By Skip Charles in Vegas

ESPN’s Fantasy staff has come up with a wild-ass pick:

Bold prediction: The Philadelphia 76ers are going to win the NBA title

This bold outcome clearly rides heavily on the health of one Joel Embiid, but tea leaves suggest his recovery from knee surgery should allow a short regular season runway ahead of the Eastern Conference playoff gauntlet.

The premise being that of all of Embiid’s ill-timed playoff injuries, this one might actually position him to be healthy in time for the most meaningful minutes. This is also a different version of Embiid in that he’s fully morphed into a Durant-like midrange scorer in crunch time, all while still claiming a free throw attempt rate higher than peak Shaq and the rim protection rates of an unquestioned elite defender.

Combine this with more spacing and wings around him aligned with Tyrese Maxey‘s arrival as a co-star, and Nick Nurse has the requisite ingredients to shock the system.


Bet to make: 76ers to win NBA title (+3000)

This bold bet on a Broad Street parade affords 30-1 odds akin to currently betting Chet Holmgren as the DPOY.

The payoff is positive enough to consider this outlier outcome worthy of our attention.

The Sixers were winning games at a 65-win pace with Embiid at the helm, suggesting this is indeed a sleeping giant of sorts in a parity-driven NBA playoff field.

It would require some magic for this to actually unfold, but we shouldn’t dismiss the caliber of play the team and Embiid were sustaining before that fateful fall in San Francisco

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