5. Philadelphia 76ers
Many may not admit it, but it's hard to look at what the Philadelphia 76ers have done this season and not consider them one of the bigger stories of the Eastern Conference. This is a team that will have a decent chance to finish as a top 3 seed in the conference standings. After trading James Harden, I'm not sure if that's something that many would've predicted. Nevertheless, the job that this team has done without Harden can't be overlooked.
And one of the bigger reasons why the Sixers haven't missed much of a beat since the departure of Harden has been the continued emergence of Tyrese Maxey. He deserves a ton of credit for the Sixers' rise in the Eastern Conference standings this season. At some point soon, we have to consider him a worthy star next to Joel Embiid, who is off to another MVP-worthy start to the season.
If the Sixers are able to make a move for a star-level talent at the NBA Trade Deadline, this is very much a team that could make some serious noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs.