The NBA has plans to get back in action, hopefully within the next couple of months. Although a return still isn't guaranteed, the likelihood of the NBA concluding the 2019-2020 season by crowning a champion is becoming realistic.
At the moment, though, it's unclear how we're going to get there. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the season on hold for numerous months, there isn't enough time for teams to return to normal and conclude an 82-game season.
Therefore, Adam Silver and the Board of Governors will work together on a new way to conclude the current season. Before, it seemed the NBA would skip straight to playoffs with the bracket as is, but some other scenarios will be considered this week.
One of those altered playoff scenarios happens to be a straight-up 16-seed playoff bracket, which doesn't separate teams based on their conference. And lately, it sounds like the intriguing idea is gaining some traction as it would be interesting to see East and West teams play each other before the NBA Finals.
However, if the NBA goes that route, the 76ers' first-round opponent wouldn't be any different. As it stands, if the NBA went into a non-conferenced 16-seed playoff format, the 12th seeded 76ers would compete against the fifth-seeded Boston Celtics. And if the NBA skipped straight to playoffs today without mixing conferences up, the Sixers would have the sixth seed, playing against the Celtics who have the third.
Despite being ranked lower than Boston this season, the 76ers have had a lot of success against the Celtics this year. In four matchups, Philly knocked Boston off three out of four times -- once on the road, and twice at home. Although the Sixers' recent postseason history with the Celtics doesn't issue much optimism for Philly, the 76ers are confident their roster is built for the playoffs. And the 76ers are hopeful they get to put the built-for-playoffs roster to work this summer -- altered playoffs or not.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_