How to watch
When: Saturday, November 11 at 5:30 p.m. (PST)
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
How to Watch: NBCSBA, NBCSP
Radio: 95.7 The Game
GSW: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Kevin Durant, PF Draymond Green, C Zaza Pachulia
PHI: PG Ben Simmons, SG J.J. Redick, SF Robert Covington, PF Dario Saric, C Joel Embiid
Buddy Blog: Liberty Ballers
Warriors are revving up
Last we saw the Golden State Warriors, the defending world champions destroyed the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves without the services of a banged up Kevin Durant. They have won five straight to bring their record to 9-3. Per Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Warriors are “scoring 116.2 points per 100 possessions -- on pace to bust their own record as the greatest offensive team in NBA history. The chasm between that figure and the No. 2 mark -- Houston, at 109.3 -- is the same as the gap between the Rockets and Philadelphia's 20th-ranked offense.” Coincidentally, the Philadelphia 76ers are the next scheduled
victim opponent for the Splash Family.
76ers nucleus on the rise
Five years ago, I was absentmindedly skimming the comments section of a Stephen Curry YouTube video highlighting his shocking scoring binges in college at Davidson. As I lazily digested several disgruntled “Monta Ellis > Steph” theses, my eye caught the “videos you might like “ suggestions next to the window.
Any time you search an NBA player’s “college mixtape” video, it inevitably features a few other smoothly edited high school showcases. I clicked on one entitled, “7 Footer Joel “Jojo” Embiid has CRAZY NBA Potential!! OFFICIAL Summer Mixtape” and watched some young giant dominate mediocre teenagers.
Meh. Whatever. I closed the window halfway through the video and fired up my PS3 to play NBA2K13.
Present day, Joel “The Process” Embiid is one of the NBA’s most dominant big men and the NBA’s version of a WWF Superstar. He has already trash talked his way into the psyches of heavily hyped centers Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside (with the dominance to support it). Oh, and he just smugly acknowledged that he told our very own Draymond Green this past summer that he was going to kick his ass when they crossed paths this season.
As Green is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and one of the baddest men on the basketball planet, for Embiid to intentionally challenge him shows the young man’s confidence (hubris) is swelling to Clubber Lang-ish levels. I love it!
The 76ers are a team stacked with athletic, young potential. #1 picks Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons team with #3 pick Joel Embiid to form a huge, versatile core. Embiid is beasting his way to 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. When he and Simmons share the floor, the 76ers actually have the statistical dominance of a top 10 team. They lead the league in rebounding and are third overall in three point accuracy.
Simmons is averaging almost 18 points a game and 8 assists. He resembles a young Lebron James in court vision and ball handling at his size (6-foot-10, 238 lbs). He and the 7 footer Embiid are powering the Sixers to flashes of excellence that are starting to burn brighter and longer with each passing game. They have defeated the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets, two teams that have already stunned us in our home arena this young season.
Unfortunately, the 76ers seem to be cursed with a devastating injury bug. Embiid missed his first two pro seasons with a broken bone in his foot before returning for just 31 games last season before tearing the meniscus in his left knee. Simmons, last year’s first overall pick, missed the entirety of the past season with a broken right foot. Highly touted Markelle Fultz has looked pretty terrible in his first season before news broke on the probable cause of his sketchy play.
Sixers announce Markelle Fultz out indefinitely with "soreness and scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder". Reevaluated in 3 weeks.— Jake Pavorsky (@JakePavorsky) October 29, 2017
If he gets back healthy, the Sixers could conceivably seize a postseason berth in the drunken bar fight that is the Eastern Conference playoff race. Until then, Simmons runs the show as de facto point guard. J.J. Redick and Robert Covington will look to space the floor around Embiid and Simmons with knock-down shooting (Covington is a blistering 41-for-82 from downtown, 50%).
The Dubs are flexing
The Dubs have won eight straight against the 76ers and are clearly still punishing them for the frustrating outcome of the 1967 NBA Finals (#neverforget). Golden State’s defense is awakening from an early season slumber, and they currently lead the league in blocks per game at just under nine. Former MVP Kevin Durant leads the team with 2.4 blocks per game, good enough for second overall in the NBA. Funny enough, the aggressive 76ers have gotten their shots rejected six times per game, fourth most in the league. With this information in mind, look for the Dubs to throw the young Sixers a super awesome BLOCK PARTY.
Once the Warriors gum up the Sixers’ offense, they will push their own offense in transition to test Philly’s cardio and mental toughness. The 76ers will look good in spurts, but ultimately their lack of experience will doom them. Look for the battle tested Dubs to hunt for ways to spectacularly humiliate the youngsters in Roaracle arena.
Gold-blooded Prediction: Warriors 124, 76ers 103
Any predictions on just how good the Sixers will be once/if they get healthy?