(Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
It feels like yesterday the NBA season just got underway. A lot has changed since the season first tipped off. Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and Landry Shamet are no longer around. Instead, there are a lot of new faces like Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, and Boban. While questions about depth exist, there is no doubt there is a lot more talent in the starting five than there was when the season first began.
Fast forward to the playoffs, and it seems like everyone thinks the Nets was the worst matchup for the Sixers. Many believe the Nets small ball lineup could give the Sixers a hard time. I personally thought the Magic would have been the worst matchup for the Sixers. The Magic have been white hot and Magic sixth man Terrence Ross is a known Sixer killer. Nikola Vucevic always makes the Sixers look bad for trading him whenever he plays them.
The Nets have played the Sixers four times this season. However, they have only played this version of the Sixers once. It was two weeks ago in Philly and the Sixers took care of them pretty handedly. Both times the Sixers lost to them, they didn’t have Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris. Butler was not on the Sixers during their first meeting and was out during the third meeting. From what I watched in the teams last meeting, the Sixers will be able to out-talent them in the first round. They will be able to play some bully-ball with Embiid. The Nets will throw out a lot of smaller lineups. They shouldn’t completely cater to the Nets and play like them. Make the Nets adjust to the Sixers big bodies.
The Nets pick-and-roll will give the Sixers some trouble for sure. Pick-and-roll defense isn’t exactly the Sixers strong suit. The Nets get great production from their guards. The Sixers have trouble with defending guards, especially capable ones. Here is what the Sixers will have though: the Sixers will have the best player on the court in every game they play against the Nets. Joel Embiid will assert his dominance and bring this home in six games for the Sixers. I have it going to six because I expect a game where D’Angelo Russell goes for close to 50 and single-handedly wins one for Brooklyn. Nonetheless, it will be a great warm up series for the Sixers.