With all the latest headlines being completely encircled around Ben Simmons, the bigger overall picture for the Sixers‘ long-term season outlook is being overlooked. The Eastern Conference managed to get even tougher and more competitive than last season, and with teams like Miami, Chicago, and New York being improved, where do the 76ers stand to finish? Here’s my 2021-22 season prediction.
Other than the internal growth of young players like Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey, and Furkan Korkmaz, the 76ers didn’t improve enough to keep a stronghold on their No. 1 seed from last season. Setting our personal feelings aside, anytime a team loses an All-Star player and Defensive Player of the Year candidate and gains nothing in return, their stock is most likely to drop.
Given the forthcoming absence of Ben Simmons and no trade happening in the foreseeable future, my prediction for the 76ers is based solely on their opening day roster. I have the 76ers finishing top-5 in the East. They definitely have enough talent to compete with the top teams in the league. I’ll fit the Sixers right into the No. 3 seed with a record of 48-34. Tobias Harris has yet to prove to me that he’s a viable No. 2 option next to Joel Embiid. Harris had his best season by far last season, averaging just under 20 points and 7 rebounds.
The Sixers will have to battle several Eastern Conference heavyweights this season
- Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks are one of the odds on favorites to finish atop the East this season being led by their MVP Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Their starting core is playoff-tested and they’re looking to repeat as NBA champions this season. With a core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday, they’ll certainly have a great chance to repeat.
- Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn has a saga of their own that’s been dragging out for the last two months with Kyrie Irving and his choice to not get vaccinated. Even with Kyrie potentially missing the year, or the majority of it, the Nets still have arguably the best player in the league in Kevin Durant. Alongside Durant, they have James Harden to compliment him. Both Durant and Harden are capable of taking over a game at any moment, and this is enough of a reason to assume they’ll be on top of the Eastern Conference.
Dark horse teams who could compete with the Sixers in the East
- Atlanta Hawks
This team was a surprise for everyone last season as they made a strong push in the playoffs. Returning their superstar player Trae Young and all their core pieces, they’ll be in the mix when playoff time comes
- Miami Heat
The acquisition of Kyle Lowry could very well help return Miami to the heights they achieved just two seasons ago. Lowry’s scrappy defense and playoff experience will be a huge addition to their already solid core of Butler, Herro, Adebayo, and Robinson.
The Ben Simmons saga continues to unfold for the Sixers
Time will tell the impact the Ben Simmons saga will have on this team and if they will be able to stay focused on the ultimate goal outside of the media circus. If Simmons is dealt or decides to play for the Sixers this season, we could be talking about a much-improved team.
Go check out 2021-22 bold predictions for the 76ers and keep an eye on the team as they’re scheduled to open the season on 10/20 against the Pelicans.