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Philadelphia 76ers running out of time to click

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The Philadelphia 76ers are heading towards another season of disappointment unless the franchise is able to improve their form on the road. Brett Brown’s men made their intentions known ahead of the campaign that they were determined to kick on from the last time when they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals for the second year on the bounce.

Although Jimmy Butler was lost in a trade deal with the Miami Heat, the Sixers emerged with Josh Richardson as part of the move. Tobias Harris’ contract was extended, while the franchise made a significant splash to sign Al Horford, robbing the Boston Celtics of their All-Star center.

Experience was a key factor in Philadelphia’s struggles in their back-to-back post-season exits, and the addition of Horford was supposed to provide guile and nous to a young side as well as stealing a quality player from a rival. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were expected to take another step in their development to help the Sixers become the leading outfit in the Eastern Conference.

However, it has not proven to be the case as the stretch run of the 2019/20 season approaches. Philadelphia is well off the pace of the Milwaukee Bucks in the number one seed, while the form of the Celtics, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, and the Indiana Pacers has pushed them down towards the sixth seed. It would create a tougher road in the post-season for the Sixers to handle, although they are still backed in the betting NBA odds as second favorite for the Eastern Conference crown behind the Bucks, despite their issues on the court.

The main problem has been the form and the fitness of Embiid. At his best, the 25-year-old is one of the top players in the NBA – as proven by his third-straight All-Star berth. Embiid’s numbers on the court have been impressive, averaging 23.0 points per game along with 12.1 rebounds. However, there have been occasions where he has struggled to raise the level of his game, particularly against rivals in the East.

Embiid endured one of the worst performances of his career in a defeat to the Celtics, shooting just 1-11 on the night, with nine of his points coming from the free-throw line. A finger injury had ruled him out of action for nine games during January, although he was fine on his return against the Golden State Warriors. If the Sixers are to make a run during the final two months of the regular season they need their All-Star locked in and focused to find the peak of his powers.

Support has not been forthcoming elsewhere in terms of points. Harris has averaged 19.4 points per game, but it’s not quite the standard Brown would have been hoping for from the forward after a five-year $180 million investment in the off-season. Ben Simmons has been impressive around the court, although his production in and around the rim is underwhelming for a player of his ability. Richardson has just been solid, failing to raise the level of his game after leaving Miami.

Then there has been the form of Horford, who has not looked himself on the court. He has struggled to find a consistent role in the team, which has hurt the levels of his output. There could be the possibility at the age of 33 Horford’s skills are beginning to decline. It’s a concern for the Sixers given the contract they handed to the center in free agency worth up to $109 million over four years. He’s not going to improve with age and if this is the best of Horford, then it could be an expensive choice made by the front office.

There’s still ample time for the Sixers to click on the court, but the signs are not looking positive. Philadelphia has talent aplenty, although at the moment it appears that they are a group of individuals rather than a championship-caliber outfit.

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2021 NBA Predictions

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2019/20

Whether you were betting for your team or betting against your team through SmartBettingGuide.com, there’s no way of denying the fact that the 2020 NBA season was a strange one. The chaos that COVID-19 introduced into all of our lives bled into the sports world and, in doing so, ensured that the National Basketball Association was suspended – just a few months after the death of one of the league’s greatest sons, Kobe Bryant.

If nothing else, the incentive of going on to try and claim yet another NBA championship in the name of Black Mamba was always going to be one of the most powerful driving forces the Los Angeles Lakers could have. With LeBron James serving as their shining light they were the favourites for large portions of the campaign and they were able to take that through to the NBA bubble that was introduced after the pandemic broke out.

The Milwaukee Bucks continued to prove why they’re one of the most exciting teams in professional basketball, and guided by Giannis Antetokounmpo aka “The Greek Freak” they were always going to enjoy some success. Alas, after making it into the postseason, they were unable to maintain the same kind of regular season momentum they had previously enjoyed, and they wound up dipping out of the playoffs thanks to the Miami Heat.

The same Heat would go on to knock out the Boston Celtics, setting up an East vs West clash against the aforementioned Lakers. It’s safe to say the series was far more competitive than most could’ve envisaged with Jimmy Butler doing everything in his power to help Miami succeed. In the end, the Lakers and LeBron took home the crown, setting them up for a season in which the target was well and truly placed on their back.

2020/21

It doesn’t matter whether you like betting for your team or not, because this NBA season is as unpredictable as they come. With the pandemic still looming large nobody really knows if the season is going to be completed in its entirety and even if it is, it’s probably going to look very different to what many of us have expected. Still, the basketball we’ve been allowed to watch so far has given us cause for optimism with plenty of teams riding high and reminding us all why we love this sport so very much.

Our aim is to give you a glimpse into what you can expect to see between now and the scheduled NBA Finals, and beyond that, it’s up to you, the fans, to sink your teeth into some of this glorious action.

With that being said, it’s time to run through the teams we believe you should all be keeping an eye on.

Los Angeles Lakers

Those of you who are making the executive decision to put some money down with SmartBettingGuide.com should probably be aware of the following information: the Los Angeles Lakers are going to be the favourites to win the NBA title again this year. Off the back of LeBron’s continued rise to legendary status and the complete nature of their squad, they possess the sort of chemistry that is just mind boggling in how scary it is. They’re not just good, they’re great.

Los Angeles Clippers

They’ve been known and joked about as the great underachievers in the National Basketball Association for years now with the Clippers failing to take the power of the city away from their superior neighbours. If they’re ever going to find a way to change the status quo in that, though, you’d have to think Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be at the heart of it.

Both are natural winners with Leonard, in particular, being the sort of player who is more than capable of dragging a franchise to the finals.

Phoenix Suns

For years now the Phoenix Suns have been viewed as little more than a joke team in the Western Conference, but in the seeding games once the NBA returned from its break, they set themselves up as a team to watch in the future. They’ve kept that trend going into the first few games of the new season as Mikal Bridges and Chris Paul search for a brighter future that includes a few late runs deep into the playoffs.

Golden State Warriors

It’s time to stop pretending like the Golden State Warriors are dead and buried in this league because they’re not. Sure, their form has dipped in a dramatic way in the last few years, but ruling them out would be the biggest mistake of all. Steph Curry doesn’t know how to quit and he’ll want to prove that over the course of the next few years, and that means the rest of the NBA should be very afraid.

Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will get the Celtics back to the top of the mountain if it is the last thing they do and that is a near enough guarantee. Boston is a city of champions and that’s been the case for longer than most of us care to remember, and even though they’ve been positioned as the villains for years now, all they really want is to have their hand raised in victory once again.

Philadelphia 76ers

Remember a few years back when the Sixers were laughed out of every building they played in? Well, that doesn’t happen anymore. Instead of just having one or two veterans or young stars leading the charge, there’s a community feel to the operation that has been put in place in Philly. They’re not always pretty, but you don’t need to be to win the big one.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Greek Freak needs to prove that he has what it takes to guide Milwaukee to the big dance, especially when you consider the fact that he’s in the prime of his career. He won’t get many better opportunities than right now to guide his team through the East, and if he can just find that chemistry with the rest of the starters on a consistent basis, they should have no issue in going straight to the top of the mountain.

Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant now knows what it feels like to taste success at the very highest level, and he wants to bring that winning vibe to Brooklyn. Despite their .500 start they are beginning to gather some pace in a league that we all know to be pretty unforgiving at the worst of times. If they remain focused, the Finals could be in sight for them.

Denver Nuggets

Whatever you do, do not rule out the Denver Nuggets. They have more heart than most of the teams in the West combined and that makes them a threat in every single playoff game they play – if they get there, of course. 

Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler may be anonymous right now and the Heat might be out of the playoff picture, but we all know there’s a good chance that won’t last very long. A nice run of wins will get them right back on track and if you’re a Miami kid, betting for your team at SmartBettingGuide.com would be wise.

PREDICTION: Los Angeles Lakers defeat Milwaukee Bucks 4-2 to win 2021 NBA Finals

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The Famous Pepsi Center Changes its Name

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The Famous Pepsi Center Changes its Name

Everybody knew that the Denver Nuggets played at the Pepsi Center. They played here in front of crowds for 20 years. However, it is now the end of an era and the team are going to have to get used to its new name. This is all part of the Ball Corporation and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) and the Global Partnership that has been formed, calling it the Ball Arena.

The KSE is a Unique Global Partnership

This Global Partnership is the first of its kind, connecting venues across the world. In particular, this is London, Denver and Los Angeles, three places where sport is a big thing. The purpose of this agreement is to innovate and encourage sustainability in sports, as well as making the fan experience more environmentally friendly. As part of this agreement the Denver Nuggets, as well as the Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth are going to play under its new name. This time it is called the Ball Arena.

Interesting to note that Pepsi will still be the official beverage sponsor at the stadium. One of the biggest deals is that they want to change aluminum beverage packaging and increase recycling. They also want to help the local community and make sure that live sport can be responsible when it comes to the environment. Indeed, previous studies have found that sports teams were generating 35,000 metric tons of CO2 every year thanks to the waste created by the fans. Thus, this new approach by the Ball Arena may persuade other sports teams and arenas to follow suit.

About the Ball Arena

The facilities at the Ball Arena remain unchanged; it is still a fantastic multipurpose stadium that is located in Denver, Colorado. The NBA 2020-21 season looks like it is going to be returning in December 2020 and this is when the Denver Nuggets and their fans should return to the Ball Arena.

Therefore, there are still going to be 19,099 seats available for basketball games, as well as 18,007 seats for hockey. For a game you will not forget, there are 89 luxury suites available over two levels and 1,900 club seats. There is Wi-Fi available for all fans, which allows you to browse the web at any time or check out online gambling promos for example during games. There is also a JBL Vertec sound system for the ultimate game experience. There is even a projector system that allows a 4K resolution screen during events. After every five basketball games, the net is replaced. There are 233 pieces that make up the basketball floor. When a game is on, it will take over 1,000 staff members to make the day great for everyone.

Fans might not be aware that the Ball Arena has practical facilities for the team inside. This is one of the few stadiums to have this in the country. For instance, there is a full-size basketball court especially for the Denver Nuggets. The stadium is built over 45 acres of land and took 21 months to build. The Ball Arena cost $180 million and first opened in October 1999.

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Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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