By: Ryan Waterman
For the second straight year, Philadelphia suffered spring heartbreak, as a promising season comes to a brutal end. Last year, the Sixers' overall inexperience was exposed against Boston, and the Celtics cruised to a four games to one cakewalk, ultimately falling short of the NBA Finals, thanks to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This year, with LeBron having left for "greener" pastures in Los Angeles, the East appeared wide-open. The Sixers and Celtics were viewed as the early favorites, especially given Toronto's inability to get over the proverbial hump, making just a single conference finals appearance in the organization's nearly 25-year history.
All of that changed drastically last summer, with the short, albeit impactful announcement that the "Raptors acquire All-Star Kawhi Leonard from Spurs." A move that ultimately changed the landscape in the East, has powered the Raptors to an NBA Finals appearance, and brought them within one win of the city's first major professional championship in nearly three decades. It's also a move that has left Sixers' fans wondering "what if?" after their season came to an abrupt end in the most devastating fashion possible.