Weekly Sixers Roundup: Rankings and Predictions

ESPN predicts the Sixers season, fivethirtyeight's CARMELO projection system highlight Sixers related content this week.

Robert Covington and Tim Frazier celebrate | John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Covington and Tim Frazier celebrate | John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Every week we’ll collect some of the top content being produced about the Philadelphia 76ers.

ESPN produced a lot of Sixers related content as they churn out their season previews. First was a 2015-16 forecast by Kevin Pelton for ESPN Insider. Pelton projects the Sixers at nineteen wins and the worst record in the East. A bunch of interesting projections there, including shot efficiency by location, a projection that the Sixers will move up to 23rd in the league in three point shooting at 34%, and a Real Plus-Mins projection for each of the starters. Only Robert Covington came in as a positive.

“With so much talent on the way, this season is important for the players currently on the 76ers’ roster to establish they’re part of the team’s core. As evidenced by the Carter-Williams trade, Hinkie has shown a willingness to move quickly when he senses the opportunity to get value, so even top-10 picks like Noel and Okafor must prove they belong and can play together. Their development remains more important than wins and losses for Philadelphia in 2015-16.”

Kevin Pelton also released detailed player profiles for each player on the Sixers roster, also at ESPN Insider.

“Concerns about Noel playing with Okafor defensively are probably overstated. He spent much of last season playing alongside 7-footer Henry Sims, and Philadelphia defended better with Noel at power forward than center, per NBA.com/Stats. As good as Noel is protecting the rim — SportVU tracking ranked him in the top 10 in shooting percentage allowed within 5 feet — he’s also mobile enough to defend out on the perimeter so long as he stays close to dangerous shooters. Even more than his shot blocking, what sets Noel apart statistically is his high steal rate. His 2.4 steals per 36 minutes after the All-Star break would have ranked him fourth among players with at least 1,000 minutes.”

ESPN The Magazine released their Ultimate Standings of Sports Franchises. The rankings combine fan polls with various formula’s to rank teams in a variety of ways, from affordability, to coaching, to fan relations, players, etc.

Philadelphia as a whole didn’t do so well, with the Eagles (79), Flyers (81), Sixers (98), and Phillies (118) all falling in the second half of the 122 franchises ranked. You can read the Sixers specific excerpt here.

“The Sixers are losing, but it’s by design! No, really, fans in Philly seem relatively confident that the team’s uncanny knack for stockpiling losses is not due to incompetence from the guy on the sideline, nor the young nucleus taking the court every night.”

The ESPN-owned FiveThirtyEight released their season preview for the 76ers, with a headline of “Another Season, Another Garbage Heap Of A Sixers Team”. Despite the headline they’re projecting the Sixers to have a 25-57 record, a pretty substantial improvement over the 18 win season of 2014-15.

“As they’ve done each of the past two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers will focus on player development at the expense of wins. Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor give the team a top-six big man from each of the last three drafts,1 but Embiid will miss his second straight season recovering from foot injuries. That means one of coach Brett Brown’s major tasks in 2015-16 is figuring out how to make Noel’s defensive talents — and offensive limitations — mesh with Okafor, whose skills are the polar opposite.”

They also released their CARMELO projection system, which is fun to play with. A few Sixers players:

Player2015-16 WARPeak WARTotal WARCategory
Joel Embiid1.44.3 (2019-20)24.5Great prospect
Nerlens Noel3.94.5 (2017-18)27.3Up-and-comer
Jahlil Okafor14.4 (2020-21)23.1Great Prospect
Robert Covington3.63.6 (2015-16)18.1Key Role PLayer
Nik Stauskas-0.30.6 (2021-22)2Project
Richaun Holmes-0.10.6 (2019-20)2.6Marginal Prospect
FiveThirtyEight.com's WAR projections, based on their CARMELO system. WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. Peak WAR is the a player's best season, per fivethirtyeight's projections. Total WAR is the total amount projected to be accumulated by a player through the 2021-22 season. You can read about how 538 projects WAR with CARMELO at fivethirtyeight.com.

Before every season, ESPN releases their player rankings. Nerlens Noel was the highest rated 76er player, coming in at, fittingly, 76th. Jahlil Okafor was the second highest rated player on the team at 90th. Third? Robert Covington at 202.

(For what it’s worth, the Lakers highest rated player was Kobe Bryant at 93rd. The Sixers have the Lakers top-3 protected pick in the 2016 draft).

Spike Eskin and Michael Levin interviewed new Sixer Nik Stauskas on their podcast, the Rights to Ricky Sanchez.

“It’s unbelievable the amount of actual teaching [Brett Brown] does…it just shows how much he cares.” — Nik Stauskas

Speaking of podcasts, I went on Nate Duncan’s “Dunc’d on Basketball” podcast to preview the upcoming Sixers season. You can listen to that here. We also released another edition of the Sixers Beat, a weekly(ish) podcast I host about the Sixers.