Are the Sixers the Team to End Cavs Reign in the East?
As we watch these NBA playoffs and finals one thing appears to be pretty clear - the Golden State Warriors are going to be here for awhile.
Both Golden State and the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated their way through their respective playoffs en route to the NBA Finals, but the gap between them and their conference final foes seems very wide.
So how long will the Cavs dominate the east and Warriors dominate the west?
Seemingly as long as LeBron is wearing a Cleveland uniform and the four Warriors stick together, these Cavs vs Warriors FInals could become an annual event for the foreseeable future.
Can another superteam be formed to combat the Warriors, will LeBron bolt Cleveland...again...to form a new superteam, these are all possibilities, but what about the teams that are in contention now?
Of the current contenders, Boston seems like they have a chance to be a factor, but timing could be an issue for them.
They made the conference finals, own the top pick in this years draft, and own the Brooklyn Nets pick in next years draft. But as we saw this year in the playoffs, the top of their roster isn't good enough to knock off LeBron and the Cavs - so their success is tied to the level of player they land in the coming drafts or via free agency.
"I put the Celtics sort of in that same category," NBA writer Sean Deveney of the Sporting News explains as a team that might be peaking at the wrong time, but can compete down the road with the Cavs.
"Not so much because of Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas, but more because of Jaylen Brown and the number one pick this year and potentially the number one pick next year."
Toronto seems to have hit its ceiling with their duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and Washington, a talented team, is going to have a tough time adding pieces to their core.
"Washington is a great example; they got their guys in the draft," Deveney explains.
"They’ll overpay Otto Porter this summer most likely. Now you’ve got the three guys who are taking up seventy five percent of your cap: John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter is that good enough? And you’ve now used up all of your cap space signing those guys."
The western conference teams like the Spurs, Clippers and Rockets are still a player or two short from taking out the Warriors in the west.
"I don’t think we’re going to see any combination of free agents that can actually knock off the Warriors or the Cavaliers, barring injury that is always disastrous," Deveney explained.
"I think it’s going to come from some of these guys who have been drafted recently or will be drafted in the next couple of years."
So if none of the top three teams in each conference are close to taking out the conference champions, which team is equipped to take them out and when can we expect their dominance to end?
"The team that you look at I look at and say maybe this is going to be the team to disrupt this, and it could be the Philadelphia 76ers," ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler said on the Sports Bash.
"When you look at the talent they have, how young they are, how they need to grow together, obviously they have to stay healthy, that goes without saying. They make the right pick in this draft and they pair it up with what they already have and you look at where they will be in about four years, well that could be about the time that this Cleveland thing comes to an end and maybe they are the next team in the East."
Deveney agrees with Legler, that the Sixers might be the team that could finally take out the Cavs when LeBron is in position to slow down.
"A lot of it is going to have to do with health obviously," said Deveney when talking about the Sixers chances of taking the Cavs out.
"But that talent level, no question is there and I think that whether you look at what they have in place. If they can develop that the way (that’s a big IF) they can develop that the way it looks like what is the ceiling for those guys than you have to say this is a team that could be a contender going forward and is probably going to be one that once Lebron starts to decline is going to be ready to make the move up."
So if the Sixers are that team, three-four years down the road, was it all worth it, the pain, the suffering, and all the losing?
"Yeah, I mean that’s a debate we’re always going to have and because Hinke’s not around we’ll never get the true notion of what he would have done with all of this stuff," Deveney said.
"But definitely yeah, if you could escape that area where you’re winning forty-five games and you’re just pretty good and getting to the area where you’re winning sixty games, you got a chance at a championship, I think the years of suffering will eventually prove to be worth it."