There is no surprise the Sixers dropped in everyone's power rankings this week after losing three out of their last four. After going 10-5 in January, they are 0-3 in February so far.
A big factor is the absence of Joel Embiid, who has not played in the last four games. He was a game-time decision but didn't play in Monday's game against the Kings – the team's lone win of the week – and missed the three-game road trip.
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Their games against the Mavericks and Spurs this past week looked winnable heading into each halftime. The score was within five points both times, but late surges combined with the lack of Embiid's defensive presence proved to be the difference.
The Sixers are 13-18 with Embiid on the court and 5-14 without the 7-foot center. The good news is the last time Embiid had more than six days rest he went off for 32 points with seven rebounds and two blocks.
According to Jeremy Wood of SI.com, the Sixers have dropped from 24 to 26 in his rankings. He has faith that Embiid is for real but is concerned with the Sixers trade pieces saying, "the less-than-great news is that the trade market for Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor may not bring back awesome value given their talent and where they were drafted. This is not the worst problem to have, but a predictable issue when it comes to stockpiling." Okafor returned from injury on Monday and has averaged 13.3 points but has also continues to play lack-lust defense.
Marc Stein with ESPN.com had the Sixers drop four spots, going from 16 to 20 on his list. He believes there are good things happening for the Sixers despite the recent skid, stating that there are good contributions from Ersan Ilyasova and TJ McConnell. Ilyasova has averaged 19.7 points in the last three games while McConnell has averaged 7.7 points and 5 assists in the same amount of time.
John Schuhmann from NBA.com only dropped the Sixers one spot from last week, moving 21 to 22. He cited that Embiid's defensive prowess has been missed after the Sixers led the league in defensive efficiency for the first 20 days of January but have no fallen to 25th in the league without Embiid or Robert Covington on the court. Covington leads the league with 4.2 deflections per game but has been out with a bruised right hand for the last three games.
Finally, Matt Moore from CBS Sports dropped the Sixers from 17 to 21 on his list. "They're a better team, which is more than enough for this season, but they have a long way to go to be good. Time, thankfully, is on their side."