Sixers' Logo. Photo / Flickr

The 76ers are picked first or second in the east in most publications. They should have won it last year if it weren’t for a miraculously lucky bounce and a forgiving rim in Toronto. 

They will finish first and here’s why: Toronto has lost Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers.  It’s usually true that losing one player cannot have that much of an effect, but in Leonard’s case, it does. The way he impacts the game offensively is remarkable. He’s pretty much unstoppable on offense but it’s his defense that is his calling card. He can take the opposing team’s best player and shut him down.

That means the Sixers’ biggest threat in the east will be Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a beast and will be hard to guard, but the combination of Embiid and Al Horford will make it hard for him. 

And Ben Simmons nailed a three pointer!

He stroked a jumper looking like he was a regular three point shooter like Stephen Curry in Tuesday night’s preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.  Ben Simmons was basically unstoppable last year and everyone knew he couldn’t shoot. Imagine if he had a jump shot? The sky’s the limit.

Losing Malcolm Brogdon in free agency was also huge. Although he may not have stuffed the stat sheet, it was the little things he did like being a leader on defense, a mentor to the younger players on the team or being a presence in the weight room. Typical “glue-guy” sort of things.

Signing Tobias Harris to a lucrative long-term contract was also a big step.  Having a consistent knock down shooter on the wing to go along with a dominant inside threat like Embiid will make the Sixers a force in the league for years to come. 

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