Philadelphia 76ers

James Ennis III thinks the 76ers are the team to beat in the Conference: 'We are going to walk to the Finals in the East'

James Ennis III (NBA Getty Images)

Now that Kawhi Leonard is off to the Western Conference, the East is wide open.

The Bucks, 76ers and Celtics all have a legitimate argument as to why they should be the team to represent the conference now that the Raptors lost their key piece.

In James Ennis' mind, there is no argument. The athletic wing signed a two-year, $4.1 million deal to stay in Philadelphia this summer and believes his team will walk through the rest of the conference.

"Because it's a good team, and a good chance of winning," Ennis told Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer. "The East is going to be wide open. We had a good chance last year."

"Kawhi is gone. He went to the West. So we are going to walk to the Finals in the East."

In fairness to Ennis, the 76ers did come a couple of bounces away from pushing the Raptors to overtime in Game 7 on the road in the Eastern Semifinals.

Had they beaten the Raptors, the Bucks would've been still standing in the Sixers' way of claiming the Eastern Conference title. Milwaukee took the season series over Philadelphia, 2-1, but they also beat the Raptors in their season series, 3-1, and we know how that series ended.

The 76ers lost JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler in the offseason - two starters who had big roles on the team last season. However, they added Al Horford, sharpshooter Josh Richardson and re-signed Tobias Harris, who without Butler occupying the wing might be ready to contribute more in Philly's potential playoff run in 2020.

Whether or not Ennis' words will hold true remains to be seen, but he's wasted no time in giving his Eastern Conference foes some bulletin board material long before the season even begins.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from NBA.com

Biggest X-factors in the West
Kyle Irving
Lillard talks sneakers, storytelling & inspiring the next generation with his music
Benyam Kidane
Ibaka's only getting better with time
Gilbert McGregor
Biggest storylines surrounding Nick Nurse
Scott Rafferty
Raptors announce 2019-20 broadcast schedule
Official Release
What new additions bring to the Raptors
Scott Rafferty
More News