Joel Embiid, he of the recent spat with Mia Khalifa over who is taking Ls and who is taking Ds, wants you to know the Philadelphia 76ers are ready to make a run to the playoffs. That’s right — the basketball team that has won 10 of 35 games and sits 7.5 games out of the final postseason spot isn’t out of this yet.
But they are, right?
Embiid had this to say after the Sixers beat the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA’s worst team:
“I think we have a chance. We’ve been hot lately,” he said. “We’ve won three out of four lately, so I look at it, and I think we have a chance, and we’re really figuring things out. We’re starting to learn how to win games.”
With 47 games remaining, sure, the Sixers are mathematically alive. And they have won three of four. So is it doable?
Let’s start with math. There’s a tie for the No. 8 spot between the Wizards and Bucks, who are both 18-18. If one or both maintains that win percentage, it looks like at least 41 wins will be required to reach the playoffs. Since the Sixers have 10 wins, that means they will need to finish 31-16 or 32-15 to climb into that spot. That’s about a .680 winning percentage over the rest of the season, which only four teams — Cleveland, Golden State, San Antonio and Houston — are at or above right now.
So for the Sixers to barely reach the playoffs, they need to become a reasonable facsimile of championship contenders the rest of the way.
Also: the three teams the Sixers beat during this little run have a combined record of 33-77. This is like dominating your 8-year-old kid in the driveway over a weekend and then telling people you feel like you’re good enough to make it in the NBA. You learned how to win by dunking on a child.
Embiid isn’t wrong; the Sixers have a chance. It’s just a very bad one. It’s like the chance Jim Carrey had with Lauren Holly in Dumb & Dumber. Although they did get together in real life. So maybe the Sixers and the playoffs will start dating after the season? I’ve lost the thread on this analogy, but you get the point.