How Far Can the Sixers Go?

Photo+courtesy+Wikimedia+Commons

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

John Madden

The 76ers currently sit at the top of the Eastern Conference at 39-18. Star center Joel Embiid is having an MVP worthy campaign averaging 29.9, 11.2, 3.1, and both him and Ben Simmons are in the conversation for Defensive.

New coach Doc Rivers has been getting the best out of the roster, and key additions like Danny Green and Seth Curry provide the floor spacing that they lacked last year.

Expectations are high this season and many believe a deep playoff run is eminent. It’s fair to wonder if they are the team to come out of the East. They’re not alone at the top, however.

Most notably, it’s the Brooklyn Nets, the super team that’s the favorite for the majority of NBA fans to win the Eastern Conference.

Though battling injuries as of late, it looks like come playoff time, they’ll have the starting five that includes three current all-star caliber players Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, with Harden and Durant being former MVPs.

Although Lamarcus Aldridge retired due to health concerns, the acquisition of Blake Griffin has proven to be the right move for the Nets.

Other threats include the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, and Boston Celtics. Miami is bringing an improved roster from last year in a final’s appearance with the addition of Victor Oladipo, and Boston has always been a challenge for Philly, and coming off a conference finals appearance.

When asking fans how they feel about the Sixers making the finals, there was shared optimism.

“I mean, from what I can tell, they have a chance. Joel has been playing incredibly this year and Simmons is a DPOY candidate. The Nets are the biggest roadblock, but if we could come that close to the conference finals against the raptors who won it all a few years ago we can do it again this year,” said 19-year-old film major Lucas Darling.

‘I think they’re playing very well, obviously their biggest challenge is going to be Brooklyn. That’s going to be the litmus test, and if they get past them, who knows. I’m more hopeful this year than last year. Embiid and the team are playing better than last year. As a Philly fan, its optimism tempered with experience,” said journalism professor Tony Rogers.

This team is playing with incredible chemistry and Doc Rivers seems like a sure upgrade over former Sixer’s coach Brett Brown. Brown was often criticized for adjustments during games that would result in blown leads and letting up big scoring runs for opponents.

It’s fair to wonder how they will perform come playoffs time, as Ben Simmons has struggled in the past, and Jimmy Butler, who is now with the Heat, was far and away their best player in the semi conference finals against the eventual NBA champs, The Toronto Raptors. Butler was also a key part of the Heat’s finals appearance last season.