Joel Embiid is out at least a week

The Sixers are currently ranked fifth in the Eastern Conference. Even though they will probably double Victor Oladipo's Pacers, they still have the Bucks, the Raptors and the Celtics.

Unfortunately for the Sixers, they only managed one win against the top three teams in the East – and that was against Toronto without Kawhi Leonard.

But with the Sixers' revised lineup at just four games of this iteration, things could be different in the final right and in the playoffs.

Today, Paul Hudrick and Noah Levick, of NBC Sports in Philadelphia, explain how they think the new Sixers can go into this year 's post – season.

On Monday, they figured out who should be part of the Sixers playoff rotation (see history).

On Tuesday, they explained what it would take the Sixers to finally beat Boston (see the story).


You can not say with certainty that the Sixers are the best team in the conference on the basis of what we have seen so far.

But it was then and it is now.

When you look at the Sixers' talent in their first five games and their match is better than last year, a trip to the finals is not crazy.

Although the depth is important, it becomes less imperative with the approach of the playoffs and your best players approach 40 minutes per game. Take a look at last year's Warriors and their average: Draymond Green (39), Kevin Durant (38.4), Klay Thompson (37.8) and Stephen Curry (37). You have to imagine that DeMarcus cousins ​​will also fly over this figure this season.

Of course, the Sixers lost to the Celtics at home without Kyrie Irving in training, but that was just the team's third game with its revamped alignment. The Sixers have 24 games to adapt all their pieces and adapt to the way Boston, Toronto and Milwaukee will play them.

While the group of five starters seems more dominant than last season, the bench also seems more ready for the playoffs. Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova were huge for the bench at the end of last year's regular season, but they were very exposed to Celtics physics and athletics in the playoffs.

That should not be a problem with Mike Scott, James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons. They also have more options with two centers – Boban Marjanovic and Jonah Bolden – who face two different confrontations and who can use Jimmy Butler at the reserve post if T.J. McConnell seems to be out of touch.

Really, the East seems wide open. That said, this team has the talent to reach the finals of the NBA. The sky is the limit … if the sky is Golden State.


The advantage of the home yard will count. The Sixers, Bucks, Raptors and Celtics all have a percentage of at least 74.2 home wins, and since their teams are tied, the difference between the seventh match at Wells Fargo Center and the seventh at TD Garden could be considerable.

The prospect of long physical series is less intimidating for the Sixers this year than in the last series. When their stars get on the bench, the Sixers now have viable defensive options in Mike Scott, James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons. None of these names are brilliant supporters of the stop, but they are solid options that will not be defenseless.

This is an overused term, but Zhaire Smith fits better with the description of "factor X". There is a good chance the rookie will not see the playoffs. He also launched a shot at the Sixers with two dunks raising eyebrows and excellent perimeter defense. Until Smith makes his debut with the Blue Coats, it would certainly not be reasonable to expect such contributions at the moment.

Surrounded by Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, Ben Simmons is under pressure to carry a heavy scoring charge. It would be nice if he could regularly overthrow jumpers, but that will not happen this season. He just needs to do what he does well – push the ball as much as possible, distribute it to his teammates and score effectively inside. His free throws, especially late in the games – he is at 50% of the line in the fourth quarter – remains a concern.

The Sixers could absolutely win the Eastern Conference. It is also possible that, as a new team with less than 30 regular season experience matches, they will fail against a lower opponent or still be unable to resolve Boston.

Matchups, home game, how everything happens in the span of the match – everything will be important. Whatever the case may be, nothing less than a very competitive series of Eastern Conference finals for the Sixers would be disappointing. And, if we are honest, even that would bother us if the Sixers did not win.

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