The main contenders: Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets76ers
- Record: 32-22
- Position in Eastern Conference standings: 5th
- Big deadline move: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks to Nets for James Harden
We’ll talk about these two teams in tandem for obvious reasons. Kevin Durant is sidelined until some time after the All-Star break with a knee injury, Simmons is going to need time to ramp up and it’s not clear when he’ll first play with the team and Kyrie Irving can only play in select road games while he remains unvaccinated. For all the issues with the previous big three, we knew that they absolutely crushed teams when they were able to play together. If all goes right, this team has a real chance to come out of the East.
So, again, why are they in the third tier? For one, health is a major concern, even more so than other teams.