As we approach the NBA All-Star break and the trade deadline passes we can start to go more into depth with predictions and start to see teams separate themselves. The 76ers made the biggest splash of any team in the east this trade deadline. Adding a fourth all-star caliber player in Tobias Harris to the mix makes the sixers a legitimate threat to win the east. Tobias Harris is averaging 20.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg, shooting nearly 50% from the field, 43.7% from three and 87.7 % from the free throw line. Adding another shooter to this lineup is just what the Sixers needed and could free up some looks for JJ Redick. Tobias Harris is essentially a better Robert Covington who the Sixers dealt in the Jimmy Butler deal. He is also an above average defender and can guard multiple positions. With a lineup of Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid they are going to be hard to beat. What went a little under the radar was the bolstering of the bench the sixers did. The sixers added good role players such as James Ennis, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott and Jonathan Simmons. All guys who can defend and score in their roles.
So who do the sixers have to contend with? The sixers are currently 4th in the east behind the Bucks, Raptors and Pacers with the Celtics behind the Sixers. Those are the five teams I see competing until the end. Lets start with the Celtics and work our way up to the top seeded Bucks. The Celtics do not seem to be going in the right direction as they are constantly in the media and not for the right reasons. With Kyrie’s comments about not owing anyone anything when asked about free agency and after blowing a big lead against the Clippers yesterday Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris voiced their frustrations. Rozier saying that they didn’t have enough effort and Morris saying the “Celtics season has not been fun for a long time”. The Pacers are always a tough defeat as they play a more team styled game and play tough defense. Still playing well lately as they have won five games in a row I find it tough for them to win playoff series without Victor Oladipo. This leaves the two most legitimate threats in the Bucks and Raptors. Giannis having a huge breakout year has propelled the Bucks to the number one seed. I think with the moves the Sixers have made that their starters are too much of a miss match for them top to bottom. The Sixers have too much size and skill on offense for the Bucks to match up with. With the added depth to the sixers bench I think their bench out matches the Bucks bench. The biggest test for the Sixers will be the Raptors. The Raptors added some bench help with signing Patrick McCaw and trading for Marc Gasol. As we have not seen many true matchups with the Raptors this year as the first time Joel Embiid did not play and when Toronto came to Philly last Kawhi did not play this is the matchup everyone wants to see in the east. The raptors are good defensively and have had good production from role players off the bench such as Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby. Also Pascal Siakam is having a breakout year for them. So through all the moves the Sixers have made I think it has moved them to my favorite to win the east. So everyone who has trusted the process, the time is now. Sixers win the east this year.