The Brooklyn Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers?
The Brooklyn Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers?
Can I interest you in a non-sexual game of “would you rather?” I know watching people ponder isn’t nearly as fun as watching them squirm, but this is a sports venue, not your college neighborhood living room. So who do you prefer to trust: the Brooklyn Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers?
I ask because the Nets have won nine in a row and the Sixers are coming up short of a ninth straight, losing a close game to the Wizards on Tuesday. Before their respective hot streaks, Brooklyn was 13-12, and Philly was .500 at 12-12. These two teams are obviously linked based on the James Harden-Ben Simmons trade, but also because of the narrative. Both are highly talented, both are hyped, both are in big markets, and both have shown very little reason to trust them in the postseason.
I think hoops will agree that we can trust Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid…as long as they’re healthy. The No. 2 and No. 3 guys on the team — Kyrie Irving and Simmons, and Harden and Tobias Harris — well, it’s up for debate.
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said his team has been about basketball, which was the impetus for Kyrie and KD to meet in the first place. Irving has been quiet, and that’s it clearly a good thing. Who knows how long Durant can stay out of his mentions, and Irving can keep his conspiracies to himself, but for now, it looks like that’s what Brooklyn had in mind when this plan was hatched.
When you add in Simmons, who is finally in the perfect situation, this team has everything you’d want in a contender: MVP candidate, No. 1 option. 2 legitimate, defender of the Swiss army. The Slim Reaper (I’ll use it even if I don’t) is getting a cool 30-6-5 on 56/37/92, and that’s nothing new. He is as competitive as he is talented, and it shows defensively when you see him fight down low.
I hate to give Irving any credit because he’d rather burn it all than admit he’s wrong, but he’s approaching the hallowed mark of 50/40/90 (49/36/91) and has been healthy enough to play more matches than him. longing (Despite the suspension.)
However, since we’ve seen the Nets implode more than we’ve seen them succeed, we know how quickly it can all unravel.
Then there’s Philadelphia. Even with Luka Doncic’s 60-point outing on Tuesday, Embiid still leads the league in scoring. As long as Harden is over the games played threshold to be eligible for the assist leader, he will be. Over the last 10 games, we’re seeing the Harden point. He tied the Philly record for assists in a game (21) against the Clippers and dished out 13 assists per night in that span.
Also during that stretch, he never attempted more than 19 shots in a game, averaging just over 15 a night. I could write 3,000 words about how exciting it is that Harden can play this way whenever he wants to, but I’d rather pull back, and I still might, but not today. He did the same facilitator – first act for a month in Brooklyn, and everyone acted like it was Lewis Scott dying for the first time in “Celtic Pride”. No, that’s how regular basketball is played, and when you have the best scoring center in the NBA on your team, that’s how you have to approach things.
Say what you will about Nikola Jokić, and there aren’t enough words in the English language for hoops hipsters to describe the Joker, I’m not sure he can do what Embiid does from a scoring standpoint. Embiid had 48 last night, and because Luka was on fire, he was sidelined on Sportscenter. This season, the Cameroonian central has two games of more than 50 and four of 40 or more. It has only appeared in 25 of them. So almost a quarter of the time, he goes for 40 burgers. This is stupid.
And I know Harris is being paid as a third option, even though it’s really Tyrese Maxey, and that’s fine if you want to make a pecking order argument. Maxey has missed the last month, and Harris could, and has, gone for a month when he was healthy, whatever. As long as Harden cuts when the bill comes, it won’t matter who the No. 3 or 4 is.
With these two teams, it’s all about the guys at the top because they will determine how far each team goes in the playoffs.
One of my favorite responses to “Would you rather?” is: I’d rather die than choose between licking a dog’s ass and blowing dry cat shit. And that’s how I feel about this question. No, I don’t take any of these teams seriously, and I have zero confidence that these idyllic stretches of good-to-great basketball will be what we see come April and May.
So who would you rather pick between the 76ers and the Nets? I’d rather jump off a bridge.
#Brooklyn #Nets #Philadelphia #76ers