Anthony: You Can Make Strong Argument 76ers Have Two Best Players On The Floor

Outside of LeBron James and Kevin Love, Greg Anthony believes Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are the best duo in the East

The DA Show
April 11, 2018 - 12:08 pm

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With the NBA playoffs almost upon us, there are a pair of favorites in each conference: the Rockets (65-16) and Warriors (58-24) in the West and the Raptors (59-22) and Cavaliers (50-31) in the East.

Outside of those four teams, though, which squad has the best chance of making a deep run? Which squad has the best chance of playing spoiler? 

“In the East, I got to go with Philadelphia,” NBA on TNT analyst Greg Anthony said on The DA Show. “There aren’t going to be many series that they could potentially play in where you can’t make a strong argument they’re going to have the two best players on the floor. Once they get (Joel) Embiid back and with how (Ben) Simmons is playing – look, they’ve won 15 in a row. That’s as impressive as anything. They’ve done this last stretch without Embiid. So I would put them in the East.

“In the West, it is tougher because I think there are a multitude of teams," Anthony continued, "but I’m going to go with Utah. The irony of this is (it's) the two guys that are fighting it out for Rookie of the Year.”

Those two guys would be Simmons, who is averaging 15.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.2 assists for Philadelphia, and Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 20.5 points, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals for Utah.

“What those two teams have done, I don’t think anybody saw coming in,” Anthony said. “The fact that both get to have a chance to be the 3-seed in their respective conferences – do you know how much money you could have made in Vegas if you had taken those bets coming into the season with what those two teams have accomplished? And as great as Simmons and Mitchell have been, it hasn’t just been those guys. Their teams have been terrific. The complementary pieces, how good (Rudy) Gobert has been, obviously you look at guys like (J.J.) Redick and bringing over (Marco) Belinelli and (Dario) Saric – I mean, these are two really good basketball teams that are playing with tremendous confidence.”

The best part? Both of those teams believe they can win an NBA title this year. If Golden State did it in 2015, why can’t we do it in 2018?

That’s the logic.

“I don’t think anybody had them picked going into that season,” Anthony said of the Warriors. “Nobody thought they were going to be the runaway favorites to win it all, and these young teams with young players, they don’t feel like they have to wait. They feel like they can do it today. I think that’s one reason why this is going to be such a compelling postseason – because of those two teams.”

Interestingly, the 76ers, as of now, wouldn’t have to face both the Raptors and the Cavs in the playoffs. They would only have to face one – and not until the Eastern Conference Finals. That's big – because outside of LeBron James and Kevin Love, Anthony believes that Embiid and Simmons are the most talented duo in the East.

“I would still take LeBron and Love because of experience – not necessarily pure talent,” Anthony said. “I would say LeBron 1, Embiid and Simmons 2 and 2a, and Love 4. But you got to factor experience in, too. I think they’re the most talented duo, but they’re not the best players yet because experience does matter. When you get in the postseason, which neither have been, you’re going to play a team seven times potentially. They’re going to have time to game-plan. You’re not catching the team when they played the night before and you didn’t. You’re not catching a team when they basically can only talk about how they want to play against you the morning of the game. You’re going to have their complete attention. You’re going to have, from a coaching standpoint, the most opportunity to impact how a game is played and how it ultimately turns out. 

“So that’s why I would say I would still take (LeBron and Love),” Anthony continued. “But other than that in the Eastern Conference, I’m sorry: I think those are the two best because they affect the game in a variety of ways. They’re both terrific defensively, they’re both high-IQ basketball players, and they’re both two guys that you have to game-plan to stop, which allows them to make their team better. I absolutely would go with them in the Eastern Conference.”