The battle for the top of the Eastern Conference this season has revolved around three great teams. The Nets, Sixers, and Bucks are all teams loaded with stars and are looking to go deep into the playoffs and even compete for the championship. But which of these teams has the edge?
NBA Hall-of-Famer and Sixers legend Julius Erving spoke about that topic with Sixers guard Danny Green on Green's podcast and shared why he feels the Sixers will beat the Nets in an eventual playoff series:
"First of all, [the Sixers] have an advantage coaching-wise based on experience with [head coach Doc Rivers], in terms of championship experience that [Green has], that Dwight [Howard] has. And the ambition of Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid], these guys are hungry now, they've been a part of what they call 'The Process' for several years, and it's time for The Process to bear some fruit. I'm betting my money on Philly … Ws mean confidence. It's not cool to be overconfident, but it's very cool to be confident. So you need to maintain that confidence and get out there and perform, that's the way I see it."
Julius Erving, via Green Room
Dr.J. had some pretty valid points to back up his argument. First-year coach Steve Nash has had a smooth sailing this season despite all the injuries. But when the playoffs come, strategies become more critical, and adjustments from game to game prevail in deciding the victor. Coaching will be of enormous significance.
It will be a clash of youth versus experience. The Nets started the season as one of the best teams in the NBA, but after getting players like James Harden, Blake Griffin, and LaMarcus Aldridge to help Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, they have become the frontrunner to win it all. On the other hand, the young duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is hungrier than ever and ready to compete. Embiid was in serious MVP conversations before the injury, while Simmons is possibly the best two-way player in the league this year. Tobias Harris is having a career year to go along with Simmons and Embiid, and the rest of the supporting cast has improved.
It would be a fantastic series that I can see going six or seven games deep. For the Nets, the key will be getting their groove and chemistry since they haven't been on the court together at all due to injuries. On the other side, it is all about staying healthy for the Sixers and Embiid, proving he can will his team to the promised land. Let's hope we get to see this spectacle in the playoffs.