The Sixers, it seems, have become national media darlings overnight, getting coverage from outlets that rarely paid attention to them in the past. Some of the best in the NBA blogosphere have been giving the Sixers credit, a result of their 6-2 start, the best in 11 years for the franchise.
Yesterday, Henry Abbott, Chad Ford, Tom Haberstroh, and Brian Windhorst had the Sixers in their top-5 teams list on ESPN's 5-on-5 roundtable, although this was tempered with "I don't expect them to be on this list forever" from Henry Abbott.
John Schuhmann, from NBA.com's Hangtime blog, had a long and well-researched post about the Sixers reserves, including a gem of a quote from Doug Collins about Thaddeus Young getting All-Defensive Team consideration.
Zach Lowe from SI's Point Forward blog then came in with a slightly different perspective (and one Mike and I generally agree on) to wait until the Sixers have played a tougher schedule before putting them in the elite class. Not that they're not a playoff team, not that they shouldn't be a good and enjoyable team to watch all year, not that they couldn't even win the Atlantic. They're just saying that it may be easy to slightly overrate the Sixers based on the bump they've received from little roster turnover (which shouldn't be as big of an advantage come playoff time) and by a relatively easy schedule.
Kevin Pelton over at Basketball Prospectus has a a piece on the Sixers fast start. It's subscription based, but well worth the read if you're a hoops geek. And let's be honest, aren't we all?
Then, there's the Sixers rise in power rankings, with ESPN (7th), NBA.com (7th), SBNation (6th), and Chris Sheridan (5th) all having very lofty rankings for the Sixers. Since then, Matt Moore of CBS Sports has the Sixers in the 5th spot, all the way up from 11th a week ago and 15th to start the season. Also, John Hollinger just released his formula-based ranking, which has the Sixers up at the top spot. Queue up Queen? Probably a little premature.
Regardless of whether the Sixers are legit or not, it's nice for them to be at least relevant. Except at the Wells Fargo Center, of course, where even with drastically slashed prices the team only drew slightly over 8,000 last night.
UPDATE (Levin) - And now John Hollinger has ingested some sort of acid/arsenic combination and lists the Philadelphia 76ers of Pennsylvania, United States, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe, Booker T, Matter as NUMBER ONE in his power rankings. Granted it's formulaic-based rather than subjectively, but it's still rather absurd. In honor of that, we'll be selling #1 foam fingers with Spencer's face on them for you to poke your siblings with.