Long-shot Sixers

It has been a rocky start for the 76ers, both on the court and with oddsmakers.

In the "Playoff odds: Projected records" section released by ESPN, John Hollinger employs his "Power Rankings" to spew forth a slew of numbers about each NBA team.

The Sixers, who before the season seemed to be a shoo-in for a playoff spot, have slipped to barely grasping the "dark horse" slot and, more likely, should be considered a long shot.

Hollinger has the Sixers fourth from the bottom in the Eastern Conference rankings, with odds of reaching the playoffs at 22.7 percent. The three teams below the Sixers are the Charlotte Bobcats (17.3 percent), New York Knicks (5.5 percent), and Washington Wizards (5.5 percent).

Hollinger says the Sixers have a 0.0 percent chance of winning their division and a 0.0 percent chance of winning the NBA title. He lists the best possible record this season for the Sixers as 53-29 and the worst as 16-66.

Through Thursday, the Sixers were 8-11.

Only four teams are listed as having a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs: the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers.

No. 1 in something

The Knicks, who years ago ceased competing for the NBA title, have been named the most valuable team in the NBA for the fourth straight year. In Forbes Magazine's latest ranking, the Knicks' estimated value is $613 million.

They might need every penny of that to sign LeBron James in 2010.

Also, for the fourth straight year, the Lakers are ranked as the second-most valuable franchise at $584 million.

The next three are the Chicago Bulls ($504 million), Detroit Pistons ($480 million), and Cleveland Cavaliers ($477 million).

An immortal quote

The Knicks' Stephon Marbury's season-long drama about being sent to the inactive list took a turn for the better - from an entertainment perspective - when he told the New York Post, "They left me for dead. It's like we're in a foxhole and I'm facing the other way. If I got shot in the head, at least you want to get shot by the enemy. I got shot in the head by my own guys in my foxhole. And they didn't even give me an honorable death."