Toronto Raptors: Eastern Conference playoff predicitons

Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby and Kyle Lowry (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - OG Anunoby and Kyle Lowry (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Marc Gasol (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

2. Philadelphia 76ers

While the 76ers aren’t finishing in the first-seed, they might just be the best team in the Eastern Conference, and maybe the whole NBA. Despite losing Jimmy Butler, the Sixers managed to come out of free agency with an even stronger team than the one they started with.

Adding Josh Richardson and Al Horford to a starting lineup that already features Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris probably gives Brett Brown the best starting five in the NBA – certainly the best defensive quartet for sure. The prospect of an Al Horford-Joel Embiid frontcourt could give teams nightmares.

The problem for the Sixers comes outside of the starting five – the lack of quality depth could really hurt the Sixers down the stretch. Mattise Thybulle already looks like a high-caliber defender, while Mike Scott will likely cause the Toronto Raptors problems again.

Offensively, the fit remains under consideration. The Sixers don’t have a great deal of shooting but do have a long lineup that can dominate in the paint and disrupt defensively. A Finals trip may well be on the cards for Brett Brown’s men this season, but if they don’t make it, it could well be seen as a failure of a season for the Sixers.

Either way, they have enough to go all the way once again – and this time, Kawhi Leonard doesn’t stand in their way.