Washington at Philadelphia
Time: 6 PM (CT), NBA TV
Spread: PHI -5.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Philadelphia 76ers fell last time out, but have won six of its past 10 to reach an 11-8 mark on the young season. The Sixers will host 11-9 Washington Wizards at 6 PM (CT) on NBA TV. Philadelphia is 5.5 point favorites in the game, an the Sixers are 5-4 at home this season. The over/under is set at 213 points.
Philly for its part has been quietly spectacular. Despite being just three games over .500, this is a team that had lingered at the basement of the Eastern Conference for the past four seasons. Philadelphia now rides rookie Ben Simmons, a 6-foot-10 point guard with the skills of Magic Johnson, and one of the game’s most transcendent big men, Joel Embiid. The duo gives Philly a youthful edge almost every night, given the exploits of both of the young mega-talents. Embiid is being crowned perhaps the best since Hakeem Olajuwon, and Simmons has not been short on the “Magic” superlatives. Excitement runs high in Philly, and this is all without its No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz even being available. How much better can Philly get? No one is even sure.
Embiid is averaging 22.8 points and 11.2 rebounds in just UNDER 30 minutes a night. While he still faces restrictions on minutes, it is becoming clear that if he remains healthy he will be the league’s dominant force at the 5-spot, all due respect to Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns. Embiid stands 7’2” and has the grace of a guard; his 3.2 assists per game are no accident either. Pairing him with the LSU product Simmons may be Philly’s ticket to contention in a post-LeBron NBA. The time is coming soon.
Simmons is averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game as a rookie, while posting a PER over 20. The top pick from the 2016 draft has fulfilled all expectations. He really is running the point guard position at 6’10” with no parallel to the play other than perhaps that of Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. Alongside Simmons and Embiid, has been the rock-solid play of swingmen J.J. Redick and Robert Covington. Covington emerged as the clear-cut starter at the 3-spot, and he is quickly becoming one of the league’s best “three and D” swingmen. Covington quietly posts 15.2 points per game, but his impact on the wings defensively can hardly be ignored. Redick has fit as the interchangeable part shooters usually are, and is averaging 15.8 points per game in addition to three boards and three assists.
Power forward Dario Saric has not been lost in the mix, as the second-year forward has averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in 27 minutes a night. Saric had a staunch stand at the end-part of last season’s campaign, and his versatility and mid-range shooting gives Philly just one more productive forward in a pretty solid nine-man rotation.
Rounding it out are guards Jarryd Bayless, Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarrot. The trio combines for another 24 points per game and Philly shoots 36.2 percent from three-point range on 30.3 attempts per night. The youth, and the blend of today’s basketball style, should position Philly as one of the East’s top teams for many years to come—dependent only upon the health of Embiid and just how great the team becomes when a game-changer like Fultz is healthy. There is almost too much talent, and the Process is really just getting its start.
The Washington Wizards are playing typical Washington ball. That is to say, decent, not bad, but hard to call anything other than mediocre. It is still a two-man team based on the talents of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Beal leads the team in scoring at 23.4 points per game, and he has been more consistent, but outside of that tandem and an emergent Otto Porter, there just is not much to suggest Washington will be anything but what it has been the last half-decade. Wall still needs more help.
The Wizards still have as strong starting-five and one of the league’s weakest benches. So little has changed, that this paragraph should serve as strong enough notice that the Sixers are the team to watch in this affair, as Washington continues to fulfill the low expectations and leap the bar of mediocrity, as the league’s perpetual middle-of-the-pack non-contender.