The time has arrived for the Philadelphia 76ers to put their talent together for a long playoff run.
The starting lineup of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris only played 10 games together. Embiid missed 14 of the final 24 regular season games due to knee soreness, while Butler has been battling a lower back injury.
Despite the 8-2 record in those games, questions remain about how the team will play together due to the lack of practice time and the lack of in-game experience.
The Sixers are banking on talent winning out when it’s all said and done.
“I think talent will trump cohesion,” general manager Elton Brand said regarding the postseason, via Tom Moore.
Just like last season, the Sixers will host at least one playoff round as the third seed. This time, however, the sixth-seeded Brooklyn Nets will be the first-round opponent.
Time to Judge
When Brand added Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris during the regular season it was done to get the team past the second round.
“My expectation is to get past where we got last year,” Brand said. “I expect us to pass that.”
Brand certainly tried his best to improve on last year’s team that lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round.
Instead of surrounding Embiid and Simmons with pure shooters, Brand added playmakers and bucket getters. Butler and Harris will need to be aggressive and create their own shots if the offense stalls late in games.
Those trades will be graded by the team’s playoff successes or failures.
The Sixers and Nets finished their season series with a 2-2 split.
Their last meeting should hold the most importance since it’s the only game the Sixers entire starting lineup played together against the Nets this season.
The Sixers won 123-110 with Embiid leading the way with 39 points.
This is a difficult matchup for the Sixers, due to the guard strength of the Nets. They also like to run pick-and-rolls, which the Sixers still haven’t shown the ability to guard properly yet.
But this series will be determined by the talent advantage of the Sixers. The Nets don’t have an answer for Embiid in the paint. He averaged 30 points and 14 rebounds in the four regular-season meetings.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.