The Sixers' schedule came out Monday and it's clear the NBA is showing the team a lot of respect.
The Sixers are going to be heavily featured on national TV throughout the season and have a marquee matchup on Christmas Day with the Bucks.
But there may not be anyone showing the team as much respect as former Sixers great Charles Barkley.
As a guest on NBA TV's schedule release show, the always bold Sir Charles wasn't shy about the expectations he has for his former team.
I'm going out on a limb right now, I'm riding and dying with the Philadelphia 76ers. I know it's going to be a great battle between them and the Milwaukee Bucks all year. But I love Philadelphia. I love Al Horford, Josh Richardson. Milwaukee losing [Malcolm] Brogdon, I think that's a big deal. But I think it's a two-team race in the Eastern Conference between the 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks. I can't wait until they play each other head to head.
When pressed for a guarantee, Barkley didn't hesitate.
I guarantee you the Philadelphia 76ers are going to win the Eastern Conference.
You could construe this as a former player building up his former team, but Barkley hasn't been afraid to be critical of the Sixers in the past. He's also pretty spot on in assessing the East. The Sixers and Bucks look poised to be the top teams.
Now that the schedule is out, we know the teams will square off in Philly on Christmas Day and April 20, and in Milwaukee on Feb. 6 and 22.
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Charles Barkley has a bold prediction for the Sixers this season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia