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Sixers’ Ben Simmons fires back at Tristan Thompson saying Cavs are team to beat in East

Ben Simmons Tristan Thompson

Thursday, Tristan Thompson declared the Cleveland Cavaliers the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Ben Simmons of the Sixers fired back at the comment. It looks like the East is going to be interesting at the very least.

Obviously, Thompson’s assertion that the Cavs are still the team to beat in the East was going to see some blowback. Everyone knows that’s not true in the wake of LeBron James packing up and heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. But either way, this should make for some interesting matchups this season.

Most have written off the Cavs and placed the Sixers toward the top of the East. The Sixers have tons of talent with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but they haven’t proved enough in the playoffs yet. Of course, they would be the heavy favorite in a series against the Cavs, but they have yet to earn anything.

In terms of the other favorites, the Sixers are joined by the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics. Most are pegging those three teams as the top tier of teams, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers falling just below. But after those five, the Cavs, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, and Miami Heat are all playoff hopefuls.

It’s far too early to tell who will emerge from the East, but there’s no doubt that the power distribution is shifting. It would be a surprise if the Cavs advanced to another NBA Finals, but they clearly think they’re in the conversation.