Can the Philadelphia 76ers Make the NBA Finals in 2019?

Can the Philadelphia 76ers Make the NBA Finals in 2019?

You could feel the air come out of the city of Philadelphia when it was announced that Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors. First Lebron and now Kawhi!

The 76ers fans had convinced themselves that one of the two big free agents, either Leonard or LeBron James, was coming to Philadelphia to complete “the time of action” and take the 76ers to the potential land.

But LeBron took his talents to The Los Angeles Lakers, where he has two homes and a production company. And the 76ers were not willing to give up one of their three young stars for Kawhi. So the overwhelming feeling was and is that the 76ers failed.

It is a case of unreasonable expectations. LeBron James was going to Los Angeles no matter what. And it wasn’t worth it to trade away the future for a one year rental, since Kawhi wants to go to Southern California after his contract expires at the end of the season.

Because of the disappointment, Sixers’ fans may not have noticed that their team got better. They have a real path to the NBA Finals.

The team got Wilson Chandler in a trade with the Denver Nuggets for basically nothing. He is much better than anyone who was scheduled to come off the bench. And they picked up Atlanta Hawk free agent Mike Muscala, who can play both center and strength forward.

The bench is stronger. And Furkan Korkmaz, a summer league sensation and three-point specialist, is ready to play in the NBA after being drafted out of the Turkish specialized league.

But most importantly, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, the chief three, have another year in the league and can only get better.

And Joel Embiid no longer has a game or minute restriction. With the increased minutes, Embiid should not only put up MVP numbers, but Hall of Fame numbers.

Yes, there are some concerns. Embiid’s health, Simmons’ jump shot, Fultz’s state of mind and the fact that the team is nevertheless without a General Manager (which is craaazy!).

But, at the minimum on paper, the 76ers look just as good, if not much better than the Boston Celtics or the Toronto Raptors, the two teams that finished ahead of them in the Eastern Conference in the 2017-18 season. Just ask Nate Silver, the nation’s preeminent statistician and sports prognosticator.

So, can the 76ers make it to the NBA Finals?

The answer is a simple but resounding YES!

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