2019-2020 Sixers Game Schedule and Predictions
This year is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory for the Philadelphia 76ers. The team is coming off an agonizing loss in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Toronto Raptors, who went on to win the NBA Championship. The Sixers were just one shot away from reaching the Conference Finals – a defeat that surely made this offseason a long one for them.
Despite the disappointment, the team is no doubt excited for the upcoming season. With Sixers game schedule out and tickets available, anticipation is growing for Philly fans. After the team made some notable offseason moves, many believe they're now better suited to win a championship. Needless to say, now is a good time to look into getting cheap Sixers tickets for the 2019-20 season, because if things play out as expected, demand 76ers tickets will only grow for dates across the Sixers game schedule.
The complete Sixers game schedule for 2019-20 season is out, and the 76ers are on tap to host a game on Christmas Day against the Bucks. While the NFL owns Thanksgiving, the NBA owns Christmas, as the league uses December 25 as a showcase for top teams and intriguing matchups. The 76ers have played on Christmas Day in each of the past two seasons, so it's nothing new for Philly’s young core. However, having the privilege of hosting a Christmas Day game is a sign that the Sixers have taken a step forward in the league’s eyes, and a matchup against the Bucks is bound to be a good one.
An Elite Defense
One of the easiest predictions to make about the 76ers for the 2019-20 season is that they'll be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. In fact, with a projected starting lineup of Josh Richardson, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Joel Embiid, they could have the best defensive team in the NBA. During the offseason, the 76ers have essentially swapped out Jimmy Butler and J.J. Reddick for Richardson and Horford, an exchange that gives them a significant edge on the defensive end of the court.
In addition to their starting five being possibly the best defense in the league, the Sixers have plenty of help coming off the bench. Kyle O’Quinn was signed to give Philadelphia another defensive-minded big man in the rotation. Zhaire Smith, a member of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team in college will also be in a position to play more after missing most of his rookie season due to injury. Rookie Matisse Thybulle also figures to be an asset defensively after being Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last season at Washington.
A Potential Shooting Problem
While defense will surely be a strength for Philadelphia, shooting could be one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. Last season, they relyied on Reddick and sometimes Butler as consistent outside shooters, but these two will be out of the picture moving forward. Simmons has yet to add an outside shot to his game, and Harris has been streaky but inconsistent from three-point range throughout his career.
The addition of Richardson should help a little, but he’s seen his outside shooting percentage decline the more minutes he plays. Youngsters like Smith and Thybulle may also not be reliable shooters at this point in their career. Obviously, the 76ers have other offensive strengths, particularly with Embiid in the paint. But at some point, they'll need to be able to make outside shots if they expect to be a championship-caliber team.
No one will debate the fact that Philadelphia has two exceptional talents in Embiid and Simmons. Both have a chance to become one of the all-time greats in NBA history as they continue to improve and trend upward. However, the jury's still out on whether the two can play together long-term, especially since Embiid is yet to play a full season due to injury. Both Simmons and Embiid prefer to occupy the paint area, and the paint will be even more crowded this season with Horford coming to Philadelphia. That could be less of an issue if the Sixers had a lockdown shooter like Reddick on the roster, but as mentioned, outside shooting is one of the team’s biggest question marks heading into the 2019-20 campaign. This could lead to Simmons and Embiid struggling to play side by side at times, potentially hindering Philly’s championship aspirations.
One More Step
Despite some of the questions that the Sixers face heading into the upcoming season, it seems inevitable that they'll take a step forward as a team. Barring injuries, which are always a concern given Embiid’s history, the 76ers should take at least one step forward and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020. However, there's still too much uncertainty to predict that Philadelphia will be able to get over the hump and play in the NBA Finals. Even with the league’s best teams occupying the Western Conference and many giving Philadelphia decent odds to win the NBA title, the 76ers appear destined to fall a little short of winning a championship in 2020.