What did Philadelphia do over the summer?
The 76ers were the third team in the trade that wound up sending Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Wiggins. In the deal, Philly sent Thaddeus Young to the T-Wolves and received Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved from Minnesota. The Sixers also received a 2015 first round pick from the Cavs because of course they did.
Philly then sent a trade exception and 2015 second round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade for Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet didn't last long and was waived a few days after the trade.
The team would make two more trades over the summer to essentially acquire two 2019 second round draft picks as the players involved in those trades were waived just before the start of the season. So, just like last year, the Sixers are loading up on picks as their rebuilding strategy remains firmly in place.
What has Philly done lately?
What's the opposite of winning? Oh right, it's losing. The Sixers have been losing a lot. They have lost every game this season and have a 0-7 record. They have not played a game since Sunday so they should be well rested as they come into Dallas. Nerlens Noel is expected to return to action against the Mavs after missing Sunday's game against Toronto with a sprained left ankle. The team will still be without Michael Carter-Williams, Joel Embiid, Jerami Grant, and Jason Richardson. Malcolm Thomas did not play against the Raptors and his status for the game is unknown at the time of this writing.
What's the biggest matchup to watch?
With so many injuries, Tony Wroten has carried the Sixers. Last season, when the Sixers visited Dallas, Wroten and Evan Turner feasted on the Mavs' porous defense. They got out in transition and broke down the perimeter defense to get into the lane. Dallas won the game but not before surrendering a bevy of points to that duo. Turner is now gone but Wroten still has the potential to have a repeat performance. How Dallas' guards defend Wroten will be the key to slowing the Sixers' attack.
What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Sixers?
Look, there's really no way of sugar-coating it, the Sixers are bad. Really bad. They have the worst offensive rating in the league and a defensive rating that comes in at 22nd. They allow their opponents to score 106.1 points per game. That is the third worst rank in the league. On paper, this game is a rout before it begins. However, the Mavericks have shown a propensity to let their guard down in the third quarter and let inferior teams back into games. Dallas needs to play a well rounded game and not have another third quarter collapse. The Mavs have no business losing this game but they can't treat it lightly. They need to build a big lead early and put this game out of reach.