The Philadelphia 76ers are in the middle of a Ben Simmons sized crisis. Will Simmons be on the team when the season starts? When the playoffs start? If not, will they get a good return for him? There are nothing but questions surrounding the Sixers, which makes this the perfect time to compare them to the Dallas Mavericks. This one will be fun!
Best player: Luka Doncic vs Joel Embiid
Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid are very different players, so it’s tough to compare. It’s like trying to compare a brand new truck to a BMW. Both are nice in their own right but they serve totally different purposes. Do you want a generational talent at the center position who can score from all three levels on the court and protect the rim, or do you want a generational talent at the point forward position who can drop 40/10/10 on anyone’s head on any given night?
While both players are amazing (and tough to compare), there is actually a correct answer, and it’s Luka Doncic.
Two things give Luka an edge over Embiid: durability and the clutch factor. These things are simple. I trust that Luka can make it through an entire season and then four playoff rounds more than I trust that Joel Embiid can do the same. And as far as the clutch factor goes, I have no idea how their clutch numbers stack up. I don’t even want to look them up. The eye test provides a clear answer. If my team were down one point with 10 seconds left, I’d rather have Luka on the court than Embiid. It’s that simple.
Plus, I like BMWs more than trucks anyway.
Sidekicks: Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. vs Ben Simmons (maybe) and Tobias Harris
This is weird because Ben Simmons and Kristaps Porzingis are both second bananas that I wouldn’t want on my favorite team. Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice. KP is on the Mavs no matter how hard I beg them to trade him. I digress.
The questions looming over Simmons make this a tough section to work through. If it is Simmons on the Sixers during the playoffs (which it probably won’t be), I’d take Porzingis and Hardaway over Simmons and Harris. If it’s a mystery player, I’m still taking Porzingis and Hardaway, unless that mystery player is Damian Lillard. I don’t think there’s anyone else the Sixers could trade for that would change my mind.
You know what, that wasn’t actually so tough.
Both of these teams have fine depth. Not great, not horrible.
Not counting any depth the Sixers give away (or acquire) in a Simmons trade, the matchup is basically Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Danny Green, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz versus Jalen Brunson, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Tyrell Terry (yep), Moses Brown, and maybe Frank Ntilikina?
I feel like I’d be splitting hairs here, so I’m going to call this one a draw.
Look... I don’t want to make Philly fans mad, but this isn’t close. Outside of Joel Embiid, what are they working with? They’re just kind of meh. Tobias Harris doesn’t really move the needle. Thybulle is cool, but eh. Drummond actually does move the needle but in the wrong direction.
The only thing that really matters is the Mavs stole Boban Marjanovic from Philly. The swag game was over when that happened.
Overall advantage: Mavs
Both of these teams are contenders, but likely won’t actually be in the NBA Finals. They’re in the same tier, but when it comes down to it, I trust the Mavs more — as weird as that is to say. The Simmons drama isn’t good, I don’t trust Embiid’s durability, and the Mavs have Luka and Boban.
Dallas finally wins one. Cheers!