Biggest winners and losers in free agency: 76ers now surging as rivals fall off

Here are the biggest winners and losers from free agency, headlined by the Philadelphia 76ers and their fast rise in the East as their rivals fall off.
76ers, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey
76ers, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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Loser: Western Conference hopefuls

The Eastern Conference is as strong as it’s ever been, but objectively speaking, the depth of competition in the Western Conference is still too much to equate to. Last season, 11 teams out West were in legitimate playoff contention, and teams at the nadir have real arguments to become much better squads in the following campaign.

Unfortunately, the upper-tier in the West is unlikely to be dethroned by those stuck in the middle. Meanwhile, those in the middle are also unlikely to be surpassed by those in the play-in to high-lottery range. It’s going to be a heavily layered bloodbath, but that means that those hopeful to snatch a surprisingly lofty seeding would face a very tall task in that escapade.

Teams like Sacramento, Houston, and San Antonio could all make big leaps and still not look much better from a win-loss card perspective. Really, the only team at the bottom anyone should be confident about a surge is Memphis, easily a top-four team in the conference when healthy.