The Philadelphia 76ers Weekly Report Card + A Look At The Favorites For 2019-2020 NBA MVP

NBA 2019-2020 MVP favorites

The 76ers just haven’t been consistent. Last week, we started to believe the 76ers had turned a corner. We were proven wrong once again. The turnover issues, which plagued the team early in the season, crept back into focus on Thursday. With all the questions about the team chemistry and who the go-to guys are down the stretch, the biggest issue going forward is going to be the issue with the turnovers.

This team has five different high scorers over the course of the season. You can’t worry too much about who “the guy” is going to be each game as long as you have guys who step up each game and that’s what the Sixers have. However, you can’t have a team that rebounds so well and turns the ball over at this rate and expect them to comfortably win games. Their turnover issue is an anchor weighing this team down.

If the Sixers can’t get this problem resolved by the time playoffs roll around, I don’t think they’ll have a legit shot in the East.

Wizards vs 76ers Dec 05

The Sixers lost by six and were -10 in the turnover margin. That’s what this game came down to, again. I get tired of running the same narrative for 90% of the Sixers losses, but I’m never going to tiptoe around the elephant in the room. The Sixers committed 21 turnovers (15 between Simmons and Embid). The Wizards attempted 90 shots to the Sixers’ 77 and 32 free throw attempts to the Sixers’ 24.

The amazing part is, the Sixers outrebounded the Wizards. Statistically, the Sixers had the edge on shot success (46% from the field vs 40%) and were +10 in the “points in the paint” category. Though they had clear advantages down low, the Sixers attempted more threes than the Wizards and seemed to ignore the paint at times where it seemed like they had clear mismatches down low.

Cavs vs 76ers Dec 07

The Sixers bounced back from Thursday’s game in a big way on Saturday night. It was the third time the Sixers faced the Cavs this season and each game has been more impressive than the last for the Sixers in these meetings. The Sixers blew the Cavs away with Ben Simmons’ best game of the year. He also made another three! Kyle O’Quinn, Trey Burke, and Raul Neto got significant playing time during the blowout as they collectively averaged a plus-minus of +20 over 25 minutes (avg) of playing time.

The Sixers absolutely dominated the guard duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, while Tristan Thompson was reduced to rubble, securing only three rebounds in the blowout loss. The Sixers won the turnover battle (+9), points-in-the-paint (+30), rebounding (+26), blocks (+8) and assists (+23). It’s rare I’d say a 47 point victory should’ve been a lot worse, but after watching the game replay, this probably should’ve been a lot worse than just a 47 point victory.

Raptors vs 76ers Dec 08

This was one of the Sixers most impressive games of the season. It was on the back end of a back-to-back, so if the Sixers had lost, most seasoned fans would feel it was understandable. It’s also worth noting Fred VanVleet left the game after a leg injury just twelve minutes into the game. In case you aren’t following the Raptors much this season, VanVleet is averaging 18 points per game, so he’s a big part of this team’s production.

Toronto won the rebounding battle (+2) and the points-in-the-paint (+10), but the Sixers shot considerably better from the floor (50% to 43%) and from three (43% to 33%). The turnover differential was even, but the loss of Vanvleet does make you wonder if the result would’ve been different had he played the entire game. Regardless, a win is a win and the Sixers took down one of the best teams in the East and remain unbeaten at home this season (12-0).

NBA favorites for 2019-2020 MVP

With the NBA season well underway at this point, we thought we would take an early look at the favorites for 2019-2020 NBA season. These are the top four players to win MVP according to the BetRivers online sportsbook, which is available to sports bettors in Pennsylvania.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo +175 to win MVP

Giannis is averaging over 30 points per game and 13 rebounds. Both are improvements over last year when he won the MVP. It was a tight race last year between him and Harden for MVP, but in the end, voters gave more credit to how Giannis led his team to the #1 seed in the East. So far this season, Giannis is shooting 56% and his team is an NBA best 21-3 record. The team lost a couple of key players in the offseason and Giannis has seemingly been unstoppable down the stretch in games.

He’s a good bet for me because of two reasons. For one, his stats are even better than last season. The second reason is the team’s current win trajectory. Last season, they finished first in the East with a 60-22 record. They’re currently on pace for around a 70-12 record, so if Giannis keeps dragging this team to first place and an improvement of a finish over last year’s arguably better roster, this back-to-back MVP is in the bag.

2. Luka Doncic +400 to win MVP

Luka is the fun pick here, but it may be a year early for him. Luka just broke Michael Jordan’s NBA record for consecutive 20-5-5 games. His team is positioned for a playoff spot and he’s averaging 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists per game. It’s honestly more impressive to me than Giannis’ 30-13-5 line, but this is solely from a stat-head standpoint. Luka is shooting 47% (9% lower than Giannis). He’s also averaging 4.6 turnovers per game (Giannis is at 3.8).

Perhaps the biggest difference is on the defensive side of the ball. Giannis’ defense is among the best in the league and Luka has a long way to go there. To me, what it comes down to is the fact Giannis just takes over the games down the stretch. When you need to get a basket, he can find a good, high percentage shot near the basket. Luka is great, but he needs to become a little more efficient and he needs to demonstrate he can carry his team in the clutch. Voters pay more attention to these factors than they do about slight statistical differences and a player’s defense.

3. James Harden +450 to win MVP

James Harden is averaging a career-high 38 points per game. It’s truly an incredible number in the history of the NBA. He’s currently a full point ahead of Michael Jordan in 1986 (37 PPG). The unfortunate part for James Harden this season is the presence of Giannis and his improvement over last season, his first MVP season. Harden is going to need to keep up this pace of scoring, as well as experience a high regular-season finish.

Voters tend to give extra credit for the guys who put their team on their back and Harden is example #1. Harden isn’t a bad bet under those current odds, but you have to feel better about Giannis, considering he’s carrying the best team in the East right now. Luka is off to a hot start and won a Euro League MVP title at the age of just 18, but there’s a strong belief among experts in the league who believe Luka is not quite at the level yet of typical MVPs and Giannis’ improvement over his previous season is more worthy of consideration.

4. Lebron James +700 to win MVP

This may be the sucker bet for casual bettors. I was the sucker in Lebron’s last season in Cleveland. My thought at the time was that Lebron would fill up the stat sheet like no other season in his illustrious career, due to his prominent role and primary responsibilities on a lesser team than previous seasons. He ended up having a monster season, averaging career highs in both rebounds and assists. Needless to say, MVP voters do eventually get worn out on certain guys and Lebron is experiencing that now. He’s also got another Top five talent alongside him in LA, which definitely plays a role in how the voters decide.

Sure, he’s averaging a career-high in assists, but there are three players in the league right now who all have the three highest PER ratings of all time (if the season ended today). Lebron is only a good bet here if the other three get injured or if Anthony Davis gets hurt and Lebron carries the team to a high finish.


Author: Collin Hulbert