As the playoffs are fast approaching, the 76ers are currently positioned to finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Strength of schedule metrics as well as the team’s incredible play would lead us to believe that the Sixers will be able to hold onto that number one seed in the East come playoff time. This is of course favorable for the Sixers as they would only have to go through one of either the Brooklyn Nets or the Milwaukee Bucks, the current two and three seeds in the East. With the consensus being that one of these three teams will be representing the East in the NBA Finals, here is the best case scenario for the Sixers by the time the Eastern Conference Finals roll around.
Assuming the current positions in the standings hold true, the Sixers would be in the most favorable position of the top three teams. The likely outcomes of the Sixers, Nets, and Bucks all winning their first round matchups would position these teams on a collision course for one another with only two making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Because the Sixers do hold the most favorable position, they would only have to see one of either the Bucks or the Nets as opposed to those who will have to go through each other before facing the Sixers as their likely opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals. The second round playoff match-up involving the two of these big three teams will certainly be a blood bath and put the winner at an absolute disadvantage moving forward. Not to discredit the remainder of the Eastern Conference, but any of these three teams would rather face the winner of the four seed and five seed series rather than another big three team. And because the Sixers hold the one seed, they will be in the perfect position to represent the East in the NBA Finals.
In terms of the Eastern Conference Finals themselves, the Sixers will most definitely want to see the Milwaukee Bucks rather than the Brooklyn Nets. Although the Nets seem to have bit of an unknown element about them due to their big three players missing majority of the season due to injury, there is the notion that the team will “figure it out” come playoff time. The coaching chops of head coach Steve Nash could also be called into question as that is also a bit unknown, but that is exactly why the Sixers would want to see the Bucks. The Bucks have shown their hand in the playoffs numerous times thus far. The Mike Budenholzer coached, Giannis Antetokounmpo led Bucks have told us who they are. They are a team who looks to score in transition for majority of their offense, sell out in the paint for their defense, and do not make adjustments over the course of a series. The Sixers will be able to figure the Bucks out, especially if Ben Simmons is able to slow down Giannis over the course of the playoffs. Seeing the Bucks here is the best case scenario for the Sixers.
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