So says the Ringer.com:

Best Case: Philly rolls through its first two rounds on the backs of Ben Simmons and (a healthy) Joel Embiid and gives LeBron a glimpse of what could be in his future in a six-game Eastern Conference finals win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Simmons is the most important rookie starting in an NBA Finals series since Magic Johnson.

The Sixers’ road to the Eastern Conference final is bumpy, but not impossible: Either of their potential second-round opponents (a decimated Celtics team, a discombobulated Bucks squad) could be considered easier outs than the Heat. But at its best, Philly has the two best players on the court, and, in a best-of-seven, that’s often enough to be the deciding factor. That advantage could hold true up until the conference finals, when a matchup against Cleveland would be utter poetry.

The Sixers and Cavs split their season series, but the two most recent games were Philly wins that forced LeBron to step into a different gear just to keep Cleveland afloat. The inexperienced Processors may not have seen anything like what a switch-flipped LeBron is capable of in the postseason, but they do know what it’s like to force him to carry his team on an island. They can do it; we’d be looking at the third-best defense in the league versus the second-worst. Whoever would await them in the Finals is another question entirely.

Worst Case: Miami cracks the Simmons code early, Embiid’s return is delayed, and the team’s inexperience and inability to adapt throughout a series leads to a disappointing first-round upset.

The Sixers may have secured the 3-seed, but they landed arguably the most dangerous opponent of the 6-to-8 tier. The Heat have spent their entire season in pressure-packed situations with Erik Spoelstra, one of the best coaches in the NBA, at the helm. They can execute late in the game with blindfolds on. They have multipositional defenders who can switch on the fly, and, like the Sixers, have plenty of 3-point shooting up and down the roster. The Heat can create a high-variance series with their personnel, and they have a two-time champion working the whiteboard. This is as tough a challenge as they could have faced out of the gate. We’re about to see what Brett Brown and the young Sixers are made of. There’s a nonzero chance it ends poorly:


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