Eastern Conference Power Rankings

Thursday August 15th, 2013
The Pacers and a few other East teams could test LeBron James and the two-time defending champs.
Heinz Kluetmeier/SI

15. Philadelphia 76ers: An NBA source said a fourth-year guarantee was the final hurdle of new coach Brett Brown's contract. Why? Because Philadelphia could be epically bad the next two seasons, and Brown wanted to make sure that leaving a cushy gig as Gregg Popovich's top assistant in San Antonio would be worth it. GM Sam Hinkie's reconstructed roster will likely result in some sloppy basketball, with point guard Michael Carter-Williams (who is still learning the position) and center Nerlens Noel (who is offensively challenged and may not play until Christmas) manning the two most important spots on the floor. Hinkie seems willing to let this team bottom out while throwing his young talent into the fire and hoping a bad season has a silver lining -- i.e., winning the lottery in a strong, Andrew Wiggins-led draft -- for the future.

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