (Okafor). There are a bunch of young wings around the big men, which Brown can sort of sift through to find the players that he wants down the road. So instead of fighting traffic down to the arena, you might think about cracking open a Yuengling and sitting on the couch to click back and forth between the Sixers and the Flyers.

Make no mistake now – Nerlens Noel is a defensive machine. He ranked in the NBA’s top five percent last year in terms of block rate, steal rate and overall plus-minus on defense. So now can he add to the offense at all? Nene is a player who can provide a bit of a comparison, as the longtime big man for Denver and Washington did improve slightly on offense to add to a strong defensive skill set. If Noel can do that too, the Sixers will be very happy.

Jahlil Okafor already has a polished set of post moves, so the Sixers aren’t worrying about his contributions to offense. However, his ability to play defense in the NBA is definitely in question. As long as he can turn out more like Derrick Favors, with adequate defense, rather than someone like Derrick Williams, who can’t play defense at all, the team should be all right. The main task that the Sixers have this year is figuring out how to make Noel and Okafor work well as a pairing.

Tony Wroten is great at creating shots off the dribble, but he is also awful at three-point shooting – at a historical level. The fact that he keeps jacking the ball up without putting it into the net can render an offense dead upon arrival. Nik Stauskas comes to Philly after a dreadful rookie campaign in Sacramento. He has a reputation for knocking down the three-ball, but he didn’t do that frequently enough last year.

Jerami Grant can play solid defense against several different positions, which makes him a valuable piece. However, his jump shot looks horrendous, and he turns the ball over almost on demand. The Sixers are hoping he can figure out how to turn his skills into production on the offensive end. Robert Covington is an incredible three-point shooter who can also play a little defense on the wing. If the Sixers ever get competitive enough to think about the playoffs, he could be a useful depth player.