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NBA Power Rankings Roundup: Sixers falling

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN (Kevin Arnovitz): 9th (LW: 5th)

Jimmy Butler proved to be the bellwether for the Sixers last week, as they dropped both games he missed to injury -- rough home losses to Brooklyn and Indiana. Butler’s durability is especially vital because Philadelphia sacrificed depth to acquire him. Both Furkan Korkmaz, who started in Butler’s absence, and Wilson Chandler, who has effectively replaced Dario Saric as the Sixers’ starting power forward, have struggled to produce consistently. (John Schuhmann): 8th (LW: 5th)

The Sixers went 0-2 (at home) without Jimmy Butler last week, allowing the Nets and Pacers to score 117.6 points per 100 possessions on Wednesday and Friday. As was the case last season, they’ve been at their best in the first quarter (plus-10.8 points per 100 possessions) and at their worst in the fourth (minus-5.6), and they got thumped in the second half against Indiana. But they had their best fourth quarter of the season (39-20) in Cleveland on Sunday, with most of the damage being done with Butler (back from his two-game absence) on the bench and the J.J. Redick-Joel Embiid combo on the floor. They’ve struggled in two games in Toronto (and are now 1-5 against the other four good teams in the East), but will get the Raptors in their building for the first time on Saturday.

Sports Illustrated (Khadrice Rollis): 6th (LW: 3rd)

Philadelphia tripled its number of home losses on the season this past week and its depth without Jimmy Butler was really put to the test. Maybe a healthy Markelle Fultz can bring in another quality rotation player in a trade. Or maybe a healthy Markelle Fultz will turn out to be the extra piece the 76ers need to shore up the bench.

CBS Sports (Reid Forgrave): 3rd (LW: 3rd)

A rookie has been one of the most vital role players for the shooting-starved 76ers. Landry Shamet has been hitting threes at a 40-percent clip, and shooting a ton of them in his 21 minutes per game. Among rookies, only Luka Doncic and Trae Young are attempting more threes per game than Shamet’s 4.5.

Yahoo! Sports (Tommy Beer): 8th

Jimmy Butler returned from a two-game absence (Philly lost both contests) due to a strained groin on Sunday, as the Sixers easily beat up the Cavs, 128-105. The star of the show was Ben Simmons, who tallied 22 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists for his third triple-double of the season. Simmons, who has played a total of 111 games, now has 15 triple-doubles in his career. According to Basketball-Reference, the only player with more trip-dubs through the first 111 games of his career is Oscar Robertson.

The Athletic (Zach Harper): 8th (LW: 7th)

Harper’s comments following his Sixers rankings had nothing to do with the Sixers, rather Red Panda, the tricycle-riding, bowl-flipping halftime act.

We can’t take power rankings too seriously, but they’re a good gauge for how the Sixers have played lately compared to the rest of the league. In almost every power ranking that provides teams’ previous ranks, the Sixers have fallen. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Sixers have appeared disjointed, exhausted and out of sorts in recent games. At the same time, teams like the Celtics and the Pacers have gotten hot. But I’m not panicking yet, and you shouldn’t either. While there have certainly been discouraging moments, some of the Sixers’ weaknesses are directly addressable — for example, their depth. Trade talks should now occur more frequently as the time barring the trading of players who signed as free agents last summer has passed, and the trade deadline and buyout market inch closer. Maybe even Markelle comes back able to make a positive impact sometime soon. And I remain faithful that Brett Brown will keep tweaking things to at the very least improve the utilization of all three of the teams stars.

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