Like you I’ve been sitting at home doing absolutely nothing productive while waiting for the NBA to come back. Sure we’ve lost a bunch of money on Korean baseball because who doesn’t love the over. Yes, we all put money on UFC 249 while not knowing anything about any of the fighters. We are all in the same boat and we all miss basketball. I love The Last Dance but it still isn’t the real thing.
Let’s assume at some point the NBA comes back and we move forward with the season. I imagine they will stick to the normal 8 teams per conference but maybe they shrink it maybe the increase it not sure. For the sake of this let’s say they are keeping it 1-8. Assuming we jump right into the playoffs the Celtics and the Sixers would matchup in the first round. Philly is technically tied for the 5th seed but I imagine they get bumped to 6th because of some tiebreaker, not sure because I didn’t look it up.
I think it is only fair to assume that everyone on both teams is healthy. I know Simmons was a little banged up, Walker had a knee thing as well and Marcus Smart has already recovered from Corona.
Sixers won the season series 3-1 but the game they lost was the most recent game and they had all their weapons while Kemba didn’t play. Really makes you think. I think Embiid is the best player on the court when these 2 teams play. I know everyone in Philly will say Ben is the second best while everyone in Boston will say Tatum is the second best. I would say Tatum is much better at things that show up in the box score, while he is a very good defender he isn’t on Bens level when it comes to defense. I think on this particular Celtics team I would prefer Tatum over Simmons but I think Ben is the better player. Let’s take that as law, Philly has the two best players on the court. I know Sixer fans will disagree because they’re delusional but the Celtics have the next 3 guys without question. Tobias Harris isn’t the second coming, sorry to break it to you.
Now I’m not going to run through the entire roster and rank each player, who has time for that? I will say unarguably the Celtics bench is much better and that does make a difference.
I think a healthy Philly team comes into Boston and blows the doors off of them Game 1. Not a doubt in my mind honestly. The only problem they won’t be playing in Boston. They’ll be on a neutral court in either Vegas or Orlando with no fans. I was midway through writing the Celtics would win Game 2 when I realized that major fact.
Orlando and Vegas were the two 'bubble' sites that Silver mentioned on the call, sources said. He said that there were a number of other cities that inquired about hosting the NBA. https://t.co/YTl2ocMCa4— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 9, 2020
With the realization that these games won’t be in Boston or Philly and there won’t be any fans my thought process and just choice in general completely changes. I think with the top talent the 76ers can win a few games. I think we have a big enough sample size to safely say they struggle when they aren’t at home with their fans cheering, or booing, them through it.
This became a whole lot less fun to write but I think Celtics in 6 is a fairly obvious choice. Give Philly Game 1 because that just feels like something would happen but Boston wins 4 of the next 5. I don’t think it’ll be a blow out each night, I’m sure there will be at least one but these should be relatively close games.
Long term this might be good for Philly. They aren’t winning a title this year anyway. I don’t think they can get to the Finals but even if they do they won’t beat either LA team and there’s a few playoff teams out there that would be a hell of a matchup for any team over 7 games. Silver lining, I think this break in the season saved Brett Browns job, if you lose to the Celtics in the first round I think he’s gone. The bench needs to be improved but I’ve said it all year long this team needs a new coach to take that next step, similar to what the Warriors did with Kerr. Brown took the 99 yards but someone has to punch it in for them, he’s just not that guy.