Where will the Philadelphia 76ers finish in the Eastern Conference standings?

Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The NBA season is winding down with many teams having around 10 games left in the regular season. The importance of each game continues to rise as the playoff seeds are being separated by fewer games. As it relates to the Sixers, they are trying their best to avoid the uncertainty of the Play-In Tournament by getting to the 6th-seed in the Eastern Conference. Currently, seeds sixth through eighth are separated by only a half-game.

Philly is competing with the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat for the final secured playoff spot. None of these three teams has been willing to go out and grab it with a string of wins. The Heat and Sixers have a 4-6 record over their last ten games and the Pacers are not much better at a 6-4 record.

Can the Sixers climb out of the NBA Play-In Tournament standings?

This question is most easily answered by evaluating the strength of the schedule that each of these teams has over the next three weeks. As it sits now, the Pacers have the 14th hardest; the Sixers have the 8th easiest; and the Heat have the 2nd easiest.

What Philly has to be worried about more than just getting wins is the time of year that the NBA season is in. For some teams, most notably the Miami Heat, April is a time of rebirth where they transform into a different team that is a dangerous matchup for anyone. Flashback to last season when the Heat knocked off three of the four best teams (Bucks, Celtics, Knicks) in the Eastern Conference on their road to the NBA Finals.

Combine that playoff mentality with Miami having the 2nd-easiest schedule and a betting man would see the 6th-seed as the Heat's to lose. Now if Joel Embiid returned for a number of the Sixers' remaining regular season games it may be more competitive. Unfortunately, even though there has been optimism about Embiid returning for the playoffs, his timeline is cutting it close.

For now, the Sixers need to control what they can control and get some much-needed wins in their next 11 games.