Philadelphia at Sacramento
Time: 9 PM CST (NBA LP)
Spread: SAC -6
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Philadelphia 76ers have lost two straight enterings tonight’s NBA League Pass matchup against the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento is 6-point favorites in the game, with the over/under set at 219 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The Sacramento Kings are just 27-34 on the season, but the team has dealt with some injuries, and as usual, plenty of underachievement. Sacramento is again probably going to miss the postseason, which has been the case for the past decade-plus for a team that never manages to achieve the potential it seems to have on paper.
Credit injuries to its starting point guard DeAaron Fox and starting center Marvin Bagley for a lot of this failure. Fox has played in just half the games, and Bagley had missed all but one, through the first 20, but he is back albeit not quite in full-form.
That duo really is supposed to represent the cornerstone talents, along with Buddy Hield, and Sacto cannot manage to get all even on the court together this season. Hield has certainly thrived and is a borderline emerging star at shooting guard, though probably still a tier away from being an All-Star, particularly since he starts on a sub-.500 team.
Richaun Holmes has looked nice after not showing a ton his first five NBA seasons, and his emergence forced the Kings into an awkward situation of starting two true bigs at the 4/5 positions. While Holmes has continued to break out, the result has still been more consistent losing. Holmes is averaging 13.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in just under 30 minutes a night. Holmes then went down with an injury too, and he has been out for several weeks. Nothing manages to go right in Sacramento. Holmes is listed as questionable for tonight, so his return seems imminent.
Harrison Barnes is having a solid season as a King, and Bodgan Bogdanovic is a solid shooter, but the Kings are lacking the transcendental talents that would make Fox really succeed as the team’s leader in the backcourt. Fox averages seven assists per game, and one can only sense that figure as deflated on a team that is managing to muster just 44 percent shooting.
The Kings are attempting 35.4 threes per game and knocking down a solid 33.9 percent, but the scoring issues persist on a team managing just 105.9 points per game. The Kings need health first, but even a healthy roster this year still sees the Kings strike out on a postseason appearance once again.
PHILADELPHIA NEWS & NOTES:
The Philadelphia 76ers are seeded No. 6 in the East currently, with a 9.5 game lead over No. 7 Brooklyn. The Sixers trail No. 5 Indiana by six games in the standings.
Philadelphia averages 109 points per game, ranking No. 22 in the Association in scoring. It allows 107.2 per, and the Sixers have a win-differential of +1.8 points. Joel Embiid is the team leader. He averages 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals/blocks in just 31.1 minutes per game. The signing of Al Horford has helped the Sixers manage the load of Embiid much better. Embiid has also appeared in only 31 games to this point and is currently now cleared for non-contact conditioning drills. He is expected to be evaluated again in another week.
Horford is averaging the same 30 minutes per game, and he averages 12.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals/blocks per game. The Sixers have Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson starting on the wings, and both are producing, combining to average 34.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Ben Simmons is certainly a unique point guard, but he has not been without his issues. The 6’9” point-forward is averaging 14.9 points, seven rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game, but the mantra that he “cannot shoot” is not dying any sort of quick death. While Simmons shoots a very fine 56.3 percent from the floor, he is still passing on most jump shots, and he very rarely (0.1 per game) shoots the triple.
It does affect matters. Teams do not respect Simmons’ shooting ability and that makes it easier to double team Embiid and Harris. Until Simmons gains a respectable mid-range jumper and potentially even a three, it is tough to imagine the Sixers making that final step towards true contention. Philadelphia is a good team, but in some senses, it is an easy team to prepare for. While Embiid is extra-worldly, Simmons’ upside is quite mitigated by his errant shooting. It is not much different than the trajectory seen in the career of Rajon Rondo. Either add a respectable jump shot or keep launching uncontested bricks. It is up to Simmons which it is.