Kelly Hogan Sports Blog

The 76ers are the Eastern Conference Favorites

By Kelly Hogan
Feb. 14, 2019

The Philadelphia 76ers are now the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. For the first half of the season, it was a five-way fight for conference supremacy between Philly, Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston, and Indiana. Then, Victor Oladipo got hurt, and the trade deadline happened. Over the course of the last week, the 76ers have unambiguously separated themselves from their conference competition and are now a legitimate adversary for Golden State in the NBA Finals. Philadelphia has every necessary ingredient for postseason success. Need a bucket on the block when the game slows down? They have a big man - Joel Embiid - who has the most lethal arsenal of post moves in The Association. Need an alpha who is unafraid of the spotlight and will be able to create for himself and others in crunch time? That’s where Jimmy Butler is at his best. Then they have Tobias Harris, who provides microwave offense, Ben Simmons, who is the closest thing there is to LeBron in the NBA, and JJ Redick, who I could make the argument is the best pure shooter east of Oakland. All of this is not to mention Philly’s depth, which was solidified with the additions of Mike Scott, Jonathon Simmons, and Boban Marjanovic. Some teams approach the trade deadline with fear; that they could tarnish their team’s chemistry. Elton Brand and the 76ers approached last week’s deadline with a fervor and aggression that they will be rewarded for. The 76ers will be playing in June.