How the Philadelphia 76ers stack up against the Central Division

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls Projected Starting Five:

The Bulls have quietly done a nice job rebuilding their team over the last two years.  Smart drafting has led them to a frontcourt full of potential with Markkanen and Carter Jr.  They also have solid veterans to lead them in Porter Jr. and Young. The Bulls should improve on their 22-60 record from last season.  They now have a full year of Otto Porter, along with Young and Markkanen and Carter Jr.

Last season, the Sixers struggled to guard Zach Lavine.  The UCLA product dropped 39 and 30 point games on the Sixers in the only two games he played against them.  Josh Richardson will likely be called upon to handle the two-time dunk contest champion, with Simmons and Zhaire helping out as well. The Sixers should be able to guard the frontcourt comfortably with Horford and Embiid, although Markkanen could pull Horford a little farther away from the rim than he’d like to be.

Offensively, Joel Embiid should have his way.  Carter Jr. is not quite bulky enough yet, and with Robin Lopez headed to Milwaukee, the Bulls have no answer on their bench to deal with the big fella.   Horford should also get his fair share of looks in the post. Simmons and Harris should be able to take advantage of a mismatch as well.

Last season, the Sixers won the season series against the Bulls 3-1, and the one loss was without Joel Embiid.  I predict a similar pattern this season, with the Bulls stealing one on a night the Sixers are shorthanded. Lavine will likely get hot, and Arcidiacono will make a few hustle plays to pull out a win for the Bulls.