- The Philadelphia 76ers have gone all in on the 2018-19 NBA season
- The Sixers dealt four draft picks and three players for forward Tobias Harris
- Philadelphia most recently won the NBA title in 1982-83
Not since the days of Dr. J and Darryl Dawkins has there been this much buzz about the Philadelphia 76ers. A team that preached sticking with the process and building around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid suddenly decided to put all their chips into play, acquiring forward Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers for a package that included four draft picks – two first rounders and a pair of second-round choices – and players Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, and Mike Muscala.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) February 10, 2019
The 76ers also got Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott, but this deal was all about adding Harris to play alongside Embiid, Simmons, and Jimmy Butler in a bid to instantly transform Philadelphia into the beasts of the Eastern Conference.
Bovada has moved the odds on the 76ers winning the Atlantic Division to +500, still behind the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, but significantly better than Philly’s pre-trade odds.
2019 NBA Atlantic Division Odds
|Team||Odds to Win 2018-19 NBA Atlantic Division Title at
|Odds to Win 2018-19 NBA Atlantic Division Title at
|New York Knicks||+200000||N/A|
BetOnline likes the Sixers even more to take the division title at +350.
Philadelphia’s last Atlantic Division crown was earned in 2000-01, when the 76ers lost the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Sixers haven’t won an NBA title since 1982-83.
Is Harris Worth It?
In their first two games with Harris, the Sixers’ offensive rating was 124.4. He gives them an outside shooting threat, with a career-high 44% success rate from three-point range this season. When it comes to having the ball, Harris is willing to defer, which should allow him to complement the presence of Simmons, Embiid, and Butler on the floor.
“You can get a million touches on a bottom five team,” Tobias Harris says. “You win, you have fun, you have a joy to the game…it’s that little bit of sacrifice that everybody has to take.”
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 9, 2019
They’d already taken a step in this direction by adding Butler earlier this season from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It can be debated that Philly now has four All-Stars on the floor, very similar to the formula the Golden State Warriors have employed to dominate the league in recent seasons.
Don’t want to overreact after 2 games, but man, this 76ers team is loaded. Joel has been dominant all year. Tobias can score however you want it. JJ has the quickest release. Jimmy doesn’t have to expend himself. No one has to worry if or how Ben shoots. It’s early; they’re scary
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) February 10, 2019
Over the years, the list of NBA teams that could boast such depth is a very short one. The Sixers will be a tough out for anybody in the playoffs.
It’s Now or Never for 76ers
Both Harris and Butler will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end, so the real question may be how long can Philadelphia afford to keep this band together?
The 76ers may have the best starting lineup in the Eastern Conference following the Tobias Harris trade.
What exactly is Philly’s ceiling? pic.twitter.com/YTqebu6JJd
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 11, 2019
The 76ers trail the Raptors by 4.5 games in the Atlantic, so it may be a tall order to reign in the Atlantic Division title. But the Sixers to win in the Eastern Conference at +250 might just be a wise investment.
Let the Showdown Begin
You can argue that in the Raptors, 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, three of the four best teams in the NBA are now situated in the East.
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) February 11, 2019
The Raptors improved themselves by adding Marc Gasol, and the Bucks also got better via the acquisition of Nikola Mirotic. But the Raptors still have to prove they can get it done in the postseason, and the Bucks will go as Giannis Antetokounmpo goes. The Sixers look to be the best team of the bunch.
Those Eastern Conference playoffs sure are going to be fun to watch.