When LeBron James bolted for LA, the Eastern Conference became wide open.

Well, sort of. 

There's a presumed battle for the top spot between the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Philadelphia 76ers. Many believe it'll be a race between the youth of the Celtics and Sixers, although NBC Boston has made it clear that it's not much of a competition.

At least for now, Ben Simmons agrees. 

The reigning Rookie of the Year claims that Philadelphia's next goal is to get past Boston. 

​​This is one rivalry that's going to keep getting better and better. 

Simmons is completely correct for saying this. Yes, the Sixers have a ton of talent and are going to compete for titles for years to come, but why should anyone assume they're better than Boston? They had a worse record than the Celtics last season and then got trounced by them in the playoffs.

That was without Kyrie Irving, who missed the entire postseason, and Gordan Hayward who played just five minutes all last year. Simmons must've looked at odds Las Vegas posted before he made this statement. 

​​Simmons admitted that they have goals beyond this, but this young team needs to embrace the baby steps that come with this process. Before they start talking about taking down the best of the West, they need to get through Boston first.