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NBA Philadelphia 76ers

Playoffs Are A Realistic Possibility For Philadelphia 76ers

Evan Turner

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations will be low for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. The team lacks stars, an established head coach and most importantly, an identity.

However, don’t think the Sixers will perform as poorly as you think.

They will struggle at times. There may also be stretches where they start winning games as long as the roster core stays healthy. Nevertheless, this is an upgrade over a team that went 34-48 last season despite the loss of lone All-Star Jrue Holiday.

This is a better roster that resembles more of an emerging team in comparison to last season’s sideshow act. This is a young team featuring Arsalan Kazemi, Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, all of whom are an upgrade over Andrew Bynum and Nick Young.

The Sixers will most likely finish third in the Atlantic Division behind a much-improved Brooklyn Nets team that added Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, and the New York Knicks, who still have much of last season’s roster intact with the addition of Metta World Peace. The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors are in worse shape with their roster of D-League players and having been hit by injuries.

If the rumor of San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown being the favorite as Sixers head coach turns out to be true, it should help them get started on the right foot. The Sixers would essentially be getting Greg Popovich at a bargain.

While the Eastern Conference has seen improvements, the bottom half is still the bottom. The Sixers can take advantage since the Detroit Pistons are the only team to make a big splash this summer. Both the Milwaukee Bucks and Celtics, who made the playoffs last season, won’t see the postseason after dealing away their stars.

If Noel recovers early and comes into form, a no. 5 or 6 seed in the playoffs becomes more of a reality rather than the team just competing for a spot. The way things are looking for Philadelphia, this will be another 30-plus win season with the possibility of the playoffs.

Alan Gung is a Philadelphia 76ers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlanGung, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.